What are he sources of differences in ethics between people, companies and nations?It is a class in management.
The source of differences among these is rooted in culture, I think. And by culture, I mean the culture of one's home and family, the culture of one's country, and the culture of one's company. It would be nice to think that no matter who we are or where we go, people have the same great ethics, but this is not the case. If it were, we would not have had all the troubles from Wall Street for the past several years or countries, including our own, violating human rights.
One good example of a cultural difference is bribery, which does not appear to be considered unethical in some countries, but simply a matter of how one does business. In our country, we at least pay lip service to the idea that bribery is unethical, although I must say it is difficult to tell the difference sometimes between lobbying and bribery. Bribery is a good example to consider because as the world becomes a global village, we want to be part of the business opportunities the global village represents. But if our ethics are different from those of another country, as they sometimes are, we are at a competitive disadvantage. As the global village becomes smaller, it might be time to consider whether there needs to be an international code of ethics that puts everyone, at least theoretically, on an even playing field.