A study carried out by Lee and Yoshihara (1997) was designed
to analyse the ethical behaviour of Korean and Japanese business executives
after implementing codes of conduct. The results portrayed a vital factor
showing that employees were willing to change and embrace the morals and values
of the firm after knowing that the executives also follow the ethical policy.
This shows how an employee’s ethical behaviour can change after knowing how
much importance the ethics code is to the business executive’s personal values.
LINK IT TO MCDONALDS OR
Usually, managers and directors will act ethically as a
result of their internalized moral core values. Whilst establishing
behavioural standards in corporations and written codes of conduct to help
strengthen moral values and encourage ethical organizational behaviour, it is
important to know that everyone will behave and act differently to the specific
guidelines within specific workplace areas.
of conduct would also affect the public for example, McDonalds is perceived by
the public to be ethically and socially concerned which is honoured and
respected by other individuals who have no knowledge of its actual working.
According to Jamal and Bowie, (1995) codes of conduct promote
ethical behaviour in organisations. In order for companies to build a
sustainable employee culture it is essential to set the expectations for
employee behaviour. For example, the codes of conduct for Lehman Brothers
corporation, an investment bank which went bust during the financial crisis in
2008. Their ethical policies were designed to transform their culture by
guiding the executives during the crisis to make strategic decisions and
communicate effectively with the employees.
According to Trevino and Weaver, (2003) ethical policies can
shape an employee’s behaviour positively thus influencing ethical decisions in
an organisation. This is further supported by Manley (1991) who stated that
codes of conduct are employed in firms to help workers feel more positive about
Although some companies have such
policies to promote good behaviour other firms such as Lehman brothers play an
active part to guide their employees to behave ethically, with a general
consensus of employees across organisations favouring to work for company’s who
are committed to values and ethics. Ths shapes the experience of the
individuals involved as it creates a an
atmosphere were values are meaningful and aligned with those of staff, people
are more motivated to work for you (Jenkin, 2018)
This is further supported by Solomon and Hanson (1985) who
argue that codes of conduct are vital for providing guidelines, stability, and
a point of focus for everybody in the organization. Prior findings by Murphy, Smith, Daley (1992) and Somers (2001) conducted in United States show that awareness
of unethical activity is less prevalent in corporations that have implemented
codes of conduct. This provides evidence to support the proposition that
employees in organisations who had adopted corporate codes of conduct were
significantly more aware of wrongdoing than were employee in organizations
without codes of ethical conduct. However,
according to Montoya & Richard (1994) in
some situations individuals can make wrong decisions which can be associated
with the individual’s morals.
McDonald and Nijhof (1999) developed a framework for
implementing an ethical policy curriculum designed to inspire individuals to
behave morally and responsibly in organisations which could increase the
ethicalness in the employees ‘actions and behaviour’. However, communicating codes of conduct from the
upper echelons of order can sometimes lead individuals to flout the policy.
Trevino and Weaver (2003) found that in highly centralized organizations,
mandated codes were found to be ineffective because employees rejected the
attempts at top-down control. Creating ethical policies does not ensure that
ethical behaviour will occur; rather, ethical decision-making and the code must
be a part of the corporate culture and not mandated from the executive