Global Ethics And Corporate Responsibility Discussion

Global Ethics and Corporate Responsibility Discussion

A common debate in ethics is universalism versus relativism of ethics and moral codes.  A frequently asked question is “Does a universal moral code exist regardless of an individual’s culture?”, is if  a universal moral code exists regardless of an individual’s culture.  As organizations are becoming increasingly global,  and understanding of universalism versus relativism of culture ethics is important.

· Compare and contrast universalism and relativism.

· Evaluate how universalism and relativism affect global social corporate responsibility.

Your response must be a minimum of 300 words.

Please use at least one scholarly or credible source in your discussion.

· The Scholarly, Peer Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources Preview the document table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment.

Guided Response: Review several of your classmates’ posts and respond to at least two of your peers by 11:59 p.m. on Day 7 of the week. You are encouraged to post your required replies early during the week to promote more meaningful interactive discourse in the discussion.

Your responses to peers must be a minimum of 150 words.


Reply to Jeffrey:


· Compare and contrast universalism and relativism.

Moral universalism is the belief that the same rules or system of ethics apply to all cultures universally. In other words, the same ethics apply universally and do not change regardless of culture, religion, nationality, or race. Ethical universalism views the world in an idealistic way.

Moral relativism is the belief that differences in moral judgments will be found in different cultures and across different people. It also believes that there may be objective differences between right and wrong, nobody is right or wrong, and that differences in behavior should be tolerated. Ethical relativism views the world in a more realistic way by understanding that different cultures can view the same actions differently.

Evaluate how universalism and relativism affect global social corporate responsibility.

Trebilcock (2016) wrote a paper that traced the evolution in thinking over universal themes such as universalism and its rise and fall. His paper primarily focused on law and development. However, it can also be applied to global social corporate responsibility. He argued that universalism prevailed during post-war eras up until the 1990’s when it produced disappointing outcomes. Universalism came to recognize that there is no general blueprint that can be used across all countries; especially developing countries. Trebilcock argued that while it’s a good to reject universalism, there are also some dangers in succumbing to an extreme form of relativism.

More recently, it has come to be widely recognized that a country’s specific features will shape what is desirable and feasible. Some of these factors include: the country’s history, geography, culture, demographics, economic structure, religion(s), politics, and ethnic composition. Different cultures and people create their own moral recommendations. Some argue that there is no way to prove that one is morally preferable over another and that one set cannot be universally used. Cultural relativism is the understanding that different cultures have different values and that they cannot be dismissed as inferior or wrong.

In regards to global social corporate responsibility, bribery can be used as an example to evaluate universalism versus relativism. In many countries, bribery is a common way of doing business. However, a universalism approach would be that all bribery is bad. American companies are actually not allowed to give or receive bribes because the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits it. A relativism approach would be to understand specific cultures and what is deemed to be acceptable. Certain cultures may allow gifts but not bribes. However, it can be difficult to determine the difference between these two for a given situation.


Trebilcock, M. (2016). Between universalism and relativism: reflections on the evolution of law and development studies. University of Toronto Law Journal, 66(3), 330-352.

Reply to Edward:

· Ethic universalism deals with implications from an activity applies to anybody within any situation. In business, organizations can use the universal approach when making ethical decisions, meaning if it seeks fairness and integrity for one person, it will do the same for everyone. “Universalism is one of the major ingredients in American cultural value, which influences the American perception into the world and the formulation of American foreign cultural, military and political policies” (Luo, 2010, p. 57). The bill of rights can is based of universalism because the first amendment allows freedom of speech from all races and religions and the fourth amendment states that no one can be searched or arrested by law without probable cause.

Relativism on the other hand, proclaims that the same truth cannot be spread across different groups of societies and cultures. For instance, corporations that have strong views on religion may manage their businesses differently. Chick-fil-a is a restaurant that is ran by a Christian ceo that has a policy which allows the restaurants to be closed on Sundays for people to worship God which is considered a universal approach. If every restaurant used that universal approach in business, there would be conflict because consumers like to enjoy eating fast food or sitting down in a restaurant on Sundays whether they go to church or not.

Since Chick-fil-a has strong beliefs with Christianity, the owner has spoken out against same sex marriages, which other people found offensive including colleagues and customers. While the owner demonstrated his freedom of speech which is based of universalism when he made that comment, he upset the gay community which caused backlash. restaurant that uses a relativism approach will avoid conflict with its colleagues and customers because they understand that spreading the same truth across genders and sexual preferences will affect how the way they make money.


Luo, J. (2010). Universalism in America: A religious perspective. Petroleum – Gas University of Ploiesti Bulletin, Educational Sciences Series, 62(1B), 57-65.



Gonzalez-Padron, T. (2015). Business ethics and social responsibility for managers  [Electronic version]. Retrieved from

· Chapter 10: Looking Forward

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