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Multinationals, local practice, and the problem of ethical consistency

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The business practices of multinational corporations raise many provocative moral issues and offer a touchstone for some fundamental ethical concepts. This essay identifies a wide range of problems but centers on the matter of consistency in corporate policy between foreign and domestic practices and the kind of generality of standards that is required to achieve consistency. Two considerations are singled out for illustrative discussion: wage scales and bribes. Proposals are offered for achieving consistency and generality in each case, the principle of contextual generality for the first and the notion of structural universals for the second.

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An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Fifteenth Conference on Value Inquiry at the SUNY College at Genesco on 17 April 1981 and published in the Proceedings of that conference.

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Berleant, A. Multinationals, local practice, and the problem of ethical consistency. J Bus Ethics 1, 185–193 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00382770

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  • Economic Growth
  • Business Practice
  • Contextual Generality
  • Multinational Corporation
  • Local Practice