Intercultural managers effective in resolving conflicts created by opposing ethical viewpoints are not wedded to discharging the letter of the law. They are of the opinion that a verdict that reflects the law but seems harsh to many is not justice at all. When people assume inflexible positions , are not prepared to examine the underpinnings of their ethical stance, and engage in situational ethics, they are unlikely to be in a position to resolve disputes. Thus in the example above, some individuals will categorically choose either (a) or (b), taking the ethical position that they will always tell the truth or always defend a friend, then refuse to unbend when the facts of a situation are brought to their attention. Such managers will not be suitable for intercultural management.
In every culture there are managers who assume unbending ethical positions, and others who reconsider their position when relevant information is brought to them. All the global managers interviewed for this book were united in their opinion that it is managers who are capable of situational thinking on ethical matters who are adept at intercultural management. Those who have inflexible attitudes to ethical dilemmas are likely to become embroiled in conflict situations when operating in foreign cultures.
The ultimate ethical dilemma that global managers grapple with is whether a good life is compatible with good management. If the two are perceived as incompatible, then conflicts will arise. Managers from cultures where people have no scruples will rule the roost. Fortunately that is not the case, and good management is also ethical management. Global managers need to be clear what a realistic but ethical position is, in business and in life, and make decisions accordingly . It is therefore advisable for global corporations to have a clear stance regarding their ethics, and communicate that code of ethics to their managers.