Is it unreasonable to expect Western businesses active in developing nations to adhere to the same ethical standards they use at home?
I don't think that it is unreasonable for Western businesses expanding in other countries to uphold the ethical standards and practices in their home countries as they increase their reach. It's more than reasonable to expect this, and reflective of a reality that organizations are beginning to grasp.
Certainly, this is something that Wal- Mart is experiencing. In the wake of their problems with bribes and corruption in their operations in Mexico, Wal- Mart has had to adopt the same stringent and transparent approaches taken in the United States with what is happening in their businesses in Mexico and around the world. Even though corruption and bribery in the form of graft might be common in a country like Mexico, Wal- Mart has understood that such practices, if brought to light in America, would be immediately shamed and punished.
Wal- Mart has adopted the same ethical understanding it adheres to in America in application to its worldwide operations:
The bribery allegations have led to federal investigations in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as a global anti-corruption compliance review by Wal-Mart. They also have spawned about a dozen shareholder lawsuits seeking changes in Wal-Mart's corporate governance and damages on behalf of the Bentonville, Arkansas, company from current and former executives and directors.
One can see in the example of Wal- Mart how companies that seek a global outreach must not forget the upholding of ethical standards throughout the world.
Such practices are not contingent and relative to the country. Rather, they are reflective of the brand name, and businesses that fail to acknowledge this usually end up suffering back home, ensuring that all business will be challenged. In this, companies are best served if they are able to adopt and maintain the upholding of ethical standards that have come to define the organization as it expands into the global marketplace.