Intercultural and Multicultural Communication Ethics. Part Two.


I would like to visualize my understanding of timeless virtue with the examples of RICOH’s organizational values and ethics. I find this set of company values crosses the boundaries of multiple cultures and promotes timeless organizational virtue ethics.

Founding Principles. The Spirit of Three Loves by Kiyoshi Ichimura, Founder of RICOH Corporation:

  • Love your neighbor
  • Love your country
  • Love your work

Golden phrases!

And here is RICOH’s value statement:

“To be one global company, we must care about people, our profession, our society, and our planet. We must dedicate our winning spirit, innovation and teamwork to sharpen our customer centric focus, and we also must commit to the highest standards of ethics and integrity.”

In this case, we see a vivid example of the virtue of three loves deeply engraved into the core principles of the company and its values. These universal core values define company culture and translate well inter-culturally. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, RICOH operates in many countries: Americas, Europe/Middle East/Africa, Asia/Pacific/China.

The company supports millions of businesses globally and therefore has a way to spread its virtues interculturally around the planet to its stakeholders, almost literally by exemplifying organizational values through work ethic, employee professionalism, etc. Thus affecting other cultures.

Now, let’s take for example values of another global company, adidas.

adidas core values: Performance. Passion. Integrity. Diversity.

Please visit this page: adidas vision and values

“Our values help us to create brands that our customers believe in, and a company our stakeholders can trust. Corporate responsibility has many facets and permeates all parts and operations of the company.”

A totally different approach, where the company seems to concentrate more on particular goals rather than high emotional appeals, but both approaches work well for their own purposes. Both work well interculturally and universally.

On an organizational level, both companies strive to be ethical and true to their core values. But you don’t see adidas values affecting Ricoh employees who work at adidas, therefore I can see how organizational ethical egoism may play the role. Also, this is what Rachels talked about when mentioning the societal (in this case organizational) borders.

In the globalization era, it is essential to develop basic core values that promote the virtues of the company as it makes an attempt to appeal to multiple cultures in the same way. This promotes our humanity being human and humane. “According to Cultural Relativism,” says Rachels, “there is only one way to improve a society [or company]: to make it better match its own ideal.” 


Johannesen, R. L., Valde, K. S., & Whedbee, K. E. (2008). Ethics in human communication. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Rachels, J., & Rachels, S. (2014). The Elements of Moral Philosophy (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill Humanities Social.

Bradford J. Hall, “Culture, Ethics, and Communication,” in Fred L. Casmir, ed., Ethics in Intercultural and International Communication (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1997), pp.11-42.

Zaharna, R.S., “Intercultural communication and international public relations: Exploring parallels,” Communication Quarterly, v. 48 no1 (Winter 2000) p. 85-100

Murphy, Patrick E., “Character and Virtue Ethics in International Marketing: An Agenda for Managers, Researchers and Educators,” Journal of Business Ethics 18 (1999): 107-124


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