Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 1–13 | Cite as

An Analysis of the Ethical Codes of Corporations and Business Schools

  • Harrison McCrawEmail author
  • Kathy S. Moffeit
  • John R. O’MalleyJr.


Reports of ethical lapses in the business world have been numerous and widespread. Ethical awareness in business education has received a great deal of attention because of the number and severity of business scandals. Given Sarbanes-Oxley legislation and recent Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International’s (AACSBI) recommendations, this study examined respective websites of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulated public companies and AACSBI-accredited business schools for ethical policy statement content. The analysis was accomplished by classifying ethical expressions into a framework consisting of the attributes of thematic content and focus/themes partially based on the 2004 research of Gaumnitz and Lere. Findings indicate that public companies have been diligent in presenting website ethical content that closely follows authoritative recommendations. Business schools appear not to have prioritized such disclosure to the extent done so by public companies. Although there was improvement between two samples taken in 2005 and 2007, this study provides evidence that many accredited business schools have little or no disclosed ethical expectations in their mission, vision, goals, or other similar types of statements on their websites. Additional findings provide several opportunities for future research.


AACSBI corporate ethical codes ethical codes content of ethical codes Sarbanes-Oxley SEC 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harrison McCraw
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kathy S. Moffeit
    • 1
  • John R. O’MalleyJr.
    • 2
  1. 1.University of West GeorgiaCarrolltonU.S.A.
  2. 2.Georgia Southern UniversityStatesboroU.S.A.

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