Implementing a business code abroad and its challenges



When one tries to implement a new management system worldwide within an existing company framework, you come across many challenges. First of all, the challenge of bringing in a new system for working within an existing business culture. Second, to implement a system that works well within proximity of headquarters, but is far reach for sub-units in different locations around the world. Thirdly, the culture of the local sub-unit influences the local business culture for said sub-unit, and challenges may arise when implementing, because that foreign culture was not taken in account when the management system was designed in headquarters.

All these challenges can be expected when an international business code (or code of conduct) is being implemented abroad: ethics are even more closely connected to culture of organizations, and culture has an important role on the succes of implementation of codes. Moreover, a code of conduct’s succes in practical outcome depends not only on a successful implementation of the code in a culture, it also depends on the way the code was designed within the organization: were all stakeholders of the code accounted for, and were all issues within the whole of the worldwide company addressed in the code?

There is one more trend within multinational companies that we need to look at: the increase of migration of employees within that company, which diminishes the role of the culture of headquarter, and increases the role of a global business culture.  If we look at the way the multinational companies are operating these days, we cannot say that company from country X is moving into country Y, and the company X managers are now implementing management systems and codes within sub- unit Y’s business culture. A multinational company from X  is globalized and will send an manager from country B to country Y, to implement the international code or management system.

Even if this migration trend within multinational companies and organizations is on the rise and whether or not the codes are designed within headquarters or designed in a global effort, the implementation of the global code within a sub-unit will have challenges of its own: the standard , for instance, of the value of common employees and stakeholders set out in the business code may differ from the value of common employees in a foreign country. A global company may set out a global guideline on corruption that would make it impossible to even start operating in country X, because no one would be able to obtain visas or check out their luggage without handing over of some money. With my research, I want to give an overview of the most common challenges in implementing a business code abroad.