The objective of this paper is to examine the ‘Code of Ethics Quality’ (CEQ) in the largest companies of Australia, Canada and the United States. For this purpose, a proposed CEQ construct has been applied. It appears from the empirical findings that while Australia, Canada and the United States are extremely similar in their economic and social development, there may well be distinct cultural mores and issues that are forming their business ethics practices. A research implication derived from the performed (...) research is that the construct provides a selection of observable and measurable elements in the context of CEQ. The construct of CEQ consists of nine measures divided into two dimensions (i.e. staff support and regulation). They should not be seen as a complete list. On the contrary, it is encouraged that others propose and elaborate revisions and extensions. A practical implication of this paper is a structure of what and how to examine the CEQ in a managerial setting. It may assist companies in their efforts to establish, maintain and improve their ethical culture, norms and beliefs within the organization and supporting them in their ethical business practices with different stakeholders in the marketplace and society. The dimensions and measures of the construct may be used as a frame of reference for further research. They may be useful and applicable across contexts and over time using similar samples when it comes to large companies, as small- or medium-sized ones may not have considered all areas nor have the elements in place. This is a research limitation, but it provides an opportunity for further research. (shrink)
Recent figures reported by KPMG confirm the growing prevalence of corporate codes of ethics globally. Svensson et al. (Bus Ethics 18:389–407, 2009 ) in surveys of the largest corporations in Australia, Canada, and Sweden found a similar trend. The increased prevalence of corporate codes of ethics has been accompanied by heightened research interest in various aspects of these documents, e.g., the contents and focus of the codes. However, there is a paucity of research examining the effectiveness of these documents and (...) the organizational infrastructure that accompany them. This study, based on a survey of Canada’s largest corporations, sought to empirically assess the determinants of the effectiveness of corporate codes of ethics by regressing managers’ perceptions of code effectiveness against various elements of ethics programs. It was found that, in a statistically significant model, eighteen independent variables explain 58.5% of the variance in the perceived effectiveness of corporate codes of ethics. (shrink)
This study uses a specific method to analyze the contents of the codes of ethics of the largest corporations in Australia, Canada and Sweden and compares the findings of similar content analyses in 2002 and 2006. It tracks changes in code contents across the three nations over the 2002–2006 period. There were statistically significant changes in the codes of the three countries from 2002 to 2006: the Australian and Canadian codes becoming more prescriptive, intensifying the differences between these and the (...) Swedish codes. The contents of these codes and the nature of the changes they have undergone over time are culturally driven: Australia's and Canada's reflecting their similar cultural profiles and Sweden's reflecting its differences from these countries on organizationally relevant cultural dimensions. The study reveals that corporate codes of ethics are living documents as reflected by the significant longitudinal changes in the frequencies of mention of several of the 60 items underpinning the content analysis of the codes of ethics. Consequently, and in light of their growing prevalence and importance as instruments of corporate governance, they should not be treated as static but as dynamic documents that are subject to various environmental factors. The clear implication of the findings of this study is that for corporate codes of ethics ‘one size does not fit all’ and that these instruments must be carefully monitored and revised to reflect changing conditions. (shrink)
The objective of this study is to test the embeddedness of codes of ethics (ECE) in organizations on aggregated data from three countries, namely Australia, Canada and the United States. The properties of four constructs of ECE are described and tested, including surveillance/training, internal communication, external communication and guidance. The data analysis shows that the model has satisfactory fit, validity and reliability. Furthermore, the results are fairly consistent when tested on each of the three samples (i.e. cross-national validation). This cross-national (...) study makes a contribution beyond previous descriptive or exploratory studies by using confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling. Nevertheless, a number of limitations are raised, all of which provide opportunities for further research in refining, extending and testing the proposed ECE model in other cultural and corporate settings. (shrink)
The objective of this paper is to develop and describe a construct of the ethos of the corporate codes of ethics (i.e. an ECCE construct) across three countries, namely Australia, Canada and Sweden. The introduced construct is rather unique as it is based on a cross-cultural sample seldom seen in the literature. While the outcome of statistical analyses indicated a satisfactory factor solution and acceptable estimates of reliability measures, some research limitations have been stressed. They provide a foundation for further (...) research in the field and testing of the ECCE construct in other cultural and corporate settings. We believe that the ECCE construct makes a contribution to theory and practice in the field as it outlines a theoretical construct for the benefit of other researchers. It is also of managerial interest as it provides a grounded framework of areas to be considered in the implementation in organizations of corporate codes of ethics. (shrink)
