Why code of conduct violations go unreported: A conceptual framework to guide intervention and future research [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 57 (4):327 - 341 (2005)
. The ability to enforce the provisions of a code of conduct influences whether the code is effective in shaping behavior. Enforcement relies in part on the willingness of organization members to report violations of the code, but research from the business and educational environment suggests that fewer than half of those who observe code violations follow their organizations procedures for reporting them. Based on a review of the literature in the business and educational environments, and a survey of 3605 students at a mid-sized comprehensive university, this paper attempts to make conceptual sense of the non-reporting phenomenon. We present a conceptual framework based on four distinct factors which we have labeled: (1) factual non-responsibility; (2) moral non-responsibility; (3) consequential exoneration; and, (4) functional exoneration. Each of these factors suggest a different remedial strategy as well as provide a theoretical foundation for future research. Testable propositions for future research are developed, and some implications for organization leaders are discussed.
Keywords code of conduct  enforcement  reporting misconduct
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