Corporate institutionalization of ethics in the United States and Great Britain

Journal of Business Ethics 12 (4):301-312 (1993)
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Abstract

This paper compares the results of large-scale U.S. and U.K. surveys designed to identify managers' major ethical concerns and to investigate how firms are formulating and communicating ethics policies responsive to these concerns.Our findings indicate some important differences between U.S. and U.K. firms in perceptions of what are important ethical issues, in the means used to communicate ethics policies, and in the issues addressed in ethics policies and employee training. U.K. companies tend to be more likely to communicate ethics policies through senior executives, whereas U.S. companies tend to rely more on their Human Resources and Legal Departments. U.S. firms consider most ethical issues to be more important than do their U.K. counterparts, and are especially concerned with employee behavior which may harm the firm. In contrast, the issues which U.K. managers consider more important tend to be concerned with external corporate stakeholders rather than employees.

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Diana Robertson
University of Pennsylvania