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Ethical Codes of Conduct and Organizational Context: A Study of the Relationship between Codes of Conduct, Employee Behavior and Organizational Values

Mark John Somers
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 30, No. 2 (Mar., 2001), pp. 185-195
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25074490
Page Count: 11
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Ethical Codes of Conduct and Organizational Context: A Study of the Relationship between Codes of Conduct, Employee Behavior and Organizational Values
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Abstract

Codes of ethics are being increasingly adopted in organizations worldwide, yet their effects on employee perceptions and behavior have not been thoroughly addressed. This study used a sample of 613 management accountants drawn from the United States to study the relationship between corporate and professional codes of ethics and employee attitudes and behaviors. The presence of corporate codes of ethics was associated with less perceived wrongdoing in organizations, but not with an increased propensity to report observed unethical behavior. Further, organizations that adopted formal codes of ethics exhibited value orientations that went beyond financial performance to include responsibility to the commonweal. In contrast to corporate codes of ethics, professional codes of ethical conduct had no influence on perceived wrongdoing in organization nor these codes affect the propensity to report observed unethical activities.

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