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Journal of Business Ethics (2007) 75:253271 DOI 10.

1007/s10551-006-9251-x

Springer 2007

An Inquiry into the Study of Corporate Codes of Ethics

Sven Helin m Johan Sandstro

ABSTRACT. This paper takes its point of departure in an article by Stevens [Stevens, B.: 1994, Journal of Business Ethics 54, 163171], in which she identied a lack of knowledge regarding how corporate codes of ethics are communicated and affect behavior in organizations. Taking heed of this suggested gap, we review studies on corporate codes of ethics with an empirical content, published since 1994. The conclusion of the review is that we still lack knowledge on how codes work, how they are communicated and how they are transformed inside organizations. Stevens plea could even be extended, arguing that the knowledge gap might be of even more signicance than in the mid-1990s. Some directions for how this situation can be approached in future studies are outlined in the paper. KEY WORDS: code, empirical studies, ethics, literature review

Introduction Enron, Worldcom, Skandia, Parmalat and Elf are examples of what the former Volvo and Skandia
Sven Helin is Assistant Professor in management accounting at rebro the Department of Business Studies (ESI), O University (Sweden). He holds a Ph.D. from Uppsala University (Sweden). His main teaching and research focus is on management accounting and business ethics. Together with m, he is since 2005 working on a project on Johan Sandstro corportate codes of ethics in Swedish-based large corporations, nanced by the Swedish Council for Work Life and Social Science. m is Senior Lecturer in organization and manJohan Sandstro rebro agement at the Department of Business Studies (ESI), O School of University (Sweden). He holds a Ph.D. from Umea University (Sweden). His Business and Economics, Umea main teaching and research focus is on leadership and organization, corporate sustainability and business ethics.

director Pehr G Gyllenhammar (2003) calls a series of sensational blunders in the international business community. Top managers are appointed because they know their organizations and if they do not they should resign. But it seems in vain, he continues, to try to convert sinners to more ethical behavior through trust and ethics commissions, or through implementing ethical rules or corporate codes of ethics (CCEs). This, he concludes, is a slippery slope. Slippery or not, corporations worldwide are developing and implementing CCEs, dened by Schwartz (2001, p. 248) as a written, distinct and formal document which consists of moral standards used to guide employee or corporate behaviour.1 Kaptein (2004) also shows that of the two hundred largest corporations in the world, 52.5% have some sort of ethical code. Schwartz (2001, p. 248), taking a more sweeping turn at the eld, simply states codes are now prevalent, have come at some expense, and are used for a variety of reasons. The idea of such a code, as well as the idea that such a code could prevent and impede unethical behavior (which is challenged by Gyllenhammar), is not a new one. In an article published in 1924, Graves concludes that: The code of ethics is not a cure-all, and it possesses no magic powers by which it can change moral darkness into light, but it is an effective instrument which now contributes much, and which, with proper use, can be made to contribute much more, to the cause of truth and honor in business relationships (Graves, 1924, p. 59). Almost eight decades later, the Enron corporation conrmed the tensions in CCE work: while continuing to use three different sets of accounts, [the company] also gave its four page ethical codes to all new employees to sign on their rst day (Hemingway and Maclagan, 2004, p. 35). Similar circumstances were evident in a recent scandal in

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m Sven Helin and Johan Sandstro She also called for research focusing on the effects of ethical codes in organizations in order to gain knowledge on how codes are communicated and how they work as transformational tools. With a bias towards organizational communication, holding codes as messages, she claimed that: Studies focusing on the effectiveness of codes are needed. Do they work? Also, are the codes communicated in meaningful ways? Are employees aware of their organizations ethical code and accepting of its guiding principles? (Stevens, 1994, p. 68). In this paper we take heed of this gap identied by Stevens more then a decade ago and set forth the question of where are we now?. More specically, and rstly, the main question we set out to investigate in this paper is whether the knowledge gap has been targeted by scholars at all and if so, how? We explore this question predominantly by carrying out a review of empirically oriented studies on CCEs from the last decade, mapping the knowledge interests and the body of knowledge on how these codes work. In the paper, we categorize the reviewed studies based on their main orientation, that is, whether they are content oriented (what is in the actual codes), output oriented (what effects on behavior they have) or transformation oriented (how the codes are coming into practice or not in the organization). Following Stevens, content studies would not be seen as lling the gap identied, whereas analyses of transformation processes would be related to lling the gap. Output analyses would, simply put, be held as somewhere in between. Secondly, Stevens plea also invites the use of different theoretical perspectives more open and sensitive to qualitative and behavioral aspects of the CCE processes. In this regard, the body of business ethics literature has during the last decade offered several alternative theoretical frameworks for the study of ethics in organizations in order to encourage scholarly interaction with the issues raised by Stevens (Argandon a, 2004; Casell et al., 1997; Dillard and Yuthas, 2002; Nicholson, 1994). Partly in extension to Stevens, we therefore argue that it is also essential to identify what kind of theoretical ideas or assumptions have been used when conducting the empirical research. Our focus on ideas or assumptions rather then explicit theory is motivated by the fact that a theoretical framework is not always explicit in the articles on CCEs.

Sweden involving the insurance company Skandia, in which top management rewarded themselves with additional bonuses worth more then 350 million dollars (Nachemson-Ekwall and Carlsson, 2004). Unfortunately, Enron and Skandia are only two out of many examples of unethical (in the former case also criminal) activities in the business community. In other words, echoing Gyllenhammar as well as several studies on this topic (c.f. Schwartz, 2000; Schwartz, 2001; Snell et al., 1999), placing too much faith in the cause-and-effect relationship between the establishment of a code and more ethical behavior might be misleading. It might also enforce more of a reductionist view of an implementation process that is highly complex. The ethical domain seems to be more multicolored than this. Therefore, the question of how new or reworked codes of ethics are related to the creation of more ethical managers and co-workers, and in the end more ethical companies, still seems to haunt scholars in business ethics (Adams et al., 2001; Cassell et al., 1997; Schwartz, 2001; Stevens, 1994, 2004).

A knowledge gap More than a decade ago, Stevens (1994) set out to address the question of whether we had learned what we needed to know about CCEs. Albeit a rhetorical question to some extent, Stevens reply was no. She concluded that most studies were based on content analyses and that previous research lacked information on how the codes were communicated in the organization. There was also a lack of solid evidence on whether the codes were effective or not. Hence, within this body of knowledge there was still an evident knowledge gap on whether corporations behaved more ethically in terms of being socially responsible, avoiding corruption, and so on, as a result of implementing a code of ethics. In light of what had been done until the early 1990s, Stevens therefore took on the question of where do we go from here? In her paper she argued we need to explore the more exegetic aspects of these texts and analyze their messages more rhetorically rather than relying so heavily on content analysis (Stevens, 1994, p. 68).

