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The Influence of Collegiate and Corporate Codes of Conduct on Ethics-Related Behavior in the Workplace

Donald L. McCabe, Linda Klebe Trevino and Kenneth D. Butterfield
Business Ethics Quarterly
Vol. 6, No. 4 (Oct., 1996), pp. 461-476
DOI: 10.2307/3857499
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3857499
Page Count: 16
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The Influence of Collegiate and Corporate Codes of Conduct on Ethics-Related Behavior in the Workplace
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Abstract

Codes of conduct are viewed here as a community's attempt to communicate its expectations and standards of ethical behavior. Many organizations are implementing codes, but empirical support for the relationship between such codes and employee conduct is lacking. We investigated the long term effects of a collegiate honor code experience as well as the effects of corporate ethics codes on unethical behavior in the workplace by surveying alumni from an honor code and a non-honor code college who now work in business. We found that self-reported unethical behavior was lower for respondents who work in an organization with a corporate code of conduct and was inversely associated with corporate code implementation strength and embeddedness. Self-reported unethical behavior was also influenced by the interaction of a collegiate honor code experience and corporate code implementation strength.

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