One Code of Ethics


OneCode of Ethics

TO:Sr. Vice President of Human Resources

FROM:Human Resources Department

18 October 2015

SUBJECT: That Would Apply Across All Countries and Cultures

Intoday’s business world, it has become crucial to maintaining a setof ethics that will manage employees’ behavior and relations withthe society and customers (Parsons, 2008). Therefore, globalbusinesses are weighing the options of having only one code of ethicsacross cultures and countries, and our company must do the same.However, having a universal code of ethics can present its benefitsand some challenges as well.

Onecode of conduct offers uniformity across all Coca-Cola branchesaround the world. Here at Coca-Cola, we acknowledge that corporatesocial responsibility is one of the foundational, core principles ofour business practice. Thus, each business decision the managementmakes must consider the consequences from a social, economic, andecological viewpoint. Consequently, we must reconcile the interestsof different societies using one code of ethics. A universal code ofconduct ensures that the employees can follow set rules withoutdeviating to personal values for guidance. Additionally, it promotesrespect for the dignity of workers and customers. Respect for thedignity of persons is the most essential and collectively found moralprinciple across cultural and geographical boundaries (Parsons,2008). One code of ethics will provide the philosophical foundationfor many of other ethical principles that the company may decide tobring forward. Besides, it will promote respect for dignityrecognizes the intrinsic worth of all human beings regardless of thedifferences in ethnic origin, social status, gender or culturaldifferences (Parsons, 2008).

Nonetheless,using one code of conduct presents challenges because most countriesand cultures emphasize on entirely different standards depending ontheir laws and practices. Consequently, some disagreements can arisebetween what is ethical and unethical across cultures. Sometimes, itbecomes difficult for the employees to adhere to the one code ofconduct while respecting the local cultural traditions (Parsons,2008). Moreover, using one code of conduct does not demonstraterespect for cultural differences among its global workforce.Therefore, the company might establish ethics to promote values ofhonesty and integrity, which might be translated in some areas as aban of practices, which are inherent in their cultures. For example,our employees in the United States may view gifts as a form ofbribery. In contrast, Asian cultures consider gifts as a customarypractice. Hence, universal ethics makes it hard to balance betweenlocal policies and global business principles. At times, having auniversal code of ethics may facilitate unethical corporate behavioraccording to the company’s standard. It limits the employees’ability to speak up against the company values even if the code ofethics it promotes is unethical according to the local community’scultural practices (Parsons, 2008).

Allthe same, I believe that the best approach for our company is to useone code of ethics as they undoubtedly offer more advantages. It isone of the ways that the company can promote society’s well-beingand sustainable development of the global community. Besides, it ispossible to have universal moral standards even if there arevariations in some beliefs and practices across cultures. Mostcultures have shared beliefs on some of the behaviors and practicesthey consider morally wrong (Parsons, 2008). Hence, it will not behard to get people across cultures to adopt a universal code ofethics. Even if we should acknowledge that cultural differences inmoral beliefs and practices exist, we should try to build a commonground, which employees and customers from different cultures canrelate and promote personal dignity and respect. The universal codeof ethics will help the company maintain a healthy ethical climate,which is a step towards having an ultimate goal of having ethical,global responsibility. Similarly, they will help minimize conflictsin the business world. However, the code of conduct should onlymaintain a set of ethics by describing the ethical environment forwhich all the Coca-Cola employees must deliver services rather thandictating particular actions that the employees must follow.


Parsons,P. (2008). Ethicsin public relations: A guide to best practice.London: Kogan Page.