Study of Corporate Codes of Ethics Thirdly, and closely related to the issue of theoretical assumptions, several scholars (Nicholson, 1994; Schwartz, 2001; Stevens, 1994) have called for a variety of research methods in order to more fully understand how CCEs work in organizations. We therefore hold that it is also vital to identify the methodologies relied upon in past empirical studies. Methodology in this case includes the specic research methods used when collecting the data (the question of how). For example, do the authors rely upon case studies based on unstructured in-depth interviews or on surveys with multiple-choice questionnaires? Methodology, in our analyses, also addresses the issue of where the empirical material has been collected for the specic study.

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Only papers addressing CCEs in business organizations were included Studies exclusively dealing with codes for a specic professional group or association (such as human resource managers, information systems specialists, accountants, etc.), public organizations, or NGOs, were excluded, as well as explicit studies on mission and value statements. For example, Chonko et al.s (2003) study on ethics code familiarity and usefulness has not been accounted for in this review as it targets a code of ethics that was common to all companies involved (p. 240). The code was a professional association related code. The same goes for their article on the impact of ethics code familiarity on manager behavior (Wotruba et al., 2001). Another case is the article by Cleek and Leonard (1998) on whether CCEs can inuence behavior. This paper was not included in the review as it had business students as its empirical base. Most likely, some of these students were working parallel to their studies and some had professional experience before entering university studies, but these connections were too weak for us to consider it an empirical investigation into the reality and perception of CCEs in business practice. However, Boo and Kohs (2001) investigation of 400 MBA students in Singapore is included in the review as most of these students were employed as middle managers. Further, we have not included studies that have CCEs as merely one part, or one factor, of their investigation. This is admittedly a gray area. In some cases, CCEs are just mentioned as a part of an ethics control package (c.f. Weaver et al., 1999a, b, c), but not studied explicitly. In other cases, the CCEs focus could at most be considered weak (c.f. Alderson and Kakabadse, 1994; Graaand et al., 2003). These cases have not been subjected to the review. Only papers containing empirical material have been reviewed This means that only studies relying upon materials from employees or managers in companies, or from companies statements and reports, were included. Conceptual papers were not included in the review. After the papers were subjected to the abstract review, about 80 were held for a closer examination

The structure of the paper In delivering on these three purposes, the paper is structured as follows. It begins by accounting for the methodological aspects behind the paper. This is followed by a review of studies on CCEs published since 1994. In our discussion, we attempt to frame the eld of empirical CCE studies and their reliance on theory and method. In the analysis, we single out those articles relying upon content analysis and those focusing on output and transformation. The paper summarizes the contributions of the content studies as well as of the output and transformation studies, respectively. In conclusion, the three purposes are answered and some directions for future code studies are outlined. Research methodology Our review consists of papers in relevant international peer reviewed journals during the period of 1994 to mid-2005, i.e., the years following Stevens (1994) article. In order to search and select articles, the search tool ABI/Inform was used. ABI/Inform covers journals from the most well-known publishers (Wiley & Sons, Emerald, Elsevier, Ideal, Kluwer, Springer, Karger, Sage). The keywords used in our database searches were code of ethics and code of conduct (code AND ethics OR conduct). The abstracts of the papers from our searches were then scanned based on the following two criteria.

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m Sven Helin and Johan Sandstro ethics. Their conclusions, based on an implicit institutional perspective, are that the codes are remarkably similar and predominantly focus on conduct towards the rm rather than on issues of social responsibility. In the same vein, Farrel and Cobbin (1996a) examined and compared codes in Australian and US companies, noticing that codes in both Australia and the US were predominantly inward-looking to the enterprise and protective, which offers a low level of precise ethical guidance. Based on the same sample, Farrel and Cobbin (1996b) sent out a questionnaire to those companies with CCEs in order to map the mainstream of CCE practice. The study shows a gap between managements intentions and expressions of ethical culture and practice in terms of ethics training, ethics committee, use of codes etc. In another Australian study, Wood (2000) compares CCEs in Australian business companies to CCEs in the US and Canada. He found that US corporations inuence codes in Australian rms, but that there are also some differences. Australian CCEs rely less on internal and external watchdogs, primarily explained by the different business cultures in the countries investigated. In a closely related study, Singh et al. (2005) compare CCEs in Australia, Canada and Sweden. Australian and Canadian CCEs were similar, explained, in terms of Hofstedes dimensions, as reecting the similar culture and history. On the other hand, the codes in Swedish corporations were in some areas very different from corporate codes in Canada and Australia, which was also explained in terms of cultural differences between the countries investigated. In their study of 75 multinational companies in Canada, Germany and the U.K., Bondy et al. (2004) surveyed the companies web pages in order to nd the ofcial motives behind the code of conduct from a CSRperspective. Some differences between companies from the different countries were observed, but the overall conclusion was that codes may be used primarily for self-regulation, and not necessarily for CSR (p. 467). Companies operating on the international market, multinational or transnational corporations, also seem to be of particular interest for CCE scholars. Carasco and Singh (2003) examine CCEs in a sample of the 50 largest transnational corporations in order to nd out in which direction global business ethics is heading and which themes of ethics codication

and 38 survived to the nal stage (see table in appendix). Below we begin our review by accounting for the content studies and then proceed to the other two categories.

Content-oriented studies A particular emphasis on content analysis is evident in the reviewed studies. Among these studies, a handful of themes are identied. For example, several studies focus on country-specic features in the codes or international characteristics. Others target industry-specic issues or specic issues like bribery, liability prevention and global business citizenship. It is also clear that, for example, surveybased methodology is more common than case study methodology. Among those studies focusing on country- or noncountry-specic features, codes in an explicit country are mapped and in some studies also compared. In several papers, Snell and colleagues analyze a study of CCEs in Hong Kong before the transition to China (Snell and Herndon, 2000, 2004; Snell et al., 1999). As one part of the study, they analyze 41 companies CCEs (Snell et al., 1999) and conclude that the major themes in the codes were bribery, extortion, conict of interests and use of insider information. In other words, mainly issues concerning the protection of the company and not any broader aspects of corporate responsibility. The primary motive was corporate self-defense. Also, no explicit theoretical explanation was addressed. In order to take structural measures of business ethics in private corporations, Brytting (1997) conducted a survey on 573 ethically active companies in Sweden. Structural measures, according to Brytting, were based on the presence of a CCE, an ethical committee, ethical ofcers and ethical training. About 46% of the companies argued that they have constructed such a moral support structure. Based on institutional underpinnings, Brytting indicates that the CCEs role in creating a positive image, i.e., window-dressing, is a strong explanatory factor behind the high rate of ethically active companies in Sweden. Several studies also compare codes in different countries. Lefebvre and Singh (1996) compare the content of Canadian and American corporate codes of

Study of Corporate Codes of Ethics are used in global business. Out of the collected 32 codes, the analysis shows that the codes are concerned with conduct both on behalf of the rm and towards the rm, but that the latter plays a larger role in the codes. The codes also show a clear correlation between private and public rule-making. Following the same line of reasoning, Kaptein (2004) conducted a survey over the 200 largest companies in the world and found that 52.5% have a formal business code. Three types of codes were distinguished, the stakeholder statute, the values statement and the code of conduct. Codes refer to general norms and differ in terms of what is included and excluded, i.e., they do not employ opposing norms. The general picture of studies focusing on country-specic or common CCEs is rather fragmented. On one hand, CCEs in companies in different countries have a lot in common. CCEs are similarly designed and basically carry the same message. On the other hand, theoretical underpinnings are fragmented and seldom explicit. Results from different studies are compared, but with rare notice of what theoretical underpinning the respective study was based on. Another group of studies focus on specic industries. Emmelhainz and Adams (1999) take heed of the growing concern from consumers over the apparel industrys sweatshop labor in production and goods. The study examines CCEs in companies in the apparel industry and shows that the codes lack uniformity and sub-control details, particularly in terms of monitoring and enforcement. Codes seem primarily to work as a tool for window-dressing rather than operational direction. In a closely related study, van Tulder and Kolk (2001) target CCEs in the sporting goods industry. Thirteen CCEs were collected from multinational rms as well as international organizations. The codes were analyzed and compared to CCEs in previous studies with respect to specicity and compliance mechanisms of the codes. Regarding specicity, codes in the sporting goods industry were substantially similar and more specic than codes in general (stricter in terms of qualication). This is understandable, the authors argue, due to the focus on consumer goods. On the other hand, there are differences between countries that can be understood on the basis of their home market. Regarding compliance, the instructions in the codes are weak. The major

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conclusions are normative and refer to the importance of international institutions. Both of these studies point out the role of window dressing, i.e., CCEs in the actual companies are general and more concerned about the consumer market than the producers. A couple of studies focus on codes in specic types of organizations. Preble and Hoffman (1999) study the extent to which codes of ethics in franchising organizations reect different aspects (issues), as well as the relationships between franchisors and franchisees. A survey of 24 franchise organizations worldwide was conducted (17 responded) and the major nding is that the codes cover the relationship very well. Primarily, the codes reect a narrow set of stakeholders in the network, i.e., the codes offer a practical approach for the members of the organizations. Further, the content of the codes is aspirational, but focuses more on regulatory than educational aspects. But, there are also differences between codes in different countries, which the authors explain with cultural factors. Gaumnitz and Lere (2002) ask if business professionals face common ethical problems. CCEs from 15 main business professional organizations in the US were analyzed, indicating that there seem to be common ethical themes in the codes. Issues such as condentiality, honesty, integrity, respect for the members professions, and independence, were found in at least 80% of the codes. Different kind of ethical issues are emphasized in another group of content studies. Blodgett and Carlson (1997) study CCEs from a liability prevention perspective. They collected CCEs from a small industry-specic sample (37 corporations, 27 responded) and found that CCEs are vague in motivating actors to act ethically. Further, the codes rather work as signposts in order to prohibit violation of laws. The authors point out that if the codes do not work in a proactive manner, companies run a risk of future liability. Gordon and Miyake (2001) conducted a study of how corporations ght bribery. Two hundred and forty-six CCEs were collected from rms in 24 OECD countries. The major ndings of the study show diversity in language and concepts. On the other hand, codes against bribery show a consensus on managerial approaches and procedures in ghting bribery. Both studies offer some normative managerial implications, but no

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m Sven Helin and Johan Sandstro retical assumptions hold that the CCEs together with code-supporting variables and organizational ethics lead to more effectiveness in code inuence on behavior, and they verify their assumptions in the conclusions as having signicant and positive incremental inuence on organizational ethical behavior (p. 367). Harrington (1996) examines how the CCE and the professional code of ethics for information systems employees, as well as the personal denial of responsibility, affect judgments and intentions related to computer abuse. A questionnaire was given to 219 employees in 9 companies in the US, and in regard to CCEs, the CCEs only inuenced the employees that tended to deny responsibility. That is, codes of ethics do have an effect, but they are related to only certain abuses (p. 272). Pierce and Henry (1996) survey 2551 information system professionals (response rate 14%) on how the personal, workplace and formal company codes of ethics inuence ethical decisions. Noting a difference in what people say is the important code and what code they would actually use (the personal code), the presence of a formal code does have an impact on individual ethical decisions (p. 434). In order to investigate if, how and why ethical codes inuence employee behavior, Valentine and Barnett (2002) conducted a survey of 3000 (12.7% response rate) sales professionals in organizations with and without ethical codes. Their theoretical point of departure was that CCEs contribute to ethical behavior by inuencing the perceptions employees have about the ethical values of the organizations. The result of the survey found that sales professionals in organizations with a CCE perceive their contexts as more supportive to ethical behavior than those in organizations without CCEs. This is explained as an effect of the ethical codes in the organizations. Ethical codes, the authors argue, aim at improving the perceptions of ethical values as an important business success factor. The codes, they continue, work as tools for socializing the employees into internalizing the values of the corporation. Stohs and Brannick (1999) conducted structured interviews with more than 300 managers in Irishowned corporations. They focused on the perceptions of the degree of wrongness related to a handful of ethical problems, such as unfair price, delay payments, unsafe products, etc. They found that when managers confront issues directly affecting the rms

implicit theoretical explanations are discussed. That is, the studies offer no explanation of how and why CCEs impede unethical activities. Logsdon and Wood (2005) analyze in what sense CCEs reect the theory and process of global business citizenship (GBC). Web-based codes from six global petroleum companies were used to illustrate what GBC language would look like in corporate codes of ethics. Their (normative) conclusion is that [l]anguage is important in signaling the orientation, implementation, and accountability of the company to employees and to other stakeholders. (pp. 6566).The CCE is just a rst, but important, step in establishing a company as a global business citizen. In sum, there is a signicant group of contentoriented studies on CCEs published since 1994. The overall pattern shows that codes are common in companies all over the world (cf. Kaptein, 2004) and that they also carry some common features (cf. Gordon and Miyake, 2001). Most codes are general in form and several authors argue that windowdressing rather then operational direction is the main purpose of a code (cf. Brytting, 1997; Emmelhainz and Adams, 1999; van Tulder and Kolk, 2001). On the other hand, the picture could also be seen as fragmented. The results in the studies are to some extent related, but mostly without any explicit discussions on theoretical underpinnings. Most studies rely on surveys or collections of CCEs from a number of corporations.

Output-oriented studies Among the papers categorized in the output category, most seem to lean on quantitative methodologies. They also seem to share a focus on the connections to behavior and the effectiveness of codes in inuencing behavior, as well as in key factors that might explain such potential inuence. We start off with those studies which to some extent show evidence of positive correlations between CCEs and more ethical behavior (codes are effective), and then move on to those more on the skeptical side (also the dominant side it seems). Boo and Koh (2001), with a survey of 400 MBA students in Singapore (response rate 59%), employed as top or middle managers, study the effectiveness of CCEs in promoting ethical behavior. Their theo-

Study of Corporate Codes of Ethics conduct, a code partially guides managerial thinking about ethical wrongdoing (p. 322). The codes seem to be important for setting the tone and in inuencing how managers rate wrongness. The authors also stress the idea that corporations without formal ethical codes will make decisions that are ethically inconsistent and arbitrary. Further, they also argue for the inuence of unions. In industries where the inuence of unions is pervasive, the perceptions of ethical issues are more vital. Crucial ethical issues, the authors claim, seem to be shaped by people or organizations in the context of the rm (bottom-up) rather than top-management (top-down), that is, CCEs have to correspond to general values in the organizational eld in order to affect behavior. Kaptein and Wempe (1998) to some extent make a similar argument. They show, via their case of the Dutch Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, that when a code is crafted and implemented with respect to the organizations moral code, to the practices developed within the organization (p. 855), it stands a good chance of being successful in being effective in regard to ethical behavior. Addressing the issue of self-regulation, Kolk and van Tulder (2002) pose the question of how effective corporate codes of conduct, as the most common means to express and implement social responsibility (p. 260), are in dealing with child labor. Analyzing the codes of six international garment companies, in combination with a survey of a focus group made up of both company and stakeholder representatives, the authors conclude that self-regulation indeed is considered as effective in promoting social responsibility, but that there also are dilemmas attached to this. These codes need to be strictly implemented and monitored, combined with alternative arrangements for under-age workers (p. 270). Adams et al. (2001) seem more skeptical. Based on the assumption that the interaction of individual and organizational context may better explain ethical lapses than either factor alone (p. 200), they investigate the effectiveness of codes on perception and behavior among companies with and without a code. Through structured interviews with 766 company employees (of whom 465 in companies with a code), their conclusion is that the mere presence of a code of ethics is more important than the content of the code per se and that most respondents could not recall specic features of their

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companys ethics code (p. 208). This means, in their view, that a code often plays a symbolic role. McKendall et al. (2002) use CCEs as one out of four factors in (possibly) reducing illegality in corporations. Hence, one of their hypotheses is: Companies which have well developed ethical codes will have fewer legal violations (p. 373). Basing their analysis on a survey sent to 315 companies in the US (response rate 34%), they basically fail to conrm the hypothesis on CCEs, and even raise the possibility of companies using ethical compliance programs as window dressing. Farrell et al. (2002) survey of 35 managers and 545 employees in 8 large Australian companies targets whether behavioral patterns are inuenced by a code. They conclude that the strongest ethical culture affecting behaviour in these corporations came from an external, shared environment (p. 488) and they also argue that there is a weak relation between ethical codes and behavior. Kitson (1996) focuses on how the ethical code at a British bank inuences the managers behavior. Based on interviews with 17 managers (asking hypothetical questions) and a general discussion on factors inuencing managerial behavior, he concludes within the complex and rapidly changing internal organisation of the Bank, it is difcult to establish the precise inuences which the Policy has on managerial behaviour (p. 1030). Nwachukwu and Vitell (1997, p. 757) target the extent of the inuence of organizational codes of ethics on the ethical evaluation of advertisements. With a total sample of 3000 marketing and advertising practitioners (response rate 15%), their analysis shows that there were no signicant differences in the ethical evaluation of the ads between practitioners in organizations with a formal code of ethics and those in organizations without a formal code of ethics except in one experimental condition (p. 765). Based on a survey of 700 business alumni in the US (28.9% response rate), Peterson (2002) examines if there are differences in the ethical climate in organizations with and without a code of ethics. The conclusion regarding the CCEs is that the effects of such a code on the ethical climate however, does not appear to explain why the relationship between ethical climate and ethical behavior is stronger in organizations without a code of ethics (p. 325).

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m Sven Helin and Johan Sandstro reason for compliance and self-interest headed the non-compliance category. He also discusses future research directions, arguing that corporate codes of ethics must be studied more fully and one suggestion is to add a longitudinal component when looking at decision-making prior, during and after the introduction of a code (p. 259). In sum, the main question here is: are codes effective? In responding to this, the studies seek to measure the effectiveness of codes in inuencing behavior, and there is a clear bias towards the use of surveys and snapshot research. Together, however, these studies contribute to our knowledge about CCEs, even though they represent a mixed image of the effectiveness of CCEs. That is, there still seems to be some uncertainty about whether CCEs lead to more ethical behavior.

Snell and colleagues (Snell and Herndon, 2000, 2004; Snell et al., 1999), as noted in the section on Content oriented studies, report several papers on the implementation of CCEs in Hong Kong. Their case of Hong Kong companies working with CCEs, based on surveys, content analyses and interviews, also has a clear output dimension in terms of effects on behavior. In the Snell et al. (1999) study, they conclude that: Respondents in the longitudinal study tended not to agree that conduct had improved over a seven month period which began some time after code adoption (p. 306). There were also reections on the moral development in the companies. Both Snell et al. (1999, p. 307) and Snell and Herndon (2000, p. 512) suggested that moral development even declined in the CCE adoption process. Stevens (2004), with an interest in whether ethical codes have been successful in deterring unscrupulous behaviour (p. 168), relies upon the Gallup Polls survey of Americans perceptions of US business executives. The study basically asks if codes prevent unethical behaviour and her answer is that they are important symbolic artefacts (p. 168), but that they have not done much to belay the perception that the US business executive is not very ethical (p. 163). Schwartz (2001; see also Schwartz, 2004) investigates the relationship between CCEs and the behavior of employees and managers in four large Canadian companies. He positions his article in regard to the observation that research remains inconclusive regarding the impact of codes on behaviour (p. 249) and subsequently poses the question of whether codes actually are effective in inuencing behavior. Relying on 57 interviews, Schwartz argues few respondents were able to provide specic examples of where they acted differently as a result of the codes (p. 253). The codes are common sense, the respondents could themselves decide between right and wrong. This, and the lack of ethical dilemmas constitute the reasons behind this as identied by Schwartz. The codes were not entirely useless, though. Some of the respondents did provide examples of modied behavior. In his analysis, Schwartz points at the potential of the codes lying in those areas of activity, which are grey and not black and white, (p. 253). He also lists some of the reasons for code compliance and non-compliance. The individuals personal values were the main

Transformation-oriented studies In this category, we have listed those studies that somehow focus on the adoption, or implementation, of codes. That is, studies that take an interest in what is in between the actual code and the output it seems to have on the behavior of employees and managers. As will be evident, these articles, categorized as having a transformation-orientation, direct their research interest to what to overcome when implementing a CCE. Kaptein and Wempe (1998) merge their output focus with the question of what has to be solved when developing an organizational code of ethics. Basing their discussion on their own experiences from consulting in a variety of sectors, they outline 12 Gordian knots, focusing on the process by which to come to a code (knot 1), the content of the code (knots 29) and the introduction and maintenance of the code (knots 1012). The knots are not all there are, though. Behind them lie the assumptions of the organizations ethics management. Kaptein and Wempe derive eight assumptions and then apply these on the (earlier mentioned) case study of the Schiphol Airport. The knots and the assumptions target the crafting and implementation of a code and the authors clearly emphasize the actual coding and not the code itself. Montoya and Richard (1994) compare the work with CCEs in large health care facilities and oil

Study of Corporate Codes of Ethics companies in the US. Five out of 10 oil companies had a formal CCE and three out of 10 health care organizations had a code of ethics. Basing their analysis on informal group and individual interviews, they come to the conclusion that the adoption of such codes is rarely accompanied by either a thorough development process or a system for assuring that the codes are known and used (p. 717). They even found that the health care organizations were lagging the oil companies in terms of effectively implementing an ethics code. Somers (2001) surveys 613 management accountants in the US (response rate 20%) and compares those working in organizations with and without a code, respectively. Drawing on a theoretical discussion in which contextual factors are seen as inuencing individual perceptions, he concludes that communication and reinforcement of corporate codes of ethics badly lags their adoption (p. 192) and that organizations that promote ethical behavior reap several important benets including less wrongdoing and higher levels of employee commitment (p. 194). Further, Wood and Callaghan (2003) conduct two surveys of the top 500 Australian companies, one in 1995 (response rate 53%) and one follow-up in 2001 (response rate 22%). Their main question is if the companies are implementing their codes and the answer is basically a negative, specically missing out on education, and support to employees: Companies make employees aware of the existence of codes of ethics yet, in general it would appear that although the intent is there, the procedures to facilitate the practice of business ethics in organizations operating in the Australian private sector are no better developed today than they were in 1995 (pp. 218219). In one of their papers by Snell and Herndon (2004), following the Hong Kong study cited earlier (Snell and Herndon, 2000; Snell et al., 1999), they explicitly take up the question why, trying to sort out why the companies did not use best practice in the adoption process. Based on their analysis they suggest 21 hypotheses, or possible reasons for nonimplementation of best practice recommendations (Snell and Herndon, 2004, p. 81). Among them are, for example, that the code should be based on true consultation with employees at all levels, cover relevant potential problems and issues, and be internally consistent regarding core values.

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In his 2004 article on CCEs in four large Canadian companies, Schwartz places more emphasis on the crafting and implementation of the code. Still with a focus on code effectiveness, he argues that the views of actual users of codes of ethics help to shed light on which elements of code content, creation, implementation, and administration are deemed important in relation to potential code effectiveness (p. 338). In sum, the studies that address the adoption or implementation process give us ideas on what to think about in the work with CCEs. They ask us to take into consideration how things are actually done in the organization and to couple the code with a coding process. One question is, however, how these recommendations have been constructed. First, explicit theoretical discussions are rare. Second, there is either a lack of transparency regarding how the results and recommendations have been empirically generated or a strong reliance on standardized surveys in capturing the process. Third, there is, it seems, a lack of studies taking an interest in the CCE-work over time (longitudinal studies) and we see no explicit attention to the transformation process. With the exception of Snell and colleagues, and to some extent Wood and Callaghan, process orientation in the research approaches seems to be rare.

Discussion Based on our review, a lot of the studies published since 1994 still target the content of CCEs. The content studies carried out during the last decade focus on mapping the content of CCEs especially in terms of country- or non-country-specic characteristics. We learn from those studies that CCEs in different countries are more or less the same, but that there also are some country-specic issues. A second reection is the exploratory, rather than explanatory, focus in the studies. The explicit use of theory, except for a few studies, is rare. To map the content more than to explain it seems to be the main concern. Thus, the content studies reviewed do not ll the gap as they target content and not output or transformation, and as they tend to offer a fragmented and highly implicit approach to theory in their studies.

262

m Sven Helin and Johan Sandstro It might in fact be Schwartz (2001, 2004) that comes closest, predominantly through his reections on CCE-research. His articles also take on an important task as it studies how the CCEs are inuencing the behavior of those supposedly targeted by them. In his studies he aims to nd out what kind of problems CCEs are related to and he points out that in order to fully understand how they work in organizations, longitudinal studies have to be carried out. Schwartz (2001, p. 251) also claims that frameworks that single codes out as inuencing behavior still lack process orientation. However, his research interest is still output-oriented in terms of his interest in how behavior is modied. We learn less about the transformation or the process of the CCEs and the behavior of the employees. The codes are also to a large extent taken for granted in the sense that we do not get an insight into how they are molded in the hands of different agents. This, of course, is only an objection if we assume that the codes are not static and that they take on different shapes when traveling in the organization, that they indeed are path-dependent. There are also few papers in which theory or theoretical framework is made explicit in the study of CCEs. In other words, there seems to be a weak explicit interest in theory. In their study of corporations formal ethics programs, Weaver et al. (1999a, p. 53) also argue that empirical studies have been limited to atheoretical surveys. Our review could be considered to echo this observation. However, explorative studies based on quantitative methods have a tradition of, in a sense, being less explicit on theory, as the purpose of such studies often is to generate hypotheses for theory building and testing. But, theory is necessary for the study of CCEs if we are to approach the knowledge gap identied by Stevens and others (including this paper). By this we do not necessarily imply theory with a capital T, but rather theories that are less grandiose and prescriptive in their approaches to CCEs, and more open to how such codes are transformed in organizations (cf. Cassell et al., 1997; Dillard and Yuthas, 2002; Nicholson, 1994). Also, surveys rather than case studies are still mainstream methodology in the eld of CCE research. Questionnaires and/or the collection of formal CCEs are the predominant data collection method. Some studies (Kitson, 1996; Schwartz,

Turning to those studies placed in the output category, they predominantly seem to focus on how the codes affect the behavior of managers and employees, and we obtain several views on how CCEs inuence behavior. The studies are also mostly based on highly structured and standardized methodologies. That is, sensitivity towards the objects of study seems to be low. In light of the argument made in this paper, all these studies provide us with valuable insights within the outputoriented research interests. A closer examination of these studies, however, still points at an evident lack of insights into how CCEs inuence behavior in organizations. Behavior related to CCEs seems to be a question of perception, not action. For example, Valentine and Barnett (2002) argue for increased sensitivity to ethical issues as a fruit of ethical codes. Output in terms of perception is presented, which means that actions related to the codes are merely indirectly investigated. Awareness about ethical issues seems to be greater in some organizations, but we do not obtain any empirically based insight into how this attention is created. Stohs and Brannick (1999) emphasize the importance of the organizational context (inuential stakeholders) regarding what kind of ethical codes will affect behavior. They show us that CCEs cannot be viewed as just top-management-initiated rules affecting behavior in the organization. Codes are embedded in, and will be related to, the context of the organization. However, although Stohs and Brannick acknowledge the (usually) top-management-initiated process of how codes are transformed, embedded or rejected by the members in the organization, they do not explicitly attend to this in their paper. Our interpretation is that there is still a gap in how both the codes and the behavior are transformed. We are rather given more interesting input on the output of CCEs. What we learn from such studies is that inuence on behavior by ethical codes cannot be taken for granted. There are always contextual factors inside or outside the corporation to take into consideration. But what is still lacking is how this process of contextualization is carried out. What kinds of problems arise? Which actors translate the CCEs? How is their behavior altered? What kinds of transformations take place? Not even the studies categorized as having a transformationinterest can be said to target these questions.

Study of Corporate Codes of Ethics 2001; Snell et al., 1999) give credit to the usefulness of case studies and even in-depth interviews in the research approaches. Schwartz (2001) for example, shows the richness in data that could be achieved by using other methods than surveys in studies of CCEs. In sum, though, if the knowledge gap in CCEs is to be targeted, a greater reliance on methods more sensitive to action and process in organization seems to be needed.

263

Conclusion To conclude, we still know little about the processes and transformations of CCEs. Most studies are about the content, diffusion and output of codes. However, one part of Stevens call was about the output gap and in our review it seems as if this gap, to some extent, has been targeted. Simply put, based on the selection criteria relied upon in this article, it seems as if the interest in output is as great as, or even greater than the interest in content. The call for output-oriented studies has only been partly heard, though no generic answers can be claimed. This is also one of our points. There is still a great deal of uncertainty around whether CCEs are effective in inuencing the ethical climate in organizations and this uncertainty might not be effectively dealt with unless we pay more interest to how these processes take shape in organizations. In our view, this enforces the need for transformation-oriented studies. How are codes communicated and how are they translated into daily action? Little research has been conducted on why and how ethical codes become what they become over time. Based on this we ponder the question of whether it might be necessary for students of CCEs to venture outside the theoretical assumptions underlying the analyses so far. Alternative theoretical frameworks, as noted earlier, have been developed in order to encourage scholarly interaction with issues such as those raised by Stevens and Schwartz, but it seems as if these contributions have not made an impact on the empirical approaches to the eld. We therefore conclude that in order to develop the body of knowledge on CCEs, we need to study these processes empirically on different levels in the

organizations and be sensitive to how managers and employees translate the codes in practice. The senders of the codes (usually top management), along with the written codes themselves, are often the main targets of analysis. To a large extent, this neglects the receivers of codes (usually the employees) and the translation processes that take place once a code begins to travel. In those instances that employees are accounted for, it is predominantly through standardized questionnaires. Although this is part of established research methods, it is also widely known and acknowledged that qualitative methodologies, such as in-depth interviews and participant observation, can contribute to new, or at least alternative, insights (cf. Bryman, 1988). Alternative understandings of CCEs, we believe, would also be helpful for companies and policy-makers. Showing the path-dependency and the often-messy reality of CCEs might lead managers, employees and their representatives, and policy-makers toward better grounded decisions on working with CCEs, and even perhaps to the formulation of more realistic expectations on such codes. Ending our review, we therefore do not share Pehr G Gyllenhammars claim that codes of ethics are a slippery slope. This is not because we think the opposite. The reason is rather that we cannot really say whether codes are slippery or not as we have too little knowledge about these processes. Hopefully, this paper has contributed to how this knowledge gap can be targeted, as well as to why it might be of importance. Some limitations to the study There are specically two matters relating to this studys limitations that we would like to address. First, the selection of papers is never a clear-cut case. Whether we have found all, or the right, studies seems to be a question that continually slipped out of our hands. The way we have approached this issue is to describe the way we searched for and then reviewed the articles showing up in our searches. As such, our selection would at least be fairly transparent. Our selection has also opened up for future studies. For example, in our view, similar studies on

Appendix 264
Methodology, sample & response rate Structured interviews with 766 company employees, of which 465 in companies with a code. Finding

Author(s) (year)

Category

Adams et al. (2001)

Output

Blodgett and Carlson(1997)

Content

Codes collected from 29 companies (out of 37)

Bondy et al. (2004)

Content

Codes collected from 75 companies in Canada, Germany and U.K.

Boo and Koh (2001)

Output

m Sven Helin and Johan Sandstro

Brytting (1997)

Content

Questionnaire to 400 (59%) MBA students in Singapore (most employed as middle managers) Questionnaire to 573 (58%) companies in Sweden

Carasco and Singh (2003)

Content

Codes collected from 32 (out of 50) large transnational corporations

Content

Emmelhainz and Adams (1999) Farrel and Cobbin (1996a)

Content

Codes collected from 27 (out of 34) companies in the U.S. Codes collected from 143 out of 537 of the largest companies in Australia Questionnaire to 123 (83%) large companies in Australia

Farrel and Cobbin (1996b)

Content

More than the code itself, the process of developing and introducing the ethics code may be what increases awareness of ethical issues. (p. 207) ... most respondents could not recall specic features of their companys ethics code. ...The presence or absence of a code thus may act symbolically. (p. 208) The codes of ethics often contain vague references to acting ethically, then give extensive compliance lists which serve mainly to prohibit the violation of current laws. Written differently, the codes of ethics could encourage proactive anticipation of potential liability situations. (p. 1369) ...[codes] may in fact represent more of a desire to control the actions of groups within and outside the corporation for risk management purposes and not an attempt to become more environmentally, economically and socially responsible. (p. 467) ...code-supporting variables ... and organizational ethics variables ... have signicant and positive incremental inuence on organizational ethical behavior. (p. 367) The more customers, managers, the media and others talk about codes, and the more common these documents become, the more companies will write their own documents or reinterpret other types of existing guidelines in a way that make them pass as Codes of Ethics. It becomes more and more important to be ale to show a Code of Ethics. The code is valued as an end in itself. (p. 679) It was found that the corporations, as demonstrated by their codes of ethics, are concerned about conduct both on behalf of the rm and against the rm, but concerns relating to the latte play a larger role in the codes. (p. 92) The study reveals that while most rms have developed codes of conduct, a number of important issues still must be addressed. (p. 56) The topics covered by codes were predominantly inward looking to the enterprise and protective of it. ...[the] items in the Australian codes compared with US codes, the level of specic guidance ethical content in each countrys codes was very low (p. 55) The ndings show a considerable gap between the expression by management of their ideals and perceptions of an ethical culture on the one hand, and the lack of action reported by them to mainstream ethics in their organizations on the other. (p. 49)

Farrell et al. (2002)

Output

...the strongest ethical culture affecting behaviour in these corporations came from an external, shared environment... (p. 488)

Gaumnitz and Lere (2002)

Content

Questionnaire to 900 (61%) employees and 35 (71%) top managers in 8 large Australian companies Codes collected from 15 professional business organizations in the U.S. Codes collected from 246 business and other organizations in 24 OECD countries Questionnaire to 219 IS employees in 9 companies in the U.S. Codes collected from 105 out of 200 of the largest companies in the world

Gordon and Miyake (2001)

Content

Harrington (1996)

Output

Kaptein (2004)

Content

Kaptein and Wempe (1998) Interviews with 17 managers in a U.K. bank Codes collected from 6 companies in the garment industry and a survey among a focus group of 15 opinion leaders

Output Transformation

Case study of the Dutch Schiphol Airport

Study of Corporate Codes of Ethics

Kitson (1996)

Output

Kolk and van Tulder (2002)

Output

Lefebvre and Singh (1996)

Content

The analysis of codes of ethics indicates that major common ethical themes are present in the codes of ethics of these professional organizations. The authors identied nine major content themes in the codes. Of these nine themes, condentiality appeared in every code. (p. 46) The texts of the bribery codes give little evidence of agreement or convergence in the scope of, or denitions used in, rms anti-bribery commitments. Diversity of denitions and concepts is a key feature of the anti-bribery commitments in the inventory. (p. 162) ...codes of ethics do have an effect, but they are related to only certain abuses... Generic codes affect those high in responsibility denial and so improve some computer abuse judgments and intentions. (p. 272) Codes generally describe the responsibilities a company assumes with respect to employees, customer, capital providers and society as a whole. In general, companies do not employ opposing norms. They specically differ in what they include and exclude from their codes and the wording that is used .... (p. 26) A code is a suitable instrument to increase the moral resistance of an organization. (p. 854) ...a good code corresponds to the concrete moral dilemmas which employees of the rm experience in their duties. (p. 863) ...within the complex and rapidly changing internal organisation of the Bank, it is difcult to establish the precise inuences which the Policy has on managerial behaviour. (p. 1030) ...corporate codes of conduct are considered to be important, though not the only, instruments for addressing child labour. (p. 269) Our research shows support for specic corporate codes that are strictly implemented and monitored, combined with alternative arrangements for under-age child workers. (p. 270) ...the Canadian and American corporate codes of ethics examined in this paper are remarkably similar. [...] They focus on conduct against the rm rather than on issues of social responsibility. (p. 165) Language is important in signalling the orientation, implementation, and accountability of the company to employees and other stakeholders. [...codes] are just the rst step in the GBC process but they are an important rst step. (pp. 6566)

Logsdon and Wood (2005)

Content

Questionnaire to the presidents of 461 (49%) top Canadian companies. Codes collected from 75 companies (out of 461) Codes collected from six global petroleum companies

265

266

Author(s) (year) Questionnaire to 315 (34%) U.S. based companies Group and individual interviews in 10 energy companies and 10 health care facilities in the U.S.

Category

Methodology, sample & response rate

Finding

McKendall et al. (2002)

Output

Montoya and Richard (1994)

Transformation

Output

Nwachukwu and Vitell Jr. (1997) Peterson (2002)

Output

Questionnaire to 3000 (13%) marketing and advertising practitioners in the U.S. Questionnaire to 700 (29%) alumni from a college of business in the U.S.

