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The term ‘Work Ethics’ refers to the system of moral principles and rules of the conduct
applied to business. Business being a social organ shall not be conducted in a way
detrimental to the interests of the society and the business sector itself. Every profession
or group frames certain do’s and do not’s for its members

“Business ethics in short can be defined as the systematic study of ethical matters
pertaining to the business, industry or related activities, institutions and beliefs.
Business ethics is the systematic handling of values in business and industry.” —
John Donaldson

Sources of Business Ethic:

In every society there are three sources of business ethics-Religion, Culture and

1. Religion:
Religion is the oldest source of Religion is the oldest source of ethical inspiration.
There are more than ethical inspirations. Every religion gives an expression of
what is wrong and right in business and other walks of life.

2. Culture:
Culture is the set of important understandings that members of a community share
in common. It consists of a basic set of values, ideas, perceptions, preferences,
concept of morality, code of conduct etc. which creates distinctiveness among
human groups.

Culture encourages the members of the organization to give priority to

organizational goals over and above their personal interests. Culture also serves as
a sense making and control mechanism that guides and shapes the attitudes and
behavior of people

3. Law:
The legal system of any country, guide the human behavior in the society.
Whatever, ethics the law defines is binding on the society. The society expects the
business to abide by the law. Although it is expected that every business should be
law abiding, seldom do the businesses adhere to the rules and regulations. Law
breaking in business is common eg. Tax evasion, hoarding, adulteration, poor
quality & high priced products, environment pollution etc.

 Dedicated to service: Japanese believe in hard work being totally dedicated

and thus providing best quality products to the customers. It indicates that
like Indians they treat work as worship. They believe in kaizen i.e.
continuous, small improvements.

 Macro vision: Japanese value system is such that they are more oriented to
look at things from macro perspective. Japanese are patriots by nature. They
love their country and are honest and dedicated towards it .therefore, when a
Japanese joins an organization he is totally dedicated and gives his best
output because he knows this output will help in nation building, will
contribute in economic growth and development of nation. Thus individual
priority, goals and objectives become the second criteria for the Japanese.
 Emphasizes spiritualism: Another characteristic of Japanese is that they are
inclined towards spirituality. They practice meditation, attend lectures on
spiritualism; believe in intuition and six senses. Thus they lead a peaceful
life which enhances their productivity level.
 Professional life kept away from personal life: Japanese also believe not to
carry office work at home and external problems at home. They follow a
custom. Before entering their home, they keep their shoes outside and enter
inside bare footed to indicate that external stress and strain should be kept
outside. External disturbances should not create disharmony in their personal
 Business ethics: Japanese believe in business ethics. They provide products
and services to the customers and never ready to cheat them. Thus they
provide service to the community and fulfill social responsibility. They do
business fairly. They earn profit but not at the cost of quality.
 Team spirit: Japanese value system emphasizes on team spirit. In an
organization or in society team spirit needs to be developed. It creates
harmony and positive synergy. Therefore, team output becomes better
compared to individual output. They believe in joint decision making. It
means employees should be involved in the decision making process along
with management. Sometimes they might know better than management.
Therefore, joint decision making will lead to better decision.
 Holistic approach: Japanese are ever ready to spend on the training of the
employees, as they believe that the employees will be with the organization
for the long time. They have holistic concern for employees.
 Self-management: Japanese culture also gives importance on self-discipline
and self-control. The individuals are expected to control their ego, anger,
hatred, greediness and maintain service attitude. It emphasizes more to give
then to take from professional life.
 Non interruptions: Japanese also insist to avoid interrupting when someone
is thinking or speaking. They do not believe in using mobile phones in trains
unless it is allowed to do so as it disturbs the fellow passengers.
 Informal relationships: People in Japan believe in informal relationships. For
example, in an organization employees can communicate directly with
higher authorities.
 Long term relationships: Japanese look at things from long term perspective.
They give the best service not only to nation but also the whole world. They
provide best quality service to the customer. They believe in continuous
improvement and ever ready to work hard with sincerity and dedication.
They know due to this attitude, customers will be loyal to them. They
employees also feel that they are not mere employees, but a part of
organization and work accordingly.


 Materialistic: As compared to Japan, American value system differs to great

extent. American is more materialistic in their approach as compared to
Japanese. Now a day’s many Americans are getting attracted towards
spiritualism, because they have realized the emptiness of mere materialism.
Generally Americans are focused to earn more and more money and enjoy
all the luxuries in life. They are achievement oriented, interested to attain
challenging goals, ambitious and hard working.

 Relationship based in give and take: American culture believes in

developing relationship of give and take in work life. They regard that
relationship should be mutually beneficial. They believe the relationship to
be formal in professional life.

 Believe in non-interference: Americans are not much inclined to the family.

After becoming adult, individuals can take the decision on their own without
bothering about their parents.
 Equity and co-operation: They believe in equity and co-operation. They are
focused in building the team spirit to attain organization goals and
objectives. But while encouraging the team spirit, individual’s performance
is also rewarded.

 Generally preferred top-down approach: As far as decision making is

concerned, generally major decisions are taken at the top and communicated
at the lower level to take action.

 No job security: Americans believe that if today, an employee’s performance

is good, he must be rewarded, if tomorrow he is not required or his
performance is not up to the mark he needs to be sacked. It indicates they do
value job security unlike Japanese

 Loyal to the profession: Americans are more loyal not to the organization
but to the profession. If they get better opportunity they will leave the
organization and join somewhere else.


 Co-operation: Indian philosophy instead of killer instinct and tough

competition focuses more towards co-operation.
 Family oriented, more emotional: The value system of India is oriented
towards family. Even grown-ups while taking any decision consult with
seniors. Indian ethos emphasizes to respect the elders specially the parent
and teachers
 Humility and respect for others: Indian ethos emphasizes on humility and
respect for others. Therefore, getting passes Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin
Tendulkar commented ‘Heroes are heroes forever; you cannot really get
passed them’. This in Indian value system.
 Respect to others: It focuses to show respect to others. Others mean not only
the fellow human beings but objects as well.
 Self-management: Indian Ethos believes that self-management is the essence
of management. Before managing others effectively, a person should know
how to manage himself. Then only he can manage others effectively.
Comparative study
characteristic America japan India
Speed vs. Generally Japanese Indian company’s
Consistency American company’s decision making is
company’s decision making is in stages along
decision making is in stages along their corporate
quick. Superiors their corporate hierarchy. Their
give some great hierarchy. Their decisions are very
leeway to decisions are very cautious and
subordinates so cautious and conservative and
that they can conservative and sometimes slower
decide and make sometimes slower than U.S.
decisions quickly. than U.S. companies.
Unfortunately companies. These
there are some stages are backed
errors that can by plenty of
come because of meetings and
that. documentation.
This minimizes
error and brings
consistency at all
Roles & The U.S. Japanese Indian companies
Responsibilities for company’s roles companies require also require
Individual vs. Group are very individual individual
individualized. contribution to the contribution to the
Contribution of whole whole group
individual is very
important as linked
to company goals.
ROI of Revenues vs. US Companies Japanese also Indian companies
ROI of focus on Return focus on ROI, also focus on ROI,
Relationships On Investment however, they however, they
(ROI) or the end emphasize the emphasize the
result. They don’t process on how to process on how to
concern get there. get there.
themselves on how
it is achieved.
Risk Takers vs. Risk if we ask if the Japanese feel if we ask
Adverse cultures something to that it’s possible to something to
achieve for them, achieve most likely achieve for them,
they’ll say “We 100%, they don’t they’ll say “We
can do it” even say “Yes”. Their can do it” even
they thought they agreement is they thought they
can do it 50-70% careful because can do it 50-70%
probabilities. After they want to be probabilities. After
they accepted, they accurate. They they accepted, they
try to achieve as make sure it is try to achieve as
close to 100%. exactly 100%What close to 100%.
the Japanese say is
important. If they
are not right it will
reflect badly on
Heterogeneous vs. Since America. is Basically a Since India. is
Homogeneous multicultural, the Japanese company multicultural, the
cultures company is is organized by company is
consisted of a Japanese. Almost consisted of a
plenty of everyone has same plenty of people
nationalities, background to from different
which means there realize the culture, which
are so many situation so some means there are so
different way to of the many different
think understanding is in way to think.
unspoken words.
This is one of the
skills in Japan.
Loose vs Structured Basically the Most Japanese Most Indian
Working Styles working style is companies work companies work
almost the same as regular office regular office
Japan. It is very hours and they hours and they
flexible, where don’t permit don’t permit
working from working at home. working at home.
home is very The work They have cubicles
normal. They have environment is set for each employee
cubicles for each like a school class which focuses on a
employee which where the head of person’s
focuses on a the department is independence-high
person’s at the top of a row walls, isolation.
independence-high of desks. There are
walls, isolation, group oriented- no
and spaciousness. walls, no cubicles
and closeness.