What is the difference between relativism and normativism? How do these concepts relate to ethical behavior in international business?
In organizational ethics, relativism refers to the ethics that are considered when keeping the ethics of a specific culture or society in mind while normativism or universalism refers to the universal ethics not specific to a culture or society (Scheuerman, 1996). Both the concepts are more relevant when a company in international than a national one. For a national company it becomes easy to understand and follow the ethics of a specific society as they don’t have to deal with other societies and their cultures. But in case of an international company, the company has to decide what do with the ethical issues that may arise at different countries or societies. For example the same ethical situation might need to be dealt differently in different societies. To resolve this issue, companies may adopt to universal ethics that are irrespective of the national or cultural boundaries. These ethics are applicable to any country and have the capacity to resolve issues in different cultural background with the same guidelines.