Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 16, Issue 10, pp 1029-1047

First online:

Corporate Ethics Initiatives As Social Control

  • William S. LauferAffiliated withThe Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
  • , Diana C. RobertsonAffiliated withThe Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

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Efforts to institutionalize ethics in corporations have been discussed without first addressing the desirability of norm conformity or the possibility that the means used to elicit conformity will be coercive. This article presents a theoretical context, grounded in models of social control, within which ethics initiatives may be evaluated. Ethics initiatives are discussed in relation to variables that already exert control in the workplace, such as environmental controls, organizational controls, and personal controls.