Advertisement

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 128, Issue 4, pp 725–742 | Cite as

Level of Coherence Among Ethics Program Components and Its Impact on Ethical Intent

  • Pablo Ruiz
  • Ricardo Martinez
  • Job Rodrigo
  • Cristina Diaz
Article

Abstract

Three ethics program components, a code of ethics, ethics training initiatives and ethics-oriented performance appraisal content, were examined for their relationship to ethical intent using a sample of 525 employees from the Spanish financial services industry. As expected, all three components contributed to the prediction of ethical intent. Importantly, clusters of employees who reported experiencing distinct combinations of the program components were identified and compared for their level of ethical intent. Employees who perceived all three components to be strongly implemented reported significantly higher levels of ethical intent relative to those who viewed the components as either all weakly implemented or not present. Combinations including training initiatives plus one other element had a similar impact to the fully implemented approach. Contrary to expectations, ethics-oriented performance appraisal content did not relate more strongly to ethical intent than codes of ethics.

Keywords

Ethics program Integrated approach Decoupling Ethical intent Coherence 

References

  1. Adam, M. A., & Rachman-Moore, D. (2004). The methods used to implement an ethical code of conduct and employee attitudes. Journal of Business Ethics, 54(3), 225–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Argandoña, A. (2009). Can corporate social responsibility help us understand the credit crisis?. Working Paper WP-790, IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.Google Scholar
  3. Armstrong, J. S., & Overton, T. S. (1977). Estimating non response bias in mail surveys. Journal of Marketing Research, 14(3), 396–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Azjen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1980). Understanding attitudes and predicting social behaviour. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  5. Banaji, M. R., Bazerman, M. H., & Chugh, D. (2003). How (un)ethical are you? Harvard Business Review, 81(12), 56–64.Google Scholar
  6. Beekun, R., Stedham, Y., Westerman, J., & Yamamura, J. (2010). Effects of justice and utilitarianism on ethical decision making: A cross-cultural examination of gender similarities and differences. Business Ethics: A European Review, 19(4), 309–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Belsley, D. A. (1991). Conditioning diagnostics: Collinearity and weak data in regression. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
  8. Bray, C. (2013). Perfume, dresses and cash in Ralph Lauren bribe case. The Wall Street Journal, April 23, B1.Google Scholar
  9. Camarero, C. (2007). Relationship orientation or service quality? What is the trigger of performance in financial and insurance services? The International Journal of Bank Marketing, 25(6), 406–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carroll, A. B., & Bucholtz, A. K. (2008). Business and society: Ethics and stakeholder management. Mason, OH: South Western Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
  11. Cleek, M. A., & Leonard, S. L. (1998). Can corporate codes of ethics influence behaviour? Journal of Business Ethics, 17(6), 619–630.Google Scholar
  12. Cohen-Charash, Y., & Spector, P. E. (2001). The role of justice in organizations: A meta-analysis. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 86(2), 278–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Collins, D. (2000). The quest to improve the human condition. Journal of Business Ethics, 26(1), 1–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Conway, J. M., & Lance, C. E. (2010). What reviewers should expect from authors regarding common method bias in organizational research. Journal of Business Psychology, 25, 325–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cooper, R. W., & Frank, G. L. (2002). Ethical challenges in the two main segments of the insurance industry: Key considerations in the evolving financial services marketplace. Journal of Business Ethics, 36(1–2), 5–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cropanzano, R., & Stein, J. H. (2009). Organizational justice and behavioral ethics: Promises and prospects. Business Ethics Quarterly, 19(2), 193–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. de Colle, S., & Gonella, C. (2002). The social and ethical alchemy: An integrative approach to social and ethical accountability. Business Ethics: A European Review, 11(1), 86–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Delaney, J. T., & Sockell, D. (1992). Do company ethics training programs make a difference? An empirical analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(9), 719–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Deshpande, S. P., Joseph, J., & Prasad, R. (2006). Factors impacting ethical behavior in hospitals. Journal of Business Ethics, 69, 207–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Elango, B., Paul, K., Kundu, S. K., & Paudel, S. K. (2010). Organizational ethics, individual ethics, and ethical intentions in international decision-making. Journal of Business Ethics, 97(4), 543–561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ethics Resource Center. (2003). What to do after your code of conduct is written, ethics today. Arlington, VA, USA. Retrieved July 20, 2012 from http://www.ethics.org/resource/what-do-after-your-code-conduct-written.
  22. Ethics Resource Center. (2005). National business ethics survey, how employees view ethics in their organizations. 19942005. Arlington, VA, USA. Retrieved July 20, 2012 from http://www.ethics.org/topic/national-surveys.
  23. Ethics Resource Center. (2007). National business ethics survey, an inside view of private sector ethics. Arlington, VA, USA. Retrieved July 20, 2012 from http://www.ethics.org/topic/national-surveys.
  24. Ethics Resource Center. (2009). National business ethics survey, ethics in the recession. Arlington, VA, USA. Retrieved July 21, 2012 from http://www.ethics.org/topic/national-surveys.
  25. Ethics Resource Center. (2011). National business ethics survey, workplace ethics in transition. Arlington, VA, USA. Retrieved July 21, 2012 from http://www.ethics.org/topic/national-surveys.
  26. Ethics Resource Center. (2012). National business ethics survey of fortune 500 employees, an investigation into the state of ethics at America’s most powerful companies. Arlington, VA, USA. Retrieved August 27, 2013 from http://www.ethics.org/topic/national-surveys.
  27. Eynon, G., Hill, N. Y., & Stevens, K. T. (1997). Factors that influence the moral reasoning abilities of accountants: Implications for universities and the profession. Journal of Business Ethics, 16(12/13), 1297–1309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Finegan, J., & Theriault, C. (1997). The relationships between personal values and the perception of the corporation’s code of ethics. Journal of Applied Psychology, 27(8), 708–724.Google Scholar
  29. Fontrodona, J. & de los Santos, J. (2004). Clima Ético De La Empresa Española: Grado De Implantación De Prácticas Éticas. Working Paper 538, IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.Google Scholar
  30. Ford, R. C., & Richardson, W. D. (1994). Ethical decision making: A review of the empirical literature. Journal of Business Ethics, 13(3), 205–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fritzsche, D. J. (2000). Ethical climates and the ethical dimension of decision making. Journal of Business Ethics, 24(2), 125–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gautschi, F. H. III, & Jones, T. M. (1998). Enhancing the ability of business students to recognize ethical issues: An empirical assessment of the effectiveness of a course in business ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 17, 205–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Granitz, N. A. (2003). Individual, social and organizational sources of sharing and variation in the ethical reasoning of managers. Journal of Business Ethics, 42, 101–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Groom, B. (2011, 3 October). Bosses put profits before ethics, says survey. Financial Times.Google Scholar
  35. Gross-Schaefer, A., Trigilio, J., Negus, J., & Ro, C.-S. (2000). Ethics education in the workplace: An effective tool to combat employee theft. Journal of Business Ethics, 26, 89–100.Google Scholar
  36. Guillén, M., Melé, D., & Murphy, P. (2002). European vs American approaches to institutionalization of business ethics: The Spanish case. Business Ethics: A European Review, 11(2), 167–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hair, J. F., Jr., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., & Tatham, R. L. (2006). Multivariate data analysis (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  38. Heslin, P. A., & VandeWalle, D. (2011). Performance appraisal procedural justice: The role of the manager’s implicit person theory. Journal of Management, 37(6), 1694–1718. doi: 10.1177/0149206309342895.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Heugens, P. P. M. A. R., Kaptein, M., & van Oosterhout, J. H. (2004). Ties that grid? Corroborating a typology of social contracting problems. Journal of Business Ethics, 49(3), 235–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hinkin, T. R. (1995). A review of scale development practices in the study of organizations. Journal of Management, 21(5), 967–988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hofstede, G. (1967–2009). Geert Hofstede™ cultural dimensions. Retrieved September 20, 2010 from http://www.geert-hofstede.com.
  42. Husted, B. W., Dozier, J. B., McMahon, J. T., & Kattan, M. W. (1996). The impact of cross-national carriers of business ethics on attitudes about questionable practices and form of moral reasoning. Journal of International Business Studies, 27(2), 391–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Institute of Business Ethics. (2008). Employee views of ethics at work: The 2008 national survey, London, UK. Retrieved August 20, 2013 from http://www.ibe.org.uk/index.asp?upid=121&msid=8.
  44. Institute of Business Ethics. (2012a). Employee views of ethics at work: 2012 continental Europe survey, London, UK. Retrieved August 27, 2013 from http://www.ibe.org.uk/index.asp?upid=121&msid=8.
  45. Institute of Business Ethics. (2012b). Employee views of ethics at work: 2012 British survey, London, UK. Retrieved August 27, 2013 from http://www.ibe.org.uk/index.asp?upid=121&msid=8.
  46. Jaccard, J. (1998). Interaction effects in factorial analysis of variance, Sage University paper series on quantitative applications in the social sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  47. Jacobs, G., Belschak, F. D., & Den Hartog, D. N. (2013). (Un)ethical behavior and performance appraisal: The role of affect, support, and organizational justice. Journal of Business Ethics,. doi: 10.1007/s10551-013-1687-1.Google Scholar
  48. Jose, A., & Thibodeaux, M. S. (1999). Institutionalisation of ethics: The perspective of managers. Journal of Business Ethics, 22(2), 133–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Joseph, J. (2003). National business ethics survey: How employees view ethics in their organizations. Arlington, VA: Ethics Resource Center.Google Scholar
  50. Jovanovic, S., & Wood, R. V. (2007). Dialectical interactions: Decoupling and integrating ethics in ethics initiatives. Business Ethics Quarterly, 17(2), 217–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kamukama, N., Ahiauzu, A., & Ntayi, J. M. (2011). Competitive advantage: Mediator of intellectual capital and performance. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 12(1), 152–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kaptein, M. (2009). Ethics programs and ethical culture: A next step in unraveling their multi-faceted relationship. Journal of Business Ethics, 89(2), 261–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Kaptein, M. (2011). Understanding unethical behavior by unravelling ethical culture. Human Relations, 64(6), 843–869.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Kaptein, M., & Schwartz, M. S. (2008). The effectiveness of business codes: A critical examination of existing studies and the development of an integrated research model. Journal of Business Ethics, 77(2), 11–127.Google Scholar
  55. Kish-Gephart, J. J., Harrison, D. A., & Treviño, L. K. (2010). Bad apples, bad cases, and bad barrels: Meta-analytic evidence about sources of unethical decisions at work. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(1), 1–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Kleinbaum, D. G., Kupper, L. L., & Muller, K. E. (1988). Applied regression analysis and other multivariate analysis methods. Boston, MA: PWS-Kent.Google Scholar
  57. Langlois, L., & Lapointe, C. (2010). Can ethics be learned? Results from a three-year action-research project. Journal of Educational Administration, 48(2), 147–163.Google Scholar
  58. Lindell, M. K., & Whitney, D. J. (2001). Accounting for common method variance in cross-sectional research designs. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(1), 114–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. MacLean, T., & Behnam, M. (2010). The dangers of decoupling: The relationship between compliance programs, legitimacy perceptions and institutionalized misconduct. Academy of Management Journal, 53(6), 1499–1520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Malhotra, N. K., Kim, S. S., & Patil, A. (2006). Common method variance in is research: A comparison of alternative approaches and a reanalysis of past research. Management Science, 52(12), 1865–1883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. McCabe, D. L., Treviño, L. K., & Butterfield, K. D. (1996). The influence of collegiate and corporate codes of conduct on ethics-related behaviour in the workplace. Business Ethics Quarterly, 6(4), 461–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Noe, R. A. (2012). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.Google Scholar
  63. Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhart, B., & Wright, P. M. (2012). Human resource management: Gaining a competitive advantage (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.