Harnessing Multidimensional Legitimacy for Codes of Ethics: A Staged Approach

Hugh Edmond Breakey
Griffith University
How can codes of ethics acquire legitimacy—that is, how can they lay down obligations that will be seen by their subjects as morally binding? There are many answers to this question, reflecting the fact that moral agents have a host of different bases on which they may acknowledge code duties as ethically binding—or, alternatively, may reject those duties as morally irrelevant or actively corrupt. Drawing on a wide literature on legitimacy in other practical fields, this paper develops a multidimensional legitimacy framework, describing ten distinct sources of legitimacy. It illustrates how these sources can be seized, not only by the code’s content, but by opportunities presented in the main stages of code development, adoption and implementation. In so doing, it aims to provide practical resources for code developers and ethics reformers in organizations and industries to avoid critical missteps, and to maximize the impact and efficacy of their work.
Keywords code of ethics  legitimacy  code development  business ethics  professional ethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10551-019-04270-0
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 44,455
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Legitimacy of Global Governance Institutions.Allen Buchanan & Robert O. Keohane - 2006 - Ethics and International Affairs 20 (4):405-437.
Two Treatises of Government.John Locke - 1966 - Philosophical Quarterly 16 (65):365.

View all 33 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Kantian Approach to Codes of Ethics.Jacquie L'Etang - 1992 - Journal of Business Ethics 11 (10):737 - 744.
Corporate Codes of Ethics.Leonard J. Brooks - 1989 - Journal of Business Ethics 8 (2-3):117 - 129.
A Classification Scheme for Codes of Business Ethics.Bruce R. Gaumnitz & John C. Lere - 2004 - Journal of Business Ethics 49 (4):329-335.


Added to PP index

Total views
2 ( #1,274,046 of 2,272,594 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #564,953 of 2,272,594 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature