Tobacco Case Analysis
Laczniak and Naor discuss the complexity of international ethics or, more precisely, the ethical assumptions that underlie strategic decisions for multinationals.2 They suggest that multinationals can develop consistency in their policies by using federal law as a baseline for appropriate behavior as well as respect for the host country’s general value structure. They conclude with four recommendations for multinationals:1. Expand codes of ethics to be worldwide in scope.2. Expressly consider ethical issues when developing worldwide corporate strategies.3. If the firm encounters major ethical dilemmas, consider withdrawal from the problem market.4. Develop periodic ethics-impact statements, including impacts on host parties.
See www.who.int, the World Health Organization’s website, for more details regarding the current tobacco controversy.
QUESTIONS1. Use the model in Exhibit 1 as a guide and assess the ethical and social responsibility implications of the situations described.
2. Can you recommend alternative strategies or solutions to the dilemmas confronting the tobacco companies? To governments? What is the price of ethical behavior?
3. Should the U.S. government support U.S. tobacco company interests abroad?
4. Should a company be forced to stop marketing a product that is not illegal, such as cigarettes?
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