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Introduction The study of ethics has become increasingly important with global business expansion because of an increase in ethical and social responsibility - concerns that businesses face in different country environments There exists however a wide divergence in the level of importance attached to these two issues in different countries Czinkota and Ronkainen 1998 Moreover vast differences exist from country to country in the economic development cultural standards legalpolitical systems and expectations regarding business conduct Wotruba 1997 In addition there is great divergence in the enforcement of policies Mittelstaedt and Mittelstaedt 1997 In the business ethics literature ethical variations among marketersmanagers from different nations are documented in many empirical studies on various types of ethical issues eg Singhapakdi 1999 Results indicate that differences in the perceived importance of ethics and social responsibility among marketers from the four countries exist because of - country differences in culture economic development and legalpolitical environment - differences in organizational ethical climate and - gender differences There are not any differences due to age Overall similarities and differences among the four countries emerged on specific dimensions of business effectiveness On the dimensions of output quality and competitiveness there were no differences among the four countries Inter-country differences were found on the dimensions of communication efficiency profits survival and stakeholder satisfaction These findings regarding cross-cultural similarities and differences are useful in furthering our understanding and management of ethics and social responsibility in the international context
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