Cross-Country Ethical Dilemmas in Business: A Descriptive Framework

28 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2004

See all articles by Nicoletta Ferro

Nicoletta Ferro

Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM)

Date Written: February 2004


As businesses span the globe, multinational and translational companies conduct their business operations in foreign settings, especially in developing countries and in countries in transition from Communist regimes. This poses new challenges to expatriate managers and to home-based staff in charge of foreign affiliates. They are called on to determine the right versus the wrong, the good versus the bad over international business transactions, negotiations, advertisement and supply chain management taking place in foreign settings. As most of the time, businessmen lack a certain degree of cultural awareness and knowledge, managing ethical diversity over cross-country business transactions ends up to be a major challenge for business people.

This paper's aim is to provide an introductory sketch on the cross-country issues facing international business, through detailed description of their level of disclosure (Political, Corporate, Internal) diverse areas and connected situations.

The pros and cons of the traditional paradigms used by business people in dealing with such circumstances (Universalism and Relativism) will be weighed. In addition examples of irresponsible business practices resulting from cultural misunderstandings, ignorance and lack of contextualization on the behalf of business people will be provided.

Keywords: Business ethics, Cross-country ethical dilemmas, Corporate Social responsibility, Diversity

JEL Classification: M1, M14

Suggested Citation

Ferro, Nicoletta, Cross-Country Ethical Dilemmas in Business: A Descriptive Framework (February 2004). Available at SSRN: or

Nicoletta Ferro (Contact Author)

Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) ( email ) Magenta 63
Milano, 20123
+390252036934 (Phone)
+390252036946 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics