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The impact of ethics programmes and ethical culture on misconduct in public service organizations
Heungsik Park
College of Public Services, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea, and

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Received 12 January 2012 Revised 22 October 2012 Accepted 25 October 2012

John Blenkinsopp
Hull University Business School, Hull, UK
Abstract
Purpose This paper aims to examine the relationship between ethics programmes and ethical culture, and their impact on misconduct. Design/methodology/approach A theoretical model which posits ethical culture to be a mediating variable in the relationship between ethics programmes and misconduct was tested using data from a national ethics survey of Korean public service organizations. Findings The data indicates the relationship between ethics programmes and misconduct is fully mediated by ethical culture. Only two of the six elements of an ethics programme had a signicant effect on misconduct before ethical culture was controlled for, and when ethical culture was controlled for, none of the elements had a signicant impact on misconduct. The ethics programme did however appear to strengthen ethical culture, suggesting such programmes make an important contribution to reducing unethical behaviour in organizations. Research limitations/implications Future research should examine the interaction of ethics programmes and ethical culture using longitudinal research designs, to obtain a better understanding of how programmes serve to strengthen ethical culture. Practical implications The ndings provide insights into the role of ethics programmes in improving ethical behaviour, suggesting resources should be deployed to those aspects of these programmes which serve to strengthen ethical culture. Originality/value The paper provides clarication of the relationship between ethics programmes, ethical culture and misconduct, an important nding given the signicant resources deployed by public service organizations to initiatives aimed at improving ethical behaviour. Keywords Ethical culture, Ethics programmes, Misconduct, Public service organizations Paper type Research paper

International Journal of Public Sector Management Vol. 26 No. 7, 2013 pp. 520-533 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0951-3558 DOI 10.1108/IJPSM-01-2012-0004

Introduction Efforts at enhancing ethical behaviour in public service organizations are seen as important and widespread (Feldheim and Wang, 2002), but the ERC (2005) concluded that although there had been an increase in the number of ethics programmes, their impact on misconduct was not as great as hoped, and appeared to be strongly reliant upon culture. This highlights the need to understand the role of ethical culture in the relationship between ethics programmes and misconduct, yet there has been limited research on what makes ethics programmes effective in reducing misconduct, or the role of ethical culture in the process (Pelletier and Bligh, 2006; Proenca, 2004). This article addresses this gap, examining the impact of ethics programmes on misconduct and ethical culture, and clarifying the process by which ethical culture inuences the

relationship between ethics programmes and misconduct. We offers insights to policymakers on allocating resources to promote ethical behaviour in public service organizations. Literature review An ethics programme is a set of activities, policies and procedures intended to support employees to understand and comply with the ethical standards and policies set by the organization. Programmes comprise various elements designed to prevent misconduct, dened as behaviour that violates the law or organizational ethics standards (ERC, 2008). Companies with strong ethics programmes report improvements in ethical conduct, and programmes have a positive effect on employee behaviour, ethical attitudes and corporate culture (Ferrell et al., 1998). Each element is likely to have some impact on employees attitudes and behaviour, but the manner and extent of this impact may vary. Proenca (2004) suggests ve elements: a code of ethics, an ethics ofcer, an ethics training programme, an ethics audit system, and dedicated ethics telephone hotlines. The Ethics Resource Center (ERC), on the other hand, proposes six elements, based on US Federal Sentencing Guidelines (FSG): written codes of conduct, ethics training, mechanisms to seek ethics advice or information, channels to report misconduct anonymously, discipline of employees who violate ethical standards, and evaluation of employees ethical performance (ERC, 2005; US Ofce of Government Ethics, 2008). This widely adopted and highly inuential approach is utilized here as it has been adopted by the Korean Institute of Public Administration (KIPA) for their ethics survey, the data from which forms the basis of this study. We turn now to consideration of each of the six elements. An ethics programme begins with development of a code of ethical conduct to guide employees on what is viewed as ethical behaviour. Schwartz (2004) found ethics codes inuenced behaviour, but Clark and Leonard (1998) found them ineffective in determining an employees ethical decision-making, and Nwachukwu et al. (1997) report no signicant differences in ethical evaluations between organizations with and without ethics codes. The second element is ethics training, to help employees understand the ethical goals and values of the organization, increase their ability to deal with ethical issues (Proenca, 2004), and encourage ethical behaviour (Baggett, 2007). The third element is implementation of mechanisms to provide ethics information, frequently through appointment of an ethics ofcer to advise employees, investigate allegations of ethical problems, develop and coordinate ethics and compliance policies, and oversee the ethical conduct of employees in an organization (Petry and Tietz, 1992; Smith, 2003). The fourth element is provision of an anonymous reporting system to allow employees to provide information on ethical violations in an organization, and reduce employees fear of retaliation for reporting workplace misconduct. Such systems are a key inuencing factor on employees ethical behaviour (Schwartz, 2004). The fth element, disciplining of violators, is linked to the sixth element, evaluation of an employees ethical performance. A reward and punishment system is a key factor in promoting ethical behaviour (Baucus and Beck-Dudley, 2005), and many organizations include ethics in their performance appraisals (Petry and Tietz, 1992). One way of improving employee compliance with ethical standards is by generating a

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sense of threat, while evaluation of ethical behaviour is used as a tool to incentivise employees to behave ethically. Despite positive claims for the value of ethics programmes, studies suggest their direct effect on behaviour is rather slight. One possible explanation is that ethical culture, rather than ethics programmes, has the strongest inuence on behaviour. Scholars have thus begun to pay increasing attention to ethical culture (Whetstone, 2005; Jurkiewicz, 2007), those aspects of the organization which serve to promote o and Weaver, 2003; Kaptein, 2009). ethical behaviour and inhibit misconduct (Trevin The ERC (2007, p. 9) measures ethical culture in terms of four elements: ethical leadership, supervisor reinforcement, peer commitment to ethics, and embedded ethical values, and found that though ethics programmes reduce misconduct slightly, the biggest impact comes from having a strong ethical culture. Similarly, when codes of conduct are supported by ethical cultures, employees compliance to the ethics codes can be increased (Fiorelli, 2004). This does not mean ethics programmes are unimportant, as they may serve to nurture and strengthen ethical culture (Kaptein, 2009). Desplaces et al. (2007) report that codes of conduct had a positive impact on ethical culture, while Fiorelli (2004) found effective implementation of an ethics programme helps build an ethical culture, and the ERC (2005, p. 2) observed that where cultures are strong, it is in part because a formal program is in place. West and Berman (2004) suggest specic elements of an ethics programme, rather than the programme as a whole, play an important role in strengthening an ethical culture. We therefore have three competing interpretations of the relationship between ethics programmes, ethical culture and misconduct in organizations: (1) an ethics programme has no effect, ethical culture alone is key to reducing misconduct; (2) ethics programmes reduce misconduct solely through their impact on strengthening ethical culture; or (3) the reduction of misconduct is an outcome of both ethics programmes and ethical culture. Figure 1 maps these possible relationships, with ethical culture presented as a potential mediating variable in the relationship between an ethics programme and misconduct. The total effect of an ethics programme on misconduct is shown in path C, and its direct effect on misconduct (labeled c0 ) is estimated when the effect of ethical culture is controlled for. The indirect or mediated effect of ethical culture is represented by the product of path coefcients A and B. Baron and Kenny (1986) suggest four conditions to test the mediating effect of a variable, and these were tested in the data analysis (see

Figure 1. Relationship between ethics programme, ethical culture and misconduct

below). In Figure 1, ethical culture is the mediator assumed to inuence the effect of an ethics programme on misconduct. If there is complete mediation by ethical culture, the direct effect of an ethics programme on misconduct will not be statistically signicant. We adopted the FSG denition of an ethics programme as comprising six elements, each treated as a discrete variable and measured by employees knowledge of its existence in the organization. We developed the following hypotheses to test the model shown in Figure 1: H1. Each individual element of a formal ethics programme will decrease misconduct, and strengthen ethical culture. Ethical culture will in turn decrease misconduct. H2. Ethical culture will completely mediate the relationship between the elements of an ethics programme and misconduct, such that no element of the ethics programme will directly contribute to reducing misconduct once ethical culture is controlled for. Method Our study used data from the KIPA ethics survey. South Korean public services offered an ideal context in which to test our hypotheses, as the South Korean Public Ofcials Code of Conduct (Executive Order No. 17906, May 19, 2003) required executive branch departments and agencies of central government to put in place an ethics programme, comprising six elements identical to the FSG guidelines. Like most ethics surveys the KIPA survey measures ethics programmes in terms of these elements (Table I). The elements were measured in terms of employees familiarity with them, which required different types of responses for some elements degree of familiarity can be scaled, for others a dichotomous Yes/No response was more appropriate. The measure for ethical culture was based on the US Ofce of Government Ethics (2004) survey, which measured ethical culture in terms of leadership attention to ethics, follow-up of ethical concerns, accountability for adhering to ethical rules, and employee awareness of ethics issues. KIPA adapted and shortened this scale for their ethics survey (Table II). For each item respondents were asked to indicate level of agreement on a ve-point Likert scale (1 strongly agree to 5 strongly disagree), with the mean score used as a measure of ethical culture. In factor analysis of the six items, one component was extracted and the total variance explained was 64.791 per cent. The survey measured misconduct in terms of its various types, similar to previous surveys (Andreoli and Lefkowitz, 2009; US Ofce of Government Ethics, 2007). The scale listed 14 types of misconduct, based on the ERCs operational denition, and invited respondents to indicate on a ve-point Likert scale how often they thought these had occurred in their organization in the previous 12 months (1 extremely frequently to 5 not at all) (Table III). The mean score of the 14 items was used as a measure of misconduct. From factor analysis using principal component method, a single component was obtained and the total variance explained was 60.916 per cent. The survey was distributed by mail to 700 employees in 14 out of 50 central government departments and agencies, both respondents and departments/agencies

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Items Code of conduct (CCO) How familiar are you with a code of ethical conduct for your organization employees? Ethics training (ETR) a During the past year, how often have you received ethics education or training? Mechanism for advice (MAD) Are you aware that there is a chief ethics ofcial in your agency who can give advice on ethics issues? Hotline for reporting (HOR) Are you aware that there is a way to anonymously or condentially report violations of ethics rules in doing a job? Discipline for violators (DVI) I am aware of what disciplines employees come in for, when violating a code of ethical conducts Evaluation of ethical behaviour (EEB) Do you know that your organization evaluates employees ethical conduct, separately from merit rating?

Possible responses 1 (extremely familiar) to 5 (not at all familiar) 0 (have never received any training), 1 (once), 2 (twice), 3 (three times or more) 1 (yes) or 2 (dont know/cant remember)

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1 (yes) or 2 (dont know/cant remember)

1 (strongly agree) to 5 (strongly disagree) 1 (yes) or 2 (dont know/cant remember)

Table I. Scale items for key elements of the ethics programme (EPR)

Notes: aThe scoring for ETR was reverse coded for analysis, to be consistent with the other elements; n 581

Scale/item Ethical culture (ECU) Leaders of my organization sometimes talk about the importance of ethics in discussions with its members Leaders of my organization are interested in ethical problems reported by its members and make an effort to solve them My organization typically practices ethics according to the ethical rules and standards it has promoted The members of my organization feel free to discuss ethics issues Leaders of my organization periodically let its members know that they are interested in ethics My organization takes fast action to solve ethical issues if they are reported by its members Note: n 581

Scale a 0.890

Table II. Scale items, and alpha for ethical culture

were randomly selected. A total of 658 employees completed the survey, but 77 responses were removed due to missing values, leaving a useable sample of 581, a response rate of 83 per cent. This was considered a sufcient sample to represent the employee population of central government. The sample showed reasonable demographic heterogeneity, except for gender, where males (448, 77.1 per cent) heavily outnumbered females (133, 22.9 per cent).

Scale/item Misconduct (MCO) Putting ones own interests ahead of the organizations Lying to customers, vendors, or the public Improperly accepting gifts given to them because of where they work or what they do in their government jobs Misusing the organizations condential information Giving and receiving inappropriate prots Interfering inappropriately rights and interests by using an ofcial position Taking bribes, kickbacks, and improper entertainment favors for doing their government jobs from people Theft or private use of government budget, property, products, or services Unjust mediation and solicitation Expenditure for travel or pushing business beside original purposes on a budget Improperly giving gifts to their supervisors or accepting gifts from their subordinates Lectures violating regulations outside the organization or violations of reporting it Doing personal businesses during ofce hours Sexual harassment Note: n 581

Scale a 0.9454

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Table III. Scale items, and alpha for misconduct

35 respondents (6.0 per cent) were less than 29 years old, 251 (43.2 per cent) were aged 30-39, 218 (37.5 per cent) were 40-49, and 77 (13.3 per cent) were 50 or older. Education level was also varied 33 (5.7 per cent) of respondents had a high school diploma or less, 386 (66.4 per cent) had junior college or four-year university degrees, and 162 (27.9 per cent) had postgraduate degrees. With regard to tenure in their current organization, 119 (20.5 per cent) had worked for the same employer for 20 or more years, 212 (36.5 per cent) had tenure of between ten and 19 years, and 250 (43.0 per cent) had tenure of less than nine years. Results Correlation analysis was conducted to examine how ethical culture, misconduct and the ethics programme elements are correlated. Table IV shows means, standard deviations and inter-correlations for all the variables. The correlation analysis indicates the elements of an ethics programme were signicantly positively correlated with each other ( p , 0.001), negatively correlated with misconduct ( p , 0.01 or p , 0.001), and positively correlated with ethical culture ( p , 0.001). An analysis to examine the effects of each element of the ethics programme on misconduct was conducted using bivariate regression (Table V). A variance ination factor (VIF) was calculated to examine possible multicollinearity problems between the elements of an ethics programme. VIF values were not high for any of the variables, indicating that t will not be affected by multicollinearity. The results show each ethics programme element was signicantly related to misconduct, thus satisfying the rst condition for testing the mediating effect of ethical culture, that an initiative variable should be signicantly related to an outcome variable (Baron and Kenny, 1986).

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MCO CCO ETR MAD HOR DVI EEB ECU 1.00 0.403 * * * 0.335 * * * 0.377 * * * 0.499 * * * 0.344 * * * 0.352 * * * 1.00 0.306 * * * 0.313 * * * 0.335 * * * 0.306 * * * 0.390 * * * 1.00 0.464 * * * 0.414 * * * 0.286 * * * 0.354 * * *

Notes: Signicant at: *p , 0.05, * *p , 0.01 and * * *p , 0.001 (two-tailed tests); n 581; see Tables I-III for abbreviations of the variables

Table IV. Descriptive statistics and correlation between the variables SD MCO CCO ETR MAD HOR DVI EEB ECU 1.00 2 0.232 * * * 2 0.182 * * * 2 0.187 * * * 2 0.166 * * * 2 0.224 * * * 2 0.122 * * 2 0.398 * * * 1.00 0.448 * * * 0.288 * * * 0.316 * * * 1.00 0.270 * * * 0.448 * * * 1.00 0.294 * * * 1.00

Mean

4.49 2.62 2 1.23 1.44 1.47 2.43 1.74 2.51

0.51 0.82 2 1.11 0.50 0.50 0.80 0.44 0.64

To examine the effect of each element on ethical culture, a simple regression analysis was conducted (Table VI). The results show all ethics programme elements were signicantly related to ethical culture ( p , 0.001). The second condition for testing a mediation model, that an initiative variable should be signicantly related to the mediator, was thus met. The six elements adjusted R 2 values ranged from 0.085 to 0.153, indicating their impact on ethical culture is much greater than on misconduct (adjusted R 2 values from 0.013 to 0.052). Multiple regression analysis was conducted to estimate the paths in the proposed mediation model (Figure 1). The results are shown in the Table VII. The regression model for ethical culture was statistically signicant, with 27 per cent of the variance being explained by the combined inuence of the six elements of an ethics programme (adjusted R 2 0.266, F-value 35.980, p , 0.001). However, the t-values for two of the elements (codes of conduct and a hotline for reporting violations) were not statistically signicant. The regression model for misconduct was also statistically signicant, showing ethical culture has a signicant negative effect on misconduct (adjusted R 2 0.157, F-value 109.099, p , 0.001). Comparing results from the two regression analyses show the ethics programme elements signicantly explain a proportion of variance in ethical culture, while ethical culture explains a proportion of the variance in misconduct. This suggests ethical
Dependent variables MCO t Adjusted R 2 2 5.730 * * * 2 4.464 * * * 2 4.577 * * * 2 4.047 * * * 2 5.533 * * * 2 2.970 * * 0.052 0.032 0.033 0.026 0.049 0.013

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Predictors CCO ETR MAD HOR DVI EEB

B 2 0.111 2 0.084 2 0.193 2 0.170 2 0.125 2 0.142

SE 0.019 0.019 0.042 0.042 0.023 0.048

F-value 32.836 * * * 19.930 * * * 20.949 * * * 16.382 * * * 30.616 * * * 8.818 * *

Notes: Signicant at: * *p , 0.01 and * * *p , 0.001 (two-tailed tests); n 581

Table V. Relationship between elements of an ethics programme and misconduct

Predictors CCO ETR MAD HOR DVI EEB

B 0.209 0.223 0.454 0.402 0.273 0.423

SE 0.023 0.022 0.050 0.050 0.027 0.057

Dependent variables ECU t Adjusted R 2 9.039 * * * 10.177 * * * 9.112 * * * 8.003 * * * 10.303 * * * 7.389 * * * 0.122 0.150 0.124 0.098 0.153 0.085

F-value 81.703 * * * 103.572 * * * 83.030 * * * 64.046 * * * 106.155 * * * 54.591 * * *

Notes: Signicant at: * * *p , 0.001 (two-tailed test); n 581

Table VI. Relationship between elements of an ethics programme and ethical culture

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Dependent variables Ethical culture (ECU)

Predictors Constant CCO ETR MAD HOR DVI EEB Constant ECU

B 1.620 0.047 0.120 0.178 0.059 0.124 0.145 5.291 2 0.321

b
0.079 0.210 0.139 0.047 0.178 0.101 2 0.398

t 12.131 * * * 1.800 5.168 * * * 3.287 * * * 1.077 4.000 * * * 2.561 * 66.577 * * * 2 10.445 * * *

Adjusted R 2 0.266

F-value 35.980 * * *

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Table VII. Results of the regression of the relevant variables Misconduct

0.157

109.099 * * *

Notes: Signicant at: *p , 0.05, * *p , 0.01 and * * *p , 0.001 (two-tailed tests); n 581

culture mediates the relationship between ethics programmes and misconduct, to conrm this we need to apply the fourth condition for testing a mediation model, that the relationship between the initiator variable and the outcome variable is no longer signicant when the mediator variable is controlled for. We tested this by running hierarchal regression analysis in which the path coefcients were estimated between the ethics programme elements and misconduct. Ethical culture was controlled for in order to separate the effect of ethics programmes on misconduct from that of ethical culture on misconduct. The results are summarized in Table VIII. The regression model for the inuence of an ethics programme on misconduct was statistically signicant (adjusted R 2 0.071, F-value 8.385, p , 0.001). However, only two elements of the programme, code of conduct and discipline for violators, had a statistically signicant impact on misconduct (B 2 0.057 and 2 0.056, respectively,
Dependent variables Misconduct (MCO) b t Adjusted R 2 2 0.119 2 0.070 2 0.074 2 0.018 2 0.101 2 0.007 2 0.092 0.003 2 0.025 2 0.001 2 0.038 0.029 2 0.352 40.477 * * * 2 2.406 * 2 1.541 2 1.543 2 0.362 2 2.015 * 2 0.148 41.543 * * * 2 1.934 0.076 2 0.537 2 0.026 2 0.794 0.682 2 7.878 * * * 0.071

Predictors Elements of an ethics programme Constant CCO ETR MAD HOR DVI EEB Constant CCO ETR MAD HOR DVI EEB ECU

B 4.896 2 0.057 2 0.032 2 0.076 2 0.018 2 0.056 2 0.008 5.355 2 0.044 0.002 2 0.025 2 0.001 2 0.021 0.033 2 0.283

F-value 8.385 * * *

Elements of an ethics programme plus ethical culture

0.160

16.818 * * *

Table VIII. Results of the hierarchical multiple regression

Notes: Signicant at: *p , 0.05, * *p , 0.01 and * * *p , 0.001 (two-tailed tests); n 581; B unstandardized coefcients, b standardized coefcients

both at p , 0.05). The addition of ethical culture into the regression model increased the level of variance explained (adjusted R 2 0.160, F-value 16.818, p , 0.001), but the coefcient path values for the ethics programme elements dropped sharply, with none of them now having a statistically signicant impact on misconduct. This indicates ethical culture fully mediates the relationship between all ethics programme elements and misconduct. The fourth condition for testing the mediating role of an ethical culture was thus met. These results provide partial support for H1, in that only two elements of a formal ethics programme signicantly decrease misconduct, and four elements signicantly increased ethical culture (the hypothesis predicted all six elements would both decrease misconduct and increase ethical culture), and in addition ethical culture signicantly decreased misconduct. The ndings fully support H2, as the ethics programme elements did not have a signicant negative impact on misconduct once ethical culture was controlled for, indicating ethical culture fully mediates the relationship between ethics programme elements and misconduct. An additional check on the indirect effect of ethical culture and its signicance was made by conducting a Sobel test (Table IX). Table IX shows the indirect effects of ethical culture were statistically signicant in mediating the relationships between each element of the ethics programme and misconduct, conrming the impact of ethics programmes on ethical behaviour occurs through the mediating role of ethical culture, rather than as a direct result of the programme itself. Discussion The primary goal of this study was to clarify the role played by ethical culture in the relationship between an ethics programme and decreased misconduct. The ndings show ethical culture completely mediates the relationship, and that most of the elements of an ethics programme signicantly contribute to engendering an ethical culture. These ndings have a number of implications, both for future research and for policy and practice. First, since the results indicate ethical culture is key to improving ethical behaviour in organizations, the resources used to develop ethics programmes ought to be deployed in a manner most likely to strengthen ethical culture. Before controlling for ethical culture, the elements which had the greatest effect on ethical culture were ethics training and discipline for violators, and these elements would thus appear to provide the best return on investment, although clearly the starting point will

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Paths CCO ! ECU ! MCO ETR ! ECU ! MCO MAD ! ECU ! MCO HOR ! ECU ! MCO DVI ! ECU ! MCO EEB ! ECU ! MCO Note: n 581

Test statistics 2 6.328 2 6.902 2 6.488 2 6.179 2 6.697 2 5.953

p-value 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000

Table IX. Results of the Sobel test

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continue to be the development of a code of conduct, as the basis for both training and discipline. Examining implementation of ethics codes in public service organizations, Grundstein-Amado (2001, p. 461) stresses internalization of the codes provisions, developing ethical standards which become embodied in employees habitual thoughts and behaviour. This would need to be supported by ethics training specically aimed at teaching public ofcials the rules and standards of ethical behaviours (Schwartz, 2004), and our results provide further evidence that ethics training contributes to creating ethical culture, and conrm its effect in a public service context. A second issue raised by the study is the question of how ethics programme elements serve to engender and strengthen ethical culture, as the effects may differ between elements, both in form and extent. Considering the ways in which ethics programme elements contribute to ethical culture highlights a need to develop a clearer conceptualization of ethical culture, and in particular whether it should be treated as a single variable or something with multiple components (Kaptein, 2009). Our study treats ethical culture as a single variable, an approach which a Cronbach a-value of 0.890 for that scale would appear to support (Table II), however Kaptein (2008) suggests a multi-component model of ethical culture. If ethical culture is treated as having several components, a more focused analysis of the relative importance of each component is needed to increase our understanding of its role. Lastly, the methods used to measure ethics programmes are an issue needed to be examined further. Some studies use Likert scales to measure familiarity with individual elements of an ethics programme, while others use Yes/No choices, which simply measure awareness. Other surveys invite respondents to rate the effectiveness or usefulness of an ethics programme, but such approaches may actually be gathering information on ethical culture, since they relate to programme outcomes rather than the programmes themselves (Kaptein, 2009). Studies of the differences between the various methods of measuring ethics programmes or ethical culture would be very helpful, as the observed effects of an ethics programme on misconduct or ethical culture might vary depending on how they are measured. This research has some limitations that need to be acknowledged and addressed. The rst is regarding the possibility of self-report and mono-method bias. According to Donaldson and Grant-Vallone (2002), employees responses in a self-report survey tend to be biased by various factors, including propensity to show socially desirable behaviours, fear of reprisal, situational pressure, sensitivity of an issue, etc. This study used a single method for collecting data, not from multiple external sources. It allows that the results might be affected by a single source bias, leading the authors to falsely interpret the relationships between variables. The second concerns generalizability. In terms of collecting data and explaining the results, this study focused the effects of ethics programme in South Korea as a whole and does not take into account other cultures. The ndings might not be suitable or appropriate in certain cultures. Conclusion There has been little work on how an ethics programme might reduce misconduct in public service organizations, or on the role of ethical culture in the process. The present study has begun to address this gap in the literature, showing ethical culture fully mediates the process by which ethics programmes reduce misconduct. The aim of an ethics programme to decrease unethical behaviour is thus accomplished through the

mediating role of ethical culture rather than directly, and this has important implications for policy makers and managers. Though our study demonstrates that ethics programmes inuence ethical culture, the existing ethical culture may also inuence the implementation and effectiveness of ethics programmes (Webley and Werner, 2008), and further study is required to understand the manner in which ethical culture contributes to the effectiveness of ethics programmes, which in turn reinforce the ethical culture and improve ethical behaviour.
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Kaptein, M. (2009), Ethics programs and ethical culture: a next step in unraveling their multi-faceted relationship, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 89, pp. 261-281. Nwachukwu, S.L.S., Scott, J. and Vitell, S.J. (1997), The inuence of corporate culture on managerial ethical judgments, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 16, pp. 757-776. Pelletier, K.L. and Bligh, M.C. (2006), Rebounding from corruption: perceptions of ethics programme effectiveness in a public sector organization, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 67 No. 4, pp. 359-374. Petry, E. and Tietz, F. (1992), Can ethics ofcers improve ofce ethics?, Business and Society Review, Vol. 82 No. 1, pp. 21-25. Proenca, E.J. (2004), Ethics orientation as a mediator of organizational integrity in health services organization, Health Care Management Review, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 40-50. Schwartz, M.S. (2004), Effective corporate codes of ethics: perceptions of code users, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 55 No. 4, pp. 323-343. Smith, R.W. (2003), Corporate ethics ofcers and government ethics administrators: comparing apples with oranges or a lesson to be learned?, Administration & Society, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 632-652. o, L.K. and Weaver, G.R. (2003), Managing Ethics in Business Organizations: Social Trevin Scientic Perspectives, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA. US Ofce of Government Ethics (2004), Executive Branch Agency Employee Ethics Survey, US Ofce of Government Ethics, Washington, DC. Webley, S. and Werner, A. (2008), Corporate codes of ethics: necessary but not sufcient, Business Ethics: A European Review, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 405-415. West, J.P. and Berman, E.M. (2004), Ethics training in US cities, Public Integrity, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 189-206. Whetstone, T.J. (2005), A framework for organizational virtue: the interrelationship of mission, culture and leadership, Business Ethics: A European Review, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 367-378. Further reading Buell, S.W. (2008), The upside of overbreadth, N.Y.U. Law Review, Vol. 83, pp. 1491-1564. Coughlan, R. and Connolly, T. (2008), Investigating unethical decisions at work: justication and emotion in dilemma resolution, Journal of Managerial Issues, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 348-361. Lager, J.M. (2009), Reduce corruption and achieve ethics in government, McGeorge Law Review, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 63-83. About the authors Heungsik Park is Professor of Public Administration at Chung-Ang University, Seoul, South Korea. He received his MA in Public Administration in 1985 from Seoul National University and his PhD in Public Administration in 1991 from Florida International University. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Korean Association for Public Administration journal the Korean Public Administration Review. He has published articles in international journals such as the Journal of Business Ethics, and the International Review of Administrative Sciences. His research interests span ethics, transparency, whistleblowing, government marketing, and information behaviour. Professor John Blenkinsopp is Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management at Hull University Business School, and a member of the Centre for Organisational Futures. He has gained an international reputation for his research in the eld of work and

organisational psychology, which has been funded by the European Commission, the British Academy, the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship and the Institute for Local Governance. Key projects include an examination of the role of the medical physics expert, an international comparison of bullying and emotional labour (the Odette study), a study of undergraduates perceptions of graduate careers, and ongoing work on whistleblowing and employee silence. John is currently developing research on low carbon careers, emotion in management education, coping with career disruptions, and issues of language and translation in organisational settings. John Blenkinsopp is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: j.blenkinsopp@hull.ac.uk

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