Ethics in International Business: Multinational Approaches to Child Labor

Journal of World Business, Vol. 39, pp. 49-60, 2004

Posted: 10 Feb 2004

See all articles by Ans Kolk

Ans Kolk

University of Amsterdam Business School

Rob van Tulder

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Abstract

How do multinationals address conflicting norms and expectations? This article focuses on corporate codes of ethics in the area of child labor as possible expressions of Strategic International Human Resource Management. It analyses whether fifty leading multinationals adopt universal ethical norms (related to exportive HRM) or relativist ethical norms (related to adaptive HRM and multi-domestic strategies). Child labor is not an issue where universalism prevails. Although some multinationals adhere to universal ethical norms, HRM practices are largely multidomestic. To manage the ethical dilemmas shown from case material, strategic trade-offs (concerning strategy context, process and content, and particularly organizational purpose) are outlined.

Keywords: Multinational corporations, social responsibility, corporate ethics, codes of conduct, child labor, international business, internationalization, human resource management

JEL Classification: F23, G38, M1, M14, L2, J50, M50

Suggested Citation

Kolk, Ans and van Tulder, Rob J.M., Ethics in International Business: Multinational Approaches to Child Labor. Journal of World Business, Vol. 39, pp. 49-60, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=497742

Ans Kolk (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Plantage Muidergracht 12
Amsterdam, 1018 TV
Netherlands
+31 20 525 4289 (Phone)
+31 20 525 5281 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.anskolk.eu

Rob J.M. Van Tulder

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

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