Ethical Responsibilities of Doing Business Overseas


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            This paper discusses ethical responsibility of doing business overseas. Whenever engaged in any kind of business, there is the need to adopt all ethical issues which ensure that the business will be able to realize its goals. Ethical responsibility improves operations of businesses hence making partnering much convenient for businesses reading from the same script. Very many considerations are very important in business operations, and especially when operating overseas.


Ethical responsibility is a contentious issue in which people behavior in a manner which is pleasing to all members of a given community. This responsibility is significant in making life comfortable to all people. Majority of the societies observe these ethical issues since they are very significant for any development. When in the business world, the same kind of ethical responsibility, and especially when doing overseas business, is very important (Witzel & Ambler, 2008). This integrates all the major internal or external issues which should be adequately manifested. This involves the constant marriage of the positive factors of the economy factors within the operations of the business.

As well, there should be a constant interaction of positive social and ecological effects affecting the given society. Basically, while ethics has remained something very contentious within all societies, it is still the same thing whenever talking of business engagements (Johnson, 2004). For example, let’s think of a process of advertising. It would be necessary to adopt a positive approach in which the truth is delivered to the possible buyer. Generally, ethical issues are very necessary cab adversely impact on the dealings with international businesses. This discussion will analyze the ethical responsibilities that should be analyzed and discussed whenever doing overseas businesses.

Ethical Responsibilities of Doing Business Overseas

Today, a number of theorists and business analysts have described a number of concepts through which one is able to effectively measure the overall performance of a given business not through their financial standings and the amount of profits gained, but as well through analyzing how management of the people working for the organization. This also looks at the manner in which the environment is conserved and taken care of while engaging in any kind of international business. While engaged in business operations overseas, the first thing worth considering is not harming the nation where the business operation is being carried out (Johnson, 2004). This is to say, the kind of business engagement should not harm the society. A company which fails to observe this ethical responsibility while conducting international dealings in business while lack clients and fail to realize profits.

When talking of ethical responsibility, it means that the organization should right away begin by cleaning its own premise. While all businesses and organizations exist with the sole aim of making handsome profits, the responsibility aspect is vital, and this is where the ethical issue or approach lies. The manner in which money and profits are made within the given business is where ethical responsibility lie. The meaning of this is that, should a given firm realize that it is making good cash through involvement in harmful behaviors which are potentially damaging to the people, or selling to the people different products which can affect them, then it must be standing in a very shaky ground in terms of its ethical performance (Brenkert, 2004). This will harm the business operations in a very big way. If this business is operating overseas, chances became very high that the operations might be terminated within a given period of time. This has happened to a number of business firms like the McDonald’s believed to have had supplying foodstuffs not fit for people’s health.

Taking the example of a Tobacco Company, it should not in any way encourage individuals below a specific age to engage in smoking habits. This is a very big ethical obligation which should be seriously considered if good results are to be achieved. Since smoking is quite harmful to one’s health, an ethical responsibility sets in whereby a given company has to prohibit strongly underage drug intake such as cigarettes and beer. This is a very serious ethical obligation which every business in the international practice should be keen to address. With this example, a business operating overseas, and even in its home country, should sufficiently acknowledge to all the people that there are very many harmful effects from the use of the product (Witzel & Ambler, 2008).

Ethical responsibility should be genuine enough so that the approach is not only being clean as a business premise but as well ensuring that the highest behavior is retained. For instance, any pharmaceutical company producing or developing a certain drug should not push a drug from the people by making it extremely expensive, but should make it affordable to all people who may not be in a position of affording it. In order to ensure that this ethical responsibility has been maintained in different nations, laws and Acts have been enacted which govern business involvement. This governs issues such as the working situations of different employees, or any other behavior that a business organization might be engaged in (Brenkert, 2004). When it comes to the promotional and advertisement approaches within a business, it is necessary to engage in practices which does not deceive or mislead the customers on the specific product or service. Any unethical engagement should be something totally illegal within overseas businesses.

When operating internationally, a business should intently look at the support whenever dealing with different clients, customers or suppliers from other countries. This will make sure that the business has adequately analyzed the environment in which the international business partners are operating in. If for example a given business is dealing furniture from a different nation, there would be the necessity of ensuring and understanding where the timber has been sourced from (Witzel & Ambler, 2008). This is ethically a responsibility in ensuring that not a single endangered tree species has been used. Also, this analysis makes sure that there is no child labor that has been used in the assembly of the furniture. This kind of ethical responsibility is important as it makes sure that businesses deal with international traders who observe these issues hence preventing any kind of damage on the environment. This will make sure that positive business engagement has been achieved.

 Another important thing whenever there is engagement of ethical business is that it will promote benevolence within the area of operation. This kind of benevolence within a given society is necessary since it promotes better performance hence facilitating growth (Weber, 2001). The organization involved in the business should come up with new movements which will be supportive of environment and social sustainability. In some nations, when businesses are to operate internationally, there are some issues and engagements which should be adopted in the business operations. Basically, an understanding on how a given business can engage in international business with other business partners is necessary as it ensures that the organization can operate in an ethically correct involvement.

