Operational modes for multinational corporations in post-apartheid South Africa: A proposal for a code of affirmative action in the marketplace

Journal of Business Ethics 12 (1):1-12 (1993)
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Abstract

The economic and socio-political impact of multinational corporations (MNCs) on third world countries has been the subject of intense debate and controversy leading to charges of exploitation and colonization on the one hand, and demands for codes of conduct on the other. This article examines the working of one of the most comprehensive of such codes under the most reprehensible political conditions, i.e., the operations of U.S.—based multinational corporations in South Africa under the acgis of the Sullivan Principles. It is argued that despite the best intentions, and considerable social goodwill, the Sullivan Principles were seriously flawed both as to goals and as to means of achieving them. Finally, it suggests a new approach to developing standards of MNC behavior in third world countries which emphasizes those areas of activities that are directly under the control of MNCs, and offers targets of achievement to which MNCs can and should be held accountable.The paper is a revised and expanded version of a keynote speech delivered by the author at the First Biannual Conference on Advances in Management, Orlando, Florida March 25–28, 1992.

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