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International Marketing Ethics

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International Marketing Ethics


Businesses face various ethical challenges when conducting business. These ethical challenges are also present when conducting business aboard. Companies must be aware of ethical standards and acceptable behavior. This awareness means that marketers must recognize the viewpoints of three key players: the company, the industry, and society. Since these three groups almost always have different needs and wants, ethical conflicts are likely to arise. These challenges will be in every countries and industry.


Given the complexity of the world in which we live, maintaining ethics in the business world is challenging in many ways. Ethics is not a tangible thing that can be measured to ensure that it is followed and to what degree it is not followed. Unlike laws, which are clearly defined and have offenses that can be punished, ethics is a standard of norms and values that are is developed by society that guides an individual's or organization's behaviors and acts as a compass for what is deemed right or wrong (Duncan, 2004). Ethics plays an important role in the relationship between a company and the public. When a company behaves ethically then customers develop more positive attitudes about the company, its products, and services. Conversely, not employing ethical marketing practices may lead to dissatisfied customers, bad publicity, a lack of trust, lost business, or even legal action. There are several ethical issues that marketers face.

Ethical Issues


One of the major ethical issues that face marketers that is stereotyping. Stereotyping is creating an oversimplified image of a particular group of people, usually by assuming that all members of the group are alike (DHRC, n.d.). Marketers often try to develop messages that create an impact with targeted audiences. In an effort to define that specific message, marketers must make sure that they are tapping into the persona that they are trying to appeal to and not the stereotypes. As society changes, so do the images of roles assumed by people, regardless of race, sex, or occupation. When marketers present those images as overly conventional or overly simplistic, people may view them as stereotypical and offensive. The stereotypes of poor farm workers guiding water buffalos through rice paddies and peasants scavenging crowded city streets remain ingrained in the minds of Americans (Stanat, n.d.).

Exploiting Labor

An increasing number of companies are moving production to China in order to take advantage of generous tax incentives, high productivity rates, and cheap labor. Riordan Manufacturing has a joint venture facility in Hangzhou, China, where plastic fan parts are produced. Poor working conditions exist in many industries and types of enterprises in China, there is substantial evidence that the problem is particularly acute in areas and sectors with high-levels of foreign investment and large number of migrant workers. Migrant workers in China often emigrate from rural areas, where there is rising unemployment and underemployment as well as extreme poverty, to prosperous areas in search of a better life and prosperous future (ICCR, n.d.). Migrant workers suffer discrimination at every level, the factory, in society, and in government. Migrant workers are considered inferior by their urban counterparts and have long been the target of institutional exclusion by local city government. This has forced them to take the worst jobs available in non-regulated conditions while enduring harsh treatment, low wages, and excessive work hours (ICCR, n.d.). Riordan Manufacturing is in a joint venture with a 60% ownership and most of the employees are citizens of China (RM, n.d). It is important for Riordan to ensure that the joint venture in China is not exploitive of their employees. Riordan is not only marketing a product in China but also marketing the company as well. Respecting the people and their welfare will go along way to positioning Riordan as a positive company to the people and other companies.


Apart from censorship of media, China has also been criticized by the international community for bribery and corruption. The secret nature of business bribery activities combined with weaknesses of the law enforcement system has made it very difficult for China's official agencies to eradicate business bribery. To make things worse, there is not always a clear line between business bribery



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