When in Rome (or Manila …): Where Business, Law and Ethics Meet

Author: Ralf Mehnert-Meland, J.D.
Publisher: International Journal of Instructional Cases


Volume 2 (2018)


On a business trip to the Philippines, Ben was invited by his Asian business associates to an evening of entertainment, including something “typically Asian”. After dinner, the men ended up in a brothel. Unbeknownst to Ben, the purpose of the visit was an evening of karaoke singing. It was also clear that “other services” were included at each participant’s own discretion. The students should assess Ben’s situation and decisions from legal, ethical and business perspectives.


Business; Law; Ethics; International Business; International Etiquette

Target Audience and Usage

This teaching note is suitable for students at the undergraduate level. It focuses on adult audiences in business law, international law and ethics courses. The case is best introduced in the middle of a teaching term after general legal and ethical concepts have been discussed. As the case deals with potentially unfamiliar issues, such as prostitution and cultural differences, that may be considered somewhat uncomfortable especially to audiences in the United States, it can set the stage for a relevant and more eye-opening discussion. This is a good example of introducing a real-world business event and legal and ethical issues with which students may find themselves confronted during their lives and business careers.

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