What's in a credo? A critique of the academy of management's code of ethical conduct and code of ethics

Journal of Business Ethics 85 (4):515 - 525 (2009)
The Academy of Management formally adopted a Code of Ethical Conduct in 1990. During the subsequent 15 years, almost nothing had been published about it and its value as a formal document meant to guide professional practice. Rather surprisingly then, in December 2005 an entirely new Code of Ethics was introduced by the Academy’s Board, to take effect in February 2006. Why was a new code promulgated? More broadly, what do the contents of these codes, the processes of their promulgation, and their expressed purposes, suggest about the value of such codes for similarly situated professional associations, in general? This article seeks to identify key strengths and weaknesses of the original code, begin an assessment of the potential value of the new code, and so stimulate debate. Further, not only is this a call to the members of the Academy to engage in some thoughtful debate and possible amendment of its new code, but also a caution to all such associations to take seriously the hurdles that must be jumped before any code can be developed and promulgated to worthwhile effect.
Keywords Academy of Management  code of conduct  code of ethics  ethics
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