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Ethical Issues In Global Purchasing: A Buyer's Guide To Gifts and Bribes Worldwide


Mark F. Hartley, D.B.A.
Mark F. Hartley, D.B.A., Professor of Business, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424, 803/953-5955.
Wade C. Ferguson, D.B.A., C.P.M.
Wade C. Ferguson, D.B.A., C.P.M., Contract Administrator, Santee Cooper, Monks Corner, SC 29461, 803/671-8000.
Gregory B. Turner, D.B.A.
Gregory B. Turner, D.B.A., Assistant Professor of Marketing, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC 29526, 803/349-2688.

82nd Annual International Conference Proceedings - 1997 

Abstract. Recently, gift and gratuity acceptance has been rigorously studied, primarily as it impacts the domestic buyer purchasing from domestic vendors. But given the global nature of today's sourcing environment, how do we cope with different ethical codes of conduct in different countries? In a nutshell, 'very carefully'.

Background. The acceptance of gratuities from vendors has long been a major concern within the purchasing function. While both NAPM and purchasing educators continue to significantly address ethical issues faced by today's purchasing professionals, the body of work deals primarily with domestic vendor relations. More study and analysis is necessary, however, in the area of international vendor relations. It seems reasonable to assume that corporations who do significant buying from foreign vendors are well aware of the intercultural 'rules of the road' related to these transactions. However, the initial results of a recently completed study by the authors on international sourcing uncovers many interesting findings that suggest otherwise.

Rather than presenting partial findings of the study in these Proceedings, the complete findings will be given at the presentation. The remaining space is devoted to a bibliographic reference list of relevant articles and books addressing ethical behavior a) in general business practice, b) in purchasing transactions, and c) in international sourcing situations. While certainly not a complete listing, the group of works below represent an excellent library of major studies and meaningful theoretical foundations in ethics and ethical behavior. Before buying abroad, the astute purchasing professional would do well to study the wealth of information contained in the writings listed below.


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