For exporters, it is important to make sure that they engage in business which will not harm the society or the environment. Since the aim behind any business is in the realization of goals and profits, it is necessary to have all international business partners thinking from a similar script. This makes sure that they understand the ethical issues, and would be willing to engage in an ethical business. Ethical responsibility when operating internationally is not an option but a very important obligation. This makes sure that a company operating internationally will not engage in operations which the people, deceive them, and ruin their environment. This needs the adoption of a business philosophy whereby all human needs or services should be catered for while improving their lives and conserving naturally obtained environmental resources (Brenkert, 2004).

Sometimes we have industries which develop and expand into other nations. It is ethically correct to come up with ways of preserving the environment by making sure that no pollution or discharge of chemicals that might impact on lives. All the products or services delivered to the people address the specific needs of target groups without posing any kind of danger to them (Weber, 2001). The other thing which should be observed keenly with any international business is with the manner in which rights of human beings are checked or put into consideration. It is something necessary for a company to make sure workers from different ethnicities and races have been given their rights in an equal way.

Labor issues have as been widely debated in specific nations. Giving labor to minors is seen as a crime in many countries, and unethical in all parts of the globe (Weber, 2001). The best thing is that all businesses operating overseas should stick to these requirements in order to have proper business in the areas of operation. As well, the materials, services or goods provided to the clients or consumers should not harm the people. This requires the business to supply quality materials or products so as to encourage performance which improves profits while benefiting the entire society. The current wave of globalization has brought new dynamics in the world of business (Weber, 2001). Because of this, ethical responsibility becomes an option which has the capability of fostering better international relationships and also improving the performance of the business in the international sphere.

Benefits of Ethical Responsibilities of Doing Business Overseas

When a business engages in international business, there is the prime need of having ethical responsibilities since this will improve the performance of the organization. When a business applies all ethical responsibilities while doing its engagements overseas, it will reap many rewards both external and internal. The major responsibilities which should be considered for business operation include observation of all international laws concerning the rights of man as well as the local legislations that have been put in place (Boone & Kurtz, 2008). Employment laws are as well worth considering as these make sure all issues in the workplace have been addressed. People might lose trust with the business once it fails to consider such issues and analyzing all complains raised by specific individuals. When a business makes sure it has observed all these responsibilities towards ethical behaviors, the company ends up benefiting greatly since anything good done will reflect on the company’s final performance (Weber, 2001). A number experts have explained that the observation of ethical issues within business operation overseas brings a better name, improves reputation of the business, the recruitment of new employees becomes much easy, and also reduces employee turnover. This will therefore see the business having better gains from the operations.

On the opposite, when the business does badly internationally, it constantly equates to what is known as backlash on the side of the customers and other partners in the business. One of the outstanding examples of poor business ethical adoption was that of Think Nike back in the 1990s. This company has been sourcing its labor from minors in Indonesian Republic. This killed the good reputation in the organization, something which led to a sudden reduction of the organization’s sales. Once a business suffers this kind of situation, it becomes hard to achieve its business goals. Once companies try to ignore some of the major issues affecting the society, they end up suffering a very big loss which they will regret. It is hence necessary to effectively all the major scenarios and considerations which might promote the business as well as the ones that will result in failed performance (Johnson, 2004).

With the environment being very important, business operations will be able to put it into consideration hence making sure that human posterity has been taken care of. Ethical responsibility will greatly consider the environment as the home of man, and this will mean that polluted will be avoided. Businesses which fail to put this into consideration should be held responsible by governing legislations and laws. Sometimes it is necessary for businesses to extend their obligations and benefactions internationally by planting trees which will help in the conservation of our environment. Use of environmentally friendly materials and wrappings play an ethical role. This will make realization of a better world possible.

As well, a business operating internationally might not be required to provide the employees working with the company or organization a decent pay and allowances plus housing, but something small like being cool and kind to them is very beneficial. This increases loyal responses hence improving performance in the business (Brenkert, 2004). Good business does not only require extensive means of profit accumulation but by adopting new measures which will address all ethical issues affecting man in this modern world. This ranges from human rights, labor issues, employee demands, the society and the environment. Giving back to the society is also in order and an ethical responsibility when engaged in overseas businesses. This capitalize the major strategies of the business hence improving the gains abstained in the very end. Payment of all taxes in foreign lands should also be made a priority since it will improve the performance of the organization and escape some legal issues which might influence the business in a negative manner.


            As we have seen in this paper, ethical responsibility of doing business overseas is something which should be greatly considered by any business organization. This begins from the inside of the business all the way to its involvement with all its partners. This kind of responsibility is very important because it improves the life of man, makes business performance, and also improves international cooperation (Boone & Kurtz, 2008). This study has presented all the major engagements which can help in the realization of business goals whenever operating in other nations. While the major aim behind any business is to make profits, it is necessary to put the above issues into consideration since they help in realization of wider markets and increasing customer trust.


Boone, L. & Kurtz, D. (2008). Contemporary Business 2009 Update. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Brenkert, G. (2004). Corporate integrity and accountability. New York: New Press.

Johnson, C. (2004). Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership: Casting Light or Shadow. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Weber, L. (2001). Business Ethics in Healthcare: Beyond Compliance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Witzel, M. & Ambler, T. (2008). Doing Business in China. Beijing: Oxford University Press.



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