Universal moral values for corporate codes of ethics

Journal of Business Ethics 59 (1-2):27 - 44 (2005)
Abstract
How can one establish if a corporate code of ethics is ethical in terms of its content? One important first step might be the establishment of core universal moral values by which corporate codes of ethics can be ethically constructed and evaluated. Following a review of normative research on corporate codes of ethics, a set of universal moral values is generated by considering three sources: (1) corporate codes of ethics; (2) global codes of ethics; and (3) the business ethics literature. Based on the convergence of the three sources of standards, six universal moral values for corporate codes of ethics are proposed including: (1) trustworthiness; (2) respect; (3) responsibility; (4) fairness; (5) caring; and (6) citizenship. Relying on the proposed set of universal moral values, implications are discussed as to what the content of corporate codes of ethics should consist of. The paper concludes with its limitations.
Keywords codes of ethics  normative research  corporations  universal moral values  code content
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