Creating the ethical framework that the organization’s decision-making processes will be based on is imperative to maintain credibility in the target environment and gain the trust of the audience. Therefore, it is imperative to consider different ethical frameworks that can be applied in the context of the identified realm. The Integrated Social Contract Theory and Universalism are traditionally viewed as the options from which the leaders of a project must choose. Since there is a need in the multicultural and diverse environment to take the needs and cultural specifics of all stakeholders into account, the corporate ethical standards should borrow from the Social Contract Theory instead of the Universalism principles since it is essential for creating solid ethical standards that the decision-making process will be based on and catering to the needs of the diverse company members.
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Among the key differences between the theory of Universalism and the Integrated Social Contract Theory (ISCT), the environments to which their postulates are applied need to be mentioned first (Thompson et al. 294). Universalism, reasonably enough, appeals to all domains of people’s interactions, therefore, controlling the choices that people make on any level. ISCT, in its turn, divides the environment in which people communicate into the micro- and the macrosocial ones, setting very specific rules for each of the domains. Whereas the macrosocial area (e.g., the processes related to the communication with business partners of an organization) is guided by the universal principles, the microsocial one (e.g., a team of employees with specific backgrounds) implies building relationships that are in chord with the beliefs of its members (Thompson et al. 295). It would be wrong to claim that the two groups are independent; instead, the macrosocial contract implies the recognition of the microsocial one and the rights of the people that constitute it.
The flexibility with which both theories provide the members of organizations can also be interpreted as a criterion of differentiating between the two philosophies. Indeed, although seemingly aimed at promoting global well-being, the Universal philosophy does not give the participants of the communication process much room for making choices. Instead, it points directly to the option that they must choose (Thompson et al.291). ISCT, in its turn, gives enough space for ethical maneuvering so that the process of negotiation could lead to satisfactory outcomes for all parties involved and that the needs of people from all backgrounds could be recognized. In light of the fact that ISCT provides more chances for cross-cultural communication and the promotion of corporate ethics simultaneously, it seems to be the most reasonable choice for a company operating in the global economy environment (Steverson, Rutherford, and Buller 74).
Because of the necessity to take the needs of the representatives of numerous cultures into consideration when shaping the corporate ethical framework, and at the same time make sure that it should uphold the foundational principles of ethics, one should choose the philosophy that allows marrying different approaches, i.e., the Integrated Social Contracts Theory. Serving as the foil for a comprehensive corporate ethical philosophy, the theory helps compromise between the needs and cultural specifics of a diverse population and the values that the organization views as crucial to its decision-making and communication-related processes. While going into extremes and switching to catering solely to the needs of a specific party can be detrimental to the firm’s well-being, balancing between the two approaches should be interpreted as a sensible corporate policy.
Steverson, Brian K., Matthew W. Rutherford, and Paul F. Buller. “New Venture Legitimacy Lies and Ethics: An Application of Social Contract Theory.” Journal of Ethics & Entrepreneurship 3.1(2013): 73-92. Print.
Thompson, Arthur, Margaret Peteraf, John Gamble, and A. J. III Strickland. Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage: Concepts and Cases. 19th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education, 2013. Print.