This paper examines the implementation, communication and benefits of corporate codes of ethics by the top companies operating in Australia, Canada and Sweden. It provides an international comparison across three continents. It is also based on a longitudinal approach where three national surveys were performed in 2001–2002 and replications of the same surveys were performed in 2005–2006. The empirical findings of this research show in all three countries that large organisations indicate a substantial interest in corporate codes of ethics. There (...) are, however, differences in the ways that the companies in each country implement and communicate their corporate codes of ethics and the benefits that they see being derived from them. The longitudinal comparison between 2001–2002 and 2005–2006 indicates changes in the implementation, communication and benefits of corporate codes of ethics in the three countries. (shrink)
Based on the 'Partnership Model of Corporate Ethics' (Wood, 2002), this study examines the ethical structures and processes that are put in place by organizations to enhance the ethical business behavior of staff. The study examines the use of these structures and processes amongst the top companies in the three countries of Australia, Canada, and Sweden over two time periods (2001–2002 and 2005–2006). Subsequendy, a combined comparative and longitudinal approach is applied in the study, which we contend is a unique (...) approach in the area of business ethics. The findings of the study indicate that corporations operating in Sweden have utilized ethical structures and processes differently than their Canadian and/or Australian counterparts, and that in each culture the way that companies fashion their approach to business ethics appears congruent with their national cultural values. There does, however, appear to be a convergence of views within the organizations of each culture, as the Swedish companies appear to have been more influenced in 2005–2006 by an Anglo-Saxon business paradigm than they have been in the past. (shrink)
This paper compares the findings of content analyses of the corporate codes of ethics of Canada’s largest corporations in 1992 and 2003. For both years, a modified version of a technique used in several other studies was used to determine and categorize the contents of the codes. It was found, inter alia, that, in 2003, as in 1992, more of the codes were concerned with conduct against the firm than with conduct on behalf of the firm. Among the changes from (...) 1992 to 2003 were a significant increase in the frequency of mention of environmental affairs, legal responsibility as the basis of codes and enforcement/compliance procedures. (shrink)
The end of the cold war has elevated environmental issues to the highest level of concern for humanity while creating a world order dominated by the United States of America and other Western nations. This new power structure may likely lead to increased business activity in many parts of the world, as nations formerly preoccupied with the cold war turn their attention to economic development. This paper examines the linkages among ethics, economic development and protection and restoration of the environment (...) in The New World Order. (shrink)
This paper primarily reports the findings of content analyses of seventy-five codes of ethics ofFinancial Post 500 corporations. The contents of each code were comprehensively evaluated along sixty-one criteria according to four levels. It was found that the focus of these codes was the protection of the firm. While some of them refer to issues of social responsibility, they are principally concerned with conduct against the firm.
Business ethics has been described as a prime academic growth industry. This paper reports the findings of a survey aimed at establishing the status of ethics in the curricula of Canadian Schools of Management and Administrative Studies. It was found that twenty-three of the forty-two responding schools offer courses in business ethics and that they offer a total of twenty-five ethics courses, twenty of which are offered as electives. Forty-two percent of the schools not offering a course in business ethics (...) plan to offer such a course by 1989. This means that by 1989 seventy-four percent of the responding schools should have a business ethics component in their curricula. (shrink)
The annual production of hazardous wastes which was less than 10 million metric tonnes in the 1940s is now in excess of 320 million metric tonnes. These wastes are, in the main, by-products of industrial processes that have contributed significantly to the economic development of many countries which, in turn, has led to lifestyles that also generate hazardous wastes. The phenomenal increase in the generation of hazardous wastes coupled with various barriers to local disposal has led to the thriving international (...) trade in these environmentally hazardous substances. This paper examines the nature of the international trade in hazardous wastes and the ethical issues associated with such business activity. (shrink)
Thallium Sulphate is one of the most lethal chemicals known. Its commercial use has been banned in the West and in many Third World countries. However, it recently came to light that the Guyana Sugar Corporation was importing large amounts of the substance and that this has led to acute and chronic poisoning of many Guyanese. This paper examines this case and discusses its ethical implications.