Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 116, Issue 4, pp 681-687

First online:

Cultural Diversity and Universal Ethics in a Global World

  • Domènec MeléAffiliated withIESE Business School  Email author 
  • , Carlos Sánchez-RundeAffiliated withIESE Business School


Cultural diversity and globalization bring about a tension between universal ethics and local values and norms. Simultaneously, the current globalization and the existence of an increasingly interconnected world seem to require a common ground to promote dialog, peace, and a more humane world. This article is the introduction to a special issue of the Journal of Business Ethics regarding these problems. We highlight five topics, which intertwine the eight papers of this issue. The first is whether moral diversity in different cultures is a plausible argument for moral relativism. The second focuses on the possibility of finding shared values and virtues worldwide. The third topic deals with convectional universalistic ethical theories in a global world and the problems they present. Fourth, we consider the traditional natural moral law approach in the context of a global world. The last topic is about human rights, as a practical proposal for introducing universal standards in business.


Cultural diversity Universal ethics Relativism Globalization Natural law Human rights