Ethical Issues Faced By Americans Overseas
Ethical Issues Faced By Americans Overseas

Ethical Issues Faced By Americans Overseas

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  • Pages: 3 (1101 words)
  • Published: November 20, 2021
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Increased globalization and liberalization of the world trade has forced many companies and people to expand overseas to explore into new markets to enhance profitability and a better life. Every American doing business overseas faces some ethical and sometimes legal issues. However, these ethical issues from both the host country and home country are always entwined in the various legal options, local customs and norms adding to the questions of how Americans should act ethically to the unfamiliar foreign environment. On the other side, the governments of these host countries being independent of the United States set their laws, policies, rules and regulations to direct, as well as regulate how businesses are conducted in their countries which is different from how American multinational corporations do their business in the United States. This paper discusses the ethical issues faced by Americans operating overseas and the possible remedies that can be applied to resolve their ethical problems or dilemmas.

Some of the complex ethical issues faced by most American citizens in foreign countries entail competition, bribery, cronyism coupled with public governance. Other issues include human rights issues, environmental issues and issues of social equity. Failure to consider these issues may result in serious legal and reputational consequences. While on the other hand paying proper attention to these ethical issues will enhance corporate performance and improve the functioning of the economies while embracing capitalism.

Contrary to how Americans oper

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ate in the United States where there is a single set of acceptable standard for ethical and social behavior along with a reasonable integrated cultural composition. Americans working in multinational corporations overseas, where each country has their laws and cultures, as well as their diverse ethical practice and social norms experience enormous amount of ethical dilemmas. In reality, the perception of what is considered ethical or what does not vary across the globe. However, it is important to assume that both the Americans overseas and governments of their host countries heavily rely on their respective national or personal values on deciding ethical and unethical behaviors. The diversity found in the host countries by most overseas American citizens i.e. economically, culturally and linguistically, etc., often create ethical difficulties for Americans operating in several countries (Kohls, 2011).

Legal difficulties are among one of the biggest ethical issues Americans are facing overseas in different local laws. The laws that regulate issues such as bribes or corruption, in general, may differ when compared to the United States. For instance, the United States foreign corrupt practices acts give a directive on what is permissible or not permissible when working overseas which sometimes this law is very different in some countries. In this regard, the global organization dealing with Economic Cooperation and Development came up with the corruption treaty that laid out a combined set of ethical practices for people working overseas.

Americans working with multinational companies that violate local or international laws and engage in business transactions which are against the United States laws or policies may encounter an ethical problem in deciding what is right or wrong. For example, a company that has dealing

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with local criminals organization may put Americans in difficult situations in relations to their ethical standards.

Working conditions and policies that regulate working conditions from both the host country and the United States may differ greatly. An American working overseas sometimes encounters living and working conditions that are below their expectations or may be working with an unethical company that violates labor laws by also employing children in factories. To resolve this issue, Americans should understand the working procedures of the companies they are working with especially before they join the company. Additionally, they should educate themselves about the countries they are going to work to know what to expect.

Besides the problem of the unexpected working and living conditions, daily life in a foreign country presents many challenges that test one’s acceptable ethical morals. Outside of work most Americans encounter cultural shocks such as, gender expectations which are radically different as compared with the United States. Gender issues, especially on strict religious belief on women restrictions which are also problematic. Similarly, local foods or diets presents a big challenge especially when Americans are invited by citizens of the host countries to eat foods like horse or whale rarely consumed in the United States. In these situations though with great difficulties these Americans operating overs seas are forced to respect the foreign culture and not raising accusations that others are wrong because it is not the unaccustomed culture in the United States.

Unlike in the United States, health and safety issues raise a lot of concerns for Americans working oversee, however, this involves issues of safe drinking water when working in developing countries where there is a lack of proper sewers systems that pollutes the water supply and using of washrooms may present ethical problems. As an American working or before going to work overseas they should learn how to overcome the health and safety issues early.

Possible remedies

Since there is no single universally agreed upon guidelines or principals that address the issues of ethical dilemma faced by people working overseas, Americans working overseas should consider the following general moral norms that if respected and practiced can act as a remedy to many ethical issues faced overseas. These possible remedies entail always paying taxes to the host country; respect the local cultures by working with it sometimes and in cooperating with the local government in its enforcement activities. Fundamentally, there are a few common sense principles or guidelines that can help resolve the ethical dilemma for Americans oversee. They include obeying the laws of the host country, telling the truth to build trust, respect others, practice participation not paternalism and apart from respecting the human rights do no harm in the host country (Shaw & Barry, 2015).

Conclusion

It is crucial to inform Americans operating overseas even before entering foreign countries about the manners and customs of the new cultures they are going to expect. Different cultures have different or diverse ways of operations some having a positive or negative influence depending on one’s adaptability pace in foreign environment. Early preparation, learning the host language and respecting other people’s cultures and beliefs without forcing

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