Pierce and Henry (1996)

Output

Questionnaire to 2551 (14%) information system professionals in the U.S. Questionnaire to 24 (71%) national franchise associations

m Sven Helin and Johan Sandstro

Preble and Hoffman (1999)

Content

Schwartz (2001)

Output

57 interviews at 4 large Canadian companies

Schwartz (2004)

Output Transformation

See Schwartz (2001)

Corporations that have followed all the guidelines about how to design and implement compliance programs do not have fewer legal violations. (p. 380) ...the adoption of such codes is rarely accompanied by either a thorough development process or a system for assuring that the codes are known and used. ...our health care facilities were less likely to develop or effectively implement ethics codes than were our energy companies. (p. 717) ...the ndings suggest that depending upon the particular situation, organizational culture and ethics may mitigate individual personal moral convictions about right and wrong. (p. 766) ...regardless of the ethical climate of an organization, it may be possible to reduce unethical behavior by implementing a clear code of ethics. However, the results also demonstrated that unethical behavior was also related to the ethical climate dimensions even in organizations with a code of ethics. (p. 324) ...there is a difference in the code (personal, informal, formal) that people say is important and the code they say they will actually use in ethical decision making... ...personal code was chosen as most important... (p. 433) Generally, the franchise relationship is well covered by the codes examined. [...] The primary emphasis of the codes is on a narrow set of stakeholders directly involved in the franchise system: franchisors, franchisees, consultants and employees. This seems to reect the practical approach taken by the codes to provide guidance to members of franchise associations. (p. 250) ...(1) actual examples of modied behaviour due merely to the existence of a code of ethics exist; (2) a number of reasons exist as to why codes are complied or not complied with; and (3) codes can potentially inuence behaviour in a variety of fashions as identied by the various metaphors. (p. 260) The study supports the claim that the mere existence of a code alone will unlikely inuence employee behavior. (p. 340) Senior managers must be seen to support the code, the sign-off process must be seen to be for the purposes of enhancing awareness, training efforts must provide employees with examples and opportunities to ask questions, training should be conducted by managers and reinforcement of the code needs to take place. (p. 339)

Singh et al. (2005)

Content

Questionnaire. Codes collected from 197 (out of 1069) companies in Australia, Canada and Sweden Codes collected from 41 companies in Hong Kong. Questionnaire to managers in 17 companies. Interviews with managers in 16 companies

Snell et al. (1999)

Content Output Transformation

Snell and Herndon (2000)

Content Output Transformation

See Snell et al. (1999)

Snell and Herndon (2004)

Output Transformation

See Snell et al. (1999)

Study of Corporate Codes of Ethics

Somers (2001)

Transformation

Questionnaire to 613 (20%) management accountants in the U.S.

Stevens (2004)

Output

Stohs and Brannick (1999)

Output

Gallup Polls since the 1970s of Americans perceptions of US business executives Structured interviews with 348 managers in Irish companies

In Hofstedes work on dimensions of national culture, Canada and Australia are grouped with the Anglo countries while Sweden is grouped with the Nordic. These similarities and differences are reected in the contents of the corporate codes of ethics in the three countries. (p. 106) Companies deriving their codes from the ICAC model code did not copy it wholesale but tended to select and adapt the items on gambling and misuse of company assets. Thus the ICAC-derived codes devoted no more space to social responsibility themes than the tailor-made codes. (p. 292) The possibility remains that their [the codes] very introduction led directly to the decline in post-conventional moral reasoning... (p. 307) ...there was little participation in code development... Respondents in the longitudinal study tended not to agree that conduct had improved over a seven month period which began some time after code adoption. (p. 306) Company codes, whether borrowed or tailored, focused more sharply on corruption prevention than did the ICAC model code. (p. 505) An isolated questionnaire item suggested conduct had improved, but a longitudinal analysis revealed no change in conduct and even suggested some decline in moral atmosphere. (p. 512) ...there has been a gap between the normative and positive underlying codes of ethics in Hong Kong. ...[The] paper identies some cultural factors, such as power distance and traditional Legalist assumptions approximating Theory X, that appear to be involved in creating this gap... (p. 75) ...communication and reinforcement of corporate codes of ethics badly lags their adoption (p. 192) ...organizations that promote ethical behavior reap several important benets including less wrongdoing and higher levels of employee commitment. (p. 194) Ethical codes have not done much to belay the perception that the US business executive is not very ethical. (p. 163) [Codes] are important symbolic artifacts. (p. 168) ...when managers confront issues directly affecting the rms conduct, a code partially guides managerial thinking about ethical wrongdoing. ...codes are important for setting a tone. (p. 322) ...organisations outside the rm, like unions, exert more inuence over behaviours that managers perceive as important and as ethical. ...rms without a formal code of ethics will make decisions that are arbitrary and inconsistent... (p. 324)

267

268

Author(s) (year) Codes collected from 13 organisations and companies related to the sporting goods industry

Category

Methodology, sample & response rate

Finding

van Tulder and Kolk (2001)

Content

Valentine and Barnett (2002) Codes collected from 83 companies. Questionnaire to 500 (68%) companies in Australia Questionnaire to the top 500 Australian companies, 1995 (53%) and follow-up in 2001 (22%)

Output

Questionnaire to 3000 (13%) sales professionals in the U.S.

Wood (2000)

Content

m Sven Helin and Johan Sandstro

Wood and Callaghan (2003)

Transformation

... individual companies tend to adopt codes that are less pronounced than in case codes are the result of interaction with other stakeholders. This nding underlines the importance of institutions and the establishment of common norms and rules, as put forward by institutional, stakeholder, regime and business ethics theorists. (p. 280) Our study found a modest, but signicant, effect of ethics codes on two distinct measures of organizations ethical values... (p. 198) Codes of ethics used within Australia have been developed with an Australian focus in mind. However, the inuence of US corporations is obvious. (p. 297) Companies make employees aware of the existence of codes of ethics yet, in general it would appear that although the intent is there, the procedures to facilitate the practice of business ethics in organizations operating in the Australian private sector are no better developed today than they were in 1995. (pp. 218219) ...they still have missed ...exposure, education, and support to assist staff to perform ethically. (p. 219)

Study of Corporate Codes of Ethics professional and association codes would ll gaps in the eld of business ethics. Second, what about the categories we have used, do they do justice to the papers? Some papers might have been unjustly treated due to perhaps our rough use of categories. The way we have approached this matter is that although our categories might be blunt, we have tried to dedicate some lines to each study reviewed and not merely reference them into a category. This way, our categorization is to some extent transparent. There is therefore, we hope, more room for the reader to disagree.

269

Acknowledgements
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the rhus, Nordic Academy of Management Conference in A Denmark, August 1820, 2005. Both authors would like to thank the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research for creating the nancial space for this research.

Note
This denition is also close to the description of a CCE used by Stevens (1994) and Kaptein (2004). This denition, as in Kaptein (2004), sometimes also includes the concept of Corporate Codes of Conduct (CCC).
1

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m Sven Helin and Johan Sandstro Department of Business Studies (ESI), rebro University, O Orebro, SE-701 82, Sweden, E-mail: johan.sandstrom@esi.oru.se E-mail: sven.helin@esi.oru.se