Professional ethics and the culture of trust

Journal of Business Ethics 17 (4):391 - 409 (1998)
Abstract
The cause of ethical failure in organisations often can be traced to their organisational culture and the failure on the part of the leadership to actively promote ethical ideals and practices. This is true of all types of organisations, including the professions, which in recent years have experienced ongoing ethical problems. The questions naturally arise: what sort of professional culture promotes ethical behaviour? How can it be implemented by a profession and engendered in the individual professional? The answers to these questions are of interest to business ethicists since the causes of ethical problems in business are often the same and the professions, as ethically challenged organisations, make useful and informative analogues for the measures to be adopted or avoided when the attempt is made to raise the ethical standards of business.Given this focus on the professions, it will be argued that the usual, direct attempts to control unethical behaviour by using codes of ethics, legislation and self-regulatory regimes, are not successful.
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