In a response to demands from various stakeholders and civil society, some companies develop ethics programs consisting of a code of ethics, ethics training and various procedures for reporting unethical conduct. The aim of this article is to contribute with a theoretically founded analysis of how an ethics program is recontextualized as it travels from an ethics office in Denmark into business units in Switzerland and China. Drawing on an ethnographic study within a multinational biopharmaceutical company, we demonstrate how its code of business ethics resembles ideals of empowerment and individual critical thinking that can be found within the Scandinavian socio-cultural context in which the ethics program originated. Further, we show how the way the entire ethics program is communicated through training with a focus on dilemma thinking becomes a liability when introduced into other business units and socio-cultural contexts. We conclude that in order to create sustainable ethics programs and develop responsible global leaders, companies must take into account the sociocultural heritage of the code of ethics they seek to disseminate. Seemingly universal values and preferred behaviors cannot merely be “transferred” within a multinational organization and transformed into responsible business practices without local adaptations.
|Status||Udgivet - 2019|
|Begivenhed||AIB 2019 Annual Meeting: International Business in an Unsettling Political and Economic Environment - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Danmark|
Varighed: 24 jun. 2019 → 27 jun. 2019
Konferencens nummer: 61
|Konference||AIB 2019 Annual Meeting|
|Lokation||Copenhagen Business School|
|Periode||24/06/2019 → 27/06/2019|