Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 31–43 | Cite as

‘The Impact of Corporate Ethical Values and Enforcement of Ethical Codes on the Perceived Importance of Ethics in Business: A Comparison of U.S. and Spanish Managers’

  • Scott J. VitellEmail author
  • Encarnación Ramos Hidalgo


This two country study examines the effect of corporate ethical values and enforcement of a code of ethics on perceptions of the role of ethics in the overall success of the firm. Additionally, the impact of organizational commitment and of individual variables such as ethical idealism and relativism was examined. The rationale for examining the perceived importance of the role of ethics in this manner is to determine the extent to which the organization itself can influence employee perceptions regarding ethics and social responsibility. Results indicate that all of the variables tested, except relativism, impacted upon one’s perceptions of the importance of ethics and social responsibility. Perceptions of the importance of ethics and social responsibility also varied depending upon country of residence with the U.S. sample having somewhat higher perceptions concerning the importance of ethics and social responsibility than their counterparts in Spain. Furthermore, when comparing the two samples, the U.S. sample had significantly higher corporate ethical values, greater enforcement of ethical codes, less organizational commitment and both lower idealism and relativism.


business ethics codes of ethics corporate ethical values Spain 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Business AdministrationUniversity of MississippiUniversityU.S.A.
  2. 2.Departamento de Administración de Empresas y MarketingUniversidad de SevillaSevillaEspaña

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