Disputes regarding the ethics of work by children have intensified in recent years, with little resolution. The impasses stem from failure to recognize the diverse forms of child work and a lack of empirical research regarding its causes and consequences. We report on data gathered in Brazil's export-oriented shoe industry, which is notorious for the employment of children.
French, J. L. and Wokutch, R. E. 2005. Child workers, globalization and international business ethics: A case study in Brazil’s export-oriented shoe industry. Business Ethics Quarterly, 15(4): 615-640.
Country matters: Executives weigh in on the causes and counter measures of counterfeit trade (Located in e-reserves module)
In this article, we present the findings of a study examining the exploding problem of counterfeit trade via the opinions of U.S. executives as compared to their counterparts from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Tahiti. Their responses provide insight as to how companies in different countries are attacking piracy and consumer complicity with counterfeit products. Per our study, executives in Australia, Tahiti, and the U.S. had similar perspectives: they viewed the seller as the main driver of counterfeit trade for reasons of profit. These executives perceived the demand for counterfeits as being driven by desirable product attributes and the ease of obtaining them. Likewise, they cited two anti-counterfeiting actions—site licenses and reduced price/rebates—as being able to reduce the demand for illicit products.
IKEA's Global Sourcing Challenge (Located in e-reserves module)
Traces the history of IKEA's response to a TV report that its Indian carpet suppliers were using child labor. Describes IKEA's growth, including the importance of a sourcing strategy based on its close relationships with suppliers in developing countries. Details the development of IKEA's strong culture and values that include a commitment “to create a better everyday life for many people.”
This article reports on international labor standards and the efforts by the international business community to address the problems of poor working conditions and child labor abuse. The article focuses on the question of whether anti-sweatshop activism actually helps or hurts poor laborers in developing nations as some economists argue that sweatshops actually alleviate the living conditions of the poor.
Ann Harrison and Jason Scorse, “Improving the Conditions of Workers? Minimum Wage Legislation and Anti-Sweatshop Activism,” California Management Review, Winter 2006, pp. 144-160.
The Shakedown (Located in e-reserves module)
This case shows an American entrepreneur wondering whether to pay apparent extortionists in Ukraine, where he founded an enterprise. The reader discovers ideas for assessing developing countries' business practices before investing and for fighting bribery and corruption in overseas nations. The reader also considers the consequences of paying bribes.
A personal narrative is presented which explores the author's experience as Timberland Company's chief executive officer at a time when the Greenpeace International organization's activists were pressuring Timberland's Brazilian supplier.
What should managers working abroad do when they encounter business practices that seem unethical? Should they, in the spirit of cultural relativism, tell themselves to do in Rome as the Romans do? Or should they take an absolutist approach, using the ethical standards they use at home no matter where they are? According to Thomas Donaldson, the answer lies somewhere in between. Some activities are wrong no matter where they take place.
Focuses on business ethics in light of April 2000 protests by opponents of globalization. Ethics and profit; United States incentives, including law, nongovernmental organizations and the media; Impact of 1995 decisions on Shell's reputation; Business ethics as a consultancy industry; Ethics and personnel management; Conflicts of interest; Environmental standards; Bribery and corruption; Human rights; Ethical investors.
Doing Well by Doing Good. The Economist, 4/22/2000, Vol. 355, Issue 8167, pg. 65-67