Opportunities for Mutual Action: Government and Business Leaders in 1977

by Lee Morgan



The quality of corporate citizenship affects, and will increasingly affect, the way major world business issues are resolved. Therefore, whether people in the business community like it or not, corporate conduct ranks high on the list of issues that one must increasingly come to grips within 1977. It follows that the drafting of codes and other guidelines for business conduct will also be of high priority. Of course, this whole question of conduct and codes might not have come upon so rapidly in the last few years if it had not been for the undeniable fact of business misdeeds. But there is also another, more inevitable reason why code-drafting is so much in fashion: international business has become a larger factor in a smaller world, at once enlarged in terms of people and activity but reduced in terms of communication and travel time. Free private enterprise has never meant license to operate without limitations set by citizens, through their governments. Ethical considerations should sit at the table of every business decision. And business operations ought to be at an ethical level well above the floor set by the law. Thus, there is a need for codes that speak not only to ethics, but also to information disclosure, competition, technology transfer, employment practices, and other factors, especially those involving relationships and obligations to host communities and countries.

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