Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 217–236

Ethical Codes of Conduct in Irish Companies: A Survey of Code Content and Enforcement Procedures


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-005-3967-x

Cite this article as:
O’Dwyer, B. & Madden, G. J Bus Ethics (2006) 63: 217. doi:10.1007/s10551-005-3967-x


This paper reports on an investigation of issues surrounding the use of ethical codes/codes of conduct in Irish based companies. Using a comprehensive questionnaire survey, the paper examines the incidence, content and enforcement of codes of conduct among a sample of the top 1000 companies based in Ireland. The main findings indicate that the overall usage of codes of conduct amongst indigenous Irish companies has increased significantly from 1995 to 2000. However, in line with prior research, these codes focus primarily on issues surrounding company and employee protection as opposed to society protection. Almost half of all codes are written by company personnel or provided by head office. Revisions of codes are common but formal ongoing methods of instructing new staff about codes are not prevalent. Less than one-third of companies with codes have formal channels for reporting violations but a high percentage have formal disciplinary procedures in place for breaches of codes.


business ethicscode of conductcode of ethicscorporate social responsibilityIreland

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Amsterdam Business, School University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands