A business colleague once recalled a situation in which a former employer had to decide whether…

A business colleague once recalled a situation in which a former employer had to decide whether gift-giving or bribery was ethically acceptable. In an international business situation, bribery is often a way of cutting through bureaucratic red tape and expediting deals. American companies consider bribery unethical because the American way considers bribery an unfair advantage and does not condone the practice. On an international level, bribery is often an accepted part of local culture and not seen as unethical, but as a way to achieve a quick win-win deal for all parties involved.

American business has long been accused of cultural imperialism, the practice of promoting the culture of one nation into another nation by force (wikipedia, 2007). American businesses feel that the American way of doing business is the only way all international businesses should operate, regardless of a locally accepted practices or culture. American companies that are not willing to accept that bribery is an ethical and integral part of performing business on international soil are severely short selling business opportunities.

While bribery has resulted in unethical practices on American soil, the same is not true in many international settings. Extra payment for services is seen as good business and often the only way to get any business completed in a timely fashion. While some companies may use bribery on international soil to a disadvantage, most local business cultures simply will not do business without the bribery payments.

Globalization has increased the pressure on international business members to regulate many business practices such as bribery. American businesses need to be cognizant of international cultures and take into consideration that accepted practices in a global setting may not be the same as on American soil. Global regulation should strive to be free of American cultural imperialism to be accepted and respected on an international level.




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