Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 117, Issue 2, pp 361–369 | Cite as

How Ethical are U.S. Business Executives? A Study of Perceptions

  • Betsy Stevens


Not much has been written about how the ethics of U.S. business executives are perceived by the American public, yet the perception of integrity is important to both businesses and their investors. This study examines the U.S. public’s perceptions of the ethics of American business executives using Gallup Poll data for the past thirty years. Organizations with unethical executives have trouble attracting investors, customers, and new managerial talent. They suffer lawsuits, market share deterioration, and often prison time for the once-revered leaders. This study also looked at the U.S.’s relative standing on the Corruption Perceptions Index and the Edelman Trust Barometer. Confidence in the ethics of the U.S. business executive remains fairly low on the Gallup Poll surveys and the U.S. has declined on the CPI and Edelman Trust Barometer.


Corporate ethical codes Ethics of business executives American business ethics Business ethics Ethics and values Honesty and ethics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Martha and Spencer Love School of BusinessElon UniversityElonUSA

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