The Real Values Of The Un Global Compact Business Essay


The perception of value is individual; every person recognizes its values in a different way. Value as a terminology could be related to a product, service or an ethical action. People are living in a society that seems to be in a process of desegregation and decomposition, war and violence are a clear example of that. Several conditions like the globalization and the competitiveness could make some enterprises go against numerous principles that affect the human rights, environment and some forms of corruption could be detected.

The United Nations is an entity that pursues the alignment, communication and consensus of its 191 country members, to formulate declarations, norms, strategies and actions that generate benefits for the global population. Several countries and organizations had signed declarations or agreements. But a signature is not the only requisite to accomplish the compromise. The world needs engagement and to have a real commitment. Organizations need a strong structural dynamic system of values.

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We have to recognize that the society counts with a scale of values that permit analysis between different levels. This could be a starting point to understand that the root of the global issues begin locally and individually. It seems that being socially responsible has become a trend in those days, but values, rights, and our planet are not a matter of branding.


Theoretical Framework

This research is based on many theories. It aims to make a connection between the nature of the values that constitutes the foundation of the UN Global Compact, organizational values and individual values, seeking to find an interaction in these three stages in order to validate a sense of a world changing mind process. In an ambitious effort for the eradication of extreme poverty and to ensure an environmental sustainability, in addition to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, the United Nations introduces in 2000 a commitment signed by 191 member countries in order to have a better world. It was a starting point of a series of initiatives that pursue a real doing for a sustainable and sustained global development.

The United Nation in an initiative to foment the participation of several companies to increase and consolidate socially responsible leadership; established a group of ten principles to provide the guidelines of a global supporting chain. According to Lawrence and Beamish (2013)

"the UN Global Compact ask its participating companies to embrace, support, and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption, and to support the broader UN goals such as the Millennium

Development Goals" (p. xiv)

The ten principles of the UN Global Compact are a framework to create a platform to institute a global network of a committed and inclusive economy. They are also based on previous agreements that have generated a global consensus, such as: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.



The Ten Principles of the Un Global Compact

Human Rights

Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of

internationally proclaimed human rights; and

Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.


Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the

effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;

Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;

Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour; and

Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment

and occupation.


Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to

environmental challenges;

Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental

responsibility; and

Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally

friendly technologies.


Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms,


including extortion and bribery.

Table 1. The Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact


In a competitive landscape, somehow these ten principles could constitute a rule to break in order to create the most desirable maximization of profit. Hitt, Ireland, Hoskisson (2011)

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found that "the fundamental nature of the competition in many of the world's industries is changing. The reality is that financial capital is scare and markets are increasingly volatile. Because of this, the pace of change is relentless and ever-increasing. Even determining the boundaries of an industry has become challenging" (p.8). There are lots of sources of competitive advantage, but they all depend on the mission and visions of the organizational brain. "Effective use of the strategic management process reduces the likelihood of failure for firms and as they encounter the condition of today's competitive landscape" (p.9).

Moreover, an extrapolation of the competitiveness could also settle the phenomenon of hypercompetition, Hitt et al. (2011) defined this terminology as the capture of the reality of the competitiveness. The strategies establish under a hypercompetition process are taken by the assumption of inherent instability and change. "Several factors create hypercompetitive environments and influence the nature of the current competitive landscape. The emergence of a global economy and technology, specifically rapid technological change, are the two primary drivers of the hypercompetitive environments and the nature of today's landscape" (p.9).

Going global is a part of being competitive for today's medium and big enterprises. Globalization in each country is actually different in terms of how the ten principles could be applied, that is why organizations do not have a series of rules or normative. Organizations count with principles; the ten principles of the UN Global Compact. Hitt et al. (2011) described that

"an international strategy is a strategy through which the firm sells its goods or services outside the domestic market" (p. 219). The use of international strategies is increasing, traditional motives includes extending the product life cycle, securing key resources, and having access to low-cost labor. This last motive may increase the possibilities of an inaccurate behavior in terms of what some companies are willing to do for profit. In contrast, a positive international


diversification point of view could facilitate innovation, programs, strategies, actions for an increase in a better quality of life of every world citizen.

An important component of today's company is the corporate image; it had been described by the Capstone Encyclopedia of Business (2003) as the way a company is perceived by those outside the company. Organizations are very clear that building, creating and molding a good corporate image would have an impact on market performance. Therefore, being subscribed to the UN Global Compact could be an interesting way to accomplish or consolidate a corporate image, but if this is the reason why a company is part of it, consequently, saying to the world that your organization is socially responsibly would not be a matter of value only profit.

Graeber (2001) has defined towards an anthropological point of view the three ways of talking about values: "values in the sociological sense, this is the conception of what is ultimately good, proper, or desirable in human life; likewise we have value in the economic sense which is the degree to which objects are desired, particularly, as measured by how much others are willing to give up to get them. Finally, the value in the linguistic sense, which goes back to the structural linguistics, and might be most simply glossed as meaningful difference" (p.2).

Actually, organizations have reached to a point where there is duality. Is it important the respect for individuals and personal values? Or is it important price and profit? The values in terms of the economy could be also part of a societal decomposition, since the term of value must always be followed by words like integrity, morality, loyalty and respect instead of market or stocks.


We have different levels to study and understand the values, according to Gale (2001) values must be study in various levels, from those shared between two individuals, and the values that shape a nation. The Encyclopedia of Applied Phycology (2004) give a better understanding to study the context that influence the individual values, as we can see in the following table:

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Studies in which values data for each nation are aggregated so that each


country's data become a single data point.


Studies in which variations in values between individuals within a


population are examined.


A continuum summarizing the relative endorsement of values or value


types that contrasts some value types with other value types.


Abstract generalized beliefs about desirable goals and about ways of

achieving those goals.

Value type

A group of individual values shown empirically to cluster together.

Table 2. Level Values Glossary

Source: Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology (2004)

In the present research it is clearly important to recognized individual values, according to the Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology (2004) Rokeach Schwartz, "reasoned that the basic human values likely to be found in all cultures are those that represent universal requirements of


human existence (biological needs, requisites of coordinated social interaction, and demands of group functioning) as conscious goals". Drawing on the values identified by previous researchers and writers, Schwartz grouped them into the following motivationally distinct value types:

Power: related with a social status, dominance over people and resources

Achievement: value associated with personal success according to social and own standards.

Hedonism: connection to the pleasure or sensuous gratification

Stimulation: capacity of excitement and novelty

Self-direction: independence of thought and action

Universalism: understanding, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of all people and nature

Benevolence: preserving and enhancing the welfare of people to whom one is close

Tradition: respect and commitment to cultural or religious customs and ideas

Conformity: restraint of actions and impulses that may harm others and violate social expectations

Security: safety and stability of society, relationships, and self

Schwartz has summarized this 10 values intro a circle where he represents Openness to Change (including self-direction and stimulation) versus Conservation (security, conformity, and tradition) and Self-Enhancement (power and achievement) versus Self-Transcendence (universalism and benevolence). Hedonism includes elements of both Openness to Change and Self-Enhancement as we can appreciate in the next figure.


Figure 1. Schwartz's value types.


This theoretical framework tries to recognize that the core of individual values, are connected with the organizational values and they are a part of a socially responsible context that impulses the ten principles of the UN Global Compact.



The ten principles of the UN Global Compact are not a handbook, its fulfillment is not mandatory, but to not follow them in many cases could constitute a law violation depending on the legal context of the region or nation. Therefore, these principles are part of a philosophy and a guideline for the socially responsible leaders. The ten principles seem to be oriented towards companies, but it is a wicked vision. A real value is founded as a solid structure in the psychology and actions of an individual, and consequently in families, groups, societies and countries. When its level of strength is reached the principle emerges.

When the individual values exist then the organizational values could exist too, since the organizational values are established by individuals. Organizations have also intrinsic values, because money does not provide sufficient justification for business to exist, that is the point where companies must understand that they are part of a major system, that are interacting with the community, society, economy, and so on. Thinking about companies as a separate and isolate element is totally wrong, working towards the principle that organizations are part of a major system and interacts in its dynamics; this is a key point in a social responsible corporation. When an organization reaches the global value level, the next step could always be to embrace the ten principles of the UN Global Compact. The next graph provides notions about how a dynamic of values should be in other to obtain a real compromise from the companies around the world.

The following diagram represents a structure of values based on the principles of the UN Global Compact. It describes as an interaction of values: individual , family, cultural, corporate and global.


Figure 2.Value interaction diagram Simoza (2013)

The first level is the individual value, which would be the characteristic that make us incorruptible and unbreakable, then we can find a second level, which is family as an institution and all the values that we learn from its dynamics and how we are educated. The cultural, social and country values constitute the third stage, this are the common values that embedded regions and nations. Moreover, we have the value corporation the represents the level where the organization is assembled like a psychological entity and therefore establishes its core values. Why the corporate values are in a superior position than the cultural values? Why not at the same level? The graphic is constructed only in function of positioning the philosophy of the ten


principles, in other circumstances, the scale could work differently. The values of the country go first because it is compound of citizens with all its characteristics that go into groups forming the organization with pre-established value. The higher level in this dynamic will be the global value. The organization reaches these values when they understand that they form a part of a major system that needs to grow in function of common development.

What is a real socially responsible corporation? This is not an organization that is planning or taking some actions to take care of the society and the environment because this is actually a trend, and it would help them to position the company in order to have a good image in front of its customers and the environment. Instead of that, the correct answer should be that industries are going socially responsible because they understand that its companies are part of the world and nobody can see the human precariousness with indifference. To generate a global change major changes are needed. The commitment to society and the environment is an engagement with the good values and to put the values in front of anything, it does not matter its level (individual, corporate, global, etc.) is matter of stem and respect. To embrace the ten principles of the UN Global Compact, the world needs to have a real socially responsible assessment erected by human values. A failure in the system presented in Figure 2 is equivalent of a child being abused, a pole that melts or in a corruption action that remains unpunished.


There are numerous challenges and opportunities presented to corporate leaders by the UN Global Compact. The ten principles established by the United Nations are an awareness and impulse to create a network of changes and empowering enterprises to be responsible on its activities. A good corporate leader makes its employees follow the cause by open a landscape of


actions. One of the major challenges that the United Nations confront is the measurement of the performance of its principles and agreements, but the reality to a corporate leader is that the examples and the actions are the key to create a socially responsible environment. The major challenge of an organizational leader is to become in an element of catalysis for participating in the global movement for a better home to the planet citizens. An enterprise leader does not only have the importunity to impact on its organization, but in the society and other companies. The major opportunity that corporate leaders have is the power to chance. Good leaders must create a network that allows a redesign that permits the exponentiation of global changes.

Actually, the United Nations and the world are seen different types of organizations and leaders: The small group that has already started the change, the groups that simulate a change to stabilize a brand and generate profits, the groups that are deciding whether to take action for change or not, the organizations that remain inert in front the global alarms and finally companies that promote anti-principles. A day without actions to improve our environment can be the equivalent of many actions to remedy the damage.

The strengthening of human, family, cultural, corporate and global values is the key to the transformation. There is a path for the change and progress that every resident of this planet deserves and each individual has the same amount of responsibility. Global changes should start with the re-composition of values. If the humanity joins forces then the world will be incorruptible.