Globalisation and its influence on ethical decision making in business : China and intellectual property rights

Neveling, Arno (2008-12)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Ethical decision making in business, the manifestation of business ethics in the individual, is influenced and shaped by various factors, including the external environment, organisational factors and society. In China business ethics, and consequently ethical decision making has emerged and developed mainly as a response to the economic reforms in response to globalisation. Globalisation, a product of the interaction of political and predominantly economic liberalisation, largely brought about by technological change, has become a household word since the last decade of the twentieth century. It is hailed by its advocates as a way to spread cosmopolitan values as well as better employment conditions and standards of living. Its critics, however, see it as a new wave of colonialism imposed by developed countries and multinational companies on poor countries, a synonym to exploitation and impoverishment of both people and nature. A contested issue on globalisation is concerned with its consequences as to the convergence of societies toward a uniform pattern of economic, political, and even cultural organisation, and thus to the formation of a global ethic. A change in approach towards intellectual property and the trends observed in patent applications indicate to what degree various countries have embraced the opportunities presented by globalisation. China is a prime example of a country that embraced the opportunities, and also made the required changes in policies and behaviour. Globalisation has changed the environment in which everyone is competing forever. International institutions play a significant role, and being part of treaties is paramount if countries want to play in the global market. Thus, globalisation changed the external environment that has an important influence on ethical decision making by individuals. These changes are followed by changes in countries' legal environments. As a result the rules by which companies have to play are also influenced, changing the way management should and eventually do behave, which will ultimately change the work experience gained by an individual. A change in individual factors will eventually change the ethical philosophy and the decision ideal of an individual, which also have an impact on ethical decision making. The end result is that globalisation has a profound influence on every factor that influence an individual making ethical decisions. However, these changes can take very long to start to manifest, a fact seen in the lag between policy changes and observing tangible changes in approach to intellectual property rights, as observed in China.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Etiese besluitneming deur die individu word beinvloed deur 'n wye verskeidenheid faktore, waaronder die eksterne omgewing, die organisasie waarvoor die individu werk, en ook die kultuur gemeenskap. Sake etiek in China, en dus ook etiese besluitneming het ontwikkel as die resultaat van ekonomiese beleidsveranderinge wat teweeg gebring is deur globalisering. Globalisering is die produk van die grootskaalse liberalisering van ekonomiee, aangehelp deur tegnologiese vooruitgang. Voorstanders van globalisering glo dat dit die verspreiding en groei van kosmopolitaanse waardes tot gevolg het, en uiteindelik lei tot beter werksomstandighede en lewensstandaarde vir almal. Die kritici meen egter dat dit 'n nuwe vorm van kolonialisme is waardeur ontwikkelde lande en internasionale besighede die ontwikkelende lande uitbuit. Die mate waarin globalisering lei tot die konvergensie van gemeenskappe na 'n uniforme ekonomiese, politiese en kulturele entiteit, word egter betwis. Gevolglik word daar ook gevra of globalisering lei tot die totstandkoming van 'n globale etiese kode. Lande benader die geleenthede wat globalisering bied op verskillende maniere. Hierdie verskille is duidelik sigbaar in die benadering wat gevolg word met intellektuele eiendom. Die tendense oor die afgelope paar jaar in die aantal aansoeke om patente te registreer, verskil dramaties van land tot land. China is 'n goeie voorbeeld van 'n land wat die geleentheid met beide hande aangegryp het. Nie net is beleid aangepas om voordeel uit die geleentheid te trek nie, maar mense se houding het ook dienooreenkomstig verander. Globalisering het die omgewing vir kompetisie dramaties verander. Internasionale organisasies speel 'n belangrike rol, en die ondertekening van verskeie ooreenkomste is ononderhandelbaar om ten volle deel te wees van die globale ekonomie. Globalisering het die eksterne omgewing sodanig verander dat dit nie anders kan as om 'n impak te hê op die besluitneming van individue nie. Die veranderende eksterne omgewing het noodgedwonge gelei tot veranderinge in die wette van verskeie lande. Die reels waaraan besighede moet voldoen is dus ook beinvloed, en so ook die manier waarop bestuur moet optree. Uiteindelik sal hierdie ook die ervaring van werknemers verander, en dus 'n impak hê op etiese besluitneming. Die uiteinde is dat globalisering elke faktor wat 'n impak het op etiese besluitneming beinvloed. Hierdie veranderinge kan egter 'n lang tyd neem om gestalte te vind in die optrede van organisasies en indivdue. 'n Goeie voorbeeld word gevind in China. Dit het 'n geruime tyd geneem vanaf beleid ten opsigte van intellektuele eiendom ingestel is totdat organsiasies en individue 'n verandering in gedrag en optrede begin toon het deur patente ernstig te beskou.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5485
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