Corporate ethical policies in large corporations in argentina, Brazil and Spain

Journal of Business Ethics 63 (1):21 - 38 (2006)
Abstract
This paper examines the status of Corporate Ethical Policies (CEP) in large companies in Argentina, Brazil and Spain, with a special emphasis on Corporate Ethics Statements (CES), documents that define the firms’ philosophy, values and norms of conduct. It is based on a survey of the 500 largest companies in these nations. The findings reveal many similarities between these countries. Among other things, it emerges that most companies give consideration to ethics in business and have adopted some kind of formal or informal ethical policies. Regardless of whether or not they have a CES, companies agree that ethical conduct must be taken into account when selecting, appraising and promoting personnel as an important ethical policy. There is a growing tendency to draw up formal corporate ethics documents. These documents are perceived, first and foremost, as supporting the development of corporate culture. Most respondents believe that primary responsibility for ethical issues in the company rests with the CEO. Finally, the findings indicate that most companies that devote more resources to communicating and implementing CESs have two or more formal ethics documents. The main differences between the countries included in the study concern the emphasis given to specific aspects, such as avoiding misconduct or taking ethical criteria into account when selecting personnel. The emphasis is greatest in countries where corruption seems most prevalent.
Keywords codes of conduct  values statement  business ethics policy  institutionalization of business ethics  Argentina  Brazil  Spain
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