One of the greatest inquiries confronting any organization when opening operations abroad is precisely how to lead their business hones in particular outside business situations. Keeping in mind numerous noticeable business scholars throughout the years have upheld a strategy of “versatile ethic” for their abroad exercises, there is developing confirmation that such an approach is really counterproductive – and terrible for business.
While historically many large enterprises have adopted a policy of foreign business ethics that adapt and conform to local practices, this inherently inconsistent approach to pursuing organizational success has been demonstrated to cost more than it gains, and to be unsustainable as a long-term strategy.
There is no disputing that the competitive environment for companies operating in foreign countries has never been greater than it is today. And as transportation infrastructure and information technology continue to improve and extend their reach, the struggle for overseas success only intensifies. But this only underscores the need for an approach to foreign business ethics that adheres to one consistent standard.
Word travels fast in today’s business environment, and when a company develops a habit of adopting a different set of ethical standards in each country where they’ve established a presence, it isn’t too long before such a practice becomes generally known.
The truth is that when such a mode of operation becomes customary, the integrity of any company’s global organization is seriously jeopardized. The reason is that nothing is more valuable to a business enterprise’s bottom line than their reputation. And once this is damaged, rebuilding it is twice as hard, and unlikely to ever restore the level of customer trust as the original, unvarnished brand.
Consistency Builds Worth
What companies who are successful in multi-national operations over the long haul have discovered is that maintaining a dependably high ethical standard in all their locations is – quite simply – good business. Advancing consistently high foreign business ethics builds long-term shareholder confidence, as well as commercial value.
The fact that companies who follow such a business ethos tend to succeed illustrates that ethics and achievement are two sides of the same coin. Companies that maintain such an approach to their business operations communicate to everyone in the marketplace that they are committed to fairness and integrity in an undeviating manner – and the result is a level of confidence that attains the highest ratings with investors.
Indeed, consistently high standards for an enterprise’s foreign business ethics also builds a positive internal culture as employees come to know that their honest, best efforts, are what will move them, and their companies forward. And the value to any company of such an honestly motivated and validated workforce is incalculable.
It Starts at the Top
Following a policy of uniform foreign business ethics can only work, though, if this message is firmly observed and supported by the highest officers of an organization.This requires not just an official code of conduct to be communicated company wide, but also calls for the hands-on involvement of the top decision makers.