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Navigating Ethical Boundaries- The Complexities of Bribes in Global Business

Navigating Ethical Boundaries- The Complexities of Bribes in Global Business

When Is a Bribe Merely a Common Business Practice and When Is It Unethical?

In business, bribery is the act of offering monetary gifts to someone expecting biased or favorable business decisions. The action is an illegal business practice in the US, but it still occurs. However, in some countries, it is just a usual way of doing business (Roy, 2007). An example of a business bribe is when top Honda executives received cash gifts from car dealers in exchange for earlier access to the company’s most profitable vehicles.

There is a fine line between what amounts to a bribe and a gift. When offering a gift, there should be no strings attached, such that the giver should not expect any favors. It is ethical when companies offer politicians campaign money expecting favorable business policies since politicians can decide not to do as required (Eicher, 2016). A gift is simply a way of appreciating people. Business salespeople, for instance, offer meals, golf, and entertainment as a way of attracting people. The recipients may as well decide to patronize other enterprises without infuriating those who offer gifts.

Should Companies Produce Goods in Parts of the World Where They Know That the Human Rights of Workers Are Not a Priority at All?

In the globalized economy, companies engage in different supply chains with various human rights records. Vulnerable and defenseless groups, including children, women, and migrant workers, suffer the most in places where human rights are not (Bernstein & Greenwald, 2009)..  International organizations such as the UN encourage ethical organizations to undertake due diligence to ensure that their actions do not contribute to human rights abuses (Human Rights Watch, 2016). However, such requirements are not legally binding, and it is upon the company to decide whether to undertake due diligence or not. It becomes challenging for organizations to carry out adequate due diligence due to a lack of the necessary resources to do so. Besides, human rights abuses occur in almost every region of the world, thus hard to monitor. Therefore, it is not realistic to stop producing in countries where human rights abuses occur.


Roy, A. (2007). Corruption in business: management theory and practice. International journal of business and globalization1(3), 311-327.

Eicher, S. (Ed.). (2016). Corruption in international business: The challenge of cultural and legal diversity. CRC Press.

Bernstein, A., & Greenwald, C. (2009). Benchmarking corporate policies on labor and human rights in global supply chains. Boston: Pensions and Capital Stewardship Project, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School.

Human Rights Watch. (2016, May 30). Human Rights in Supply Chains. Human Rights Watch.


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Doing business both with and in different countries raises many ethical concerns. We all do not see things the same way. From what you have learned in this course, begin a discussion on ethical concerns that global organizations need to watch. Choose two of the following concerns to discuss, incorporating material from our studies or outside sources.

Navigating Ethical Boundaries- The Complexities of Bribes in Global Business

Navigating Ethical Boundaries- The Complexities of Bribes in Global Business

When is a bribe merely a common business practice and when is it unethical?
Should companies produce goods in parts of the world where they know that the human rights of workers are not a priority at all?
What about environmental and health standards?
In looking for inexpensive pricing, what temptations might there be for companies when considering working globally?
Submit your initial post no later than Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. Remember to respond to at least two additional posts from your fellow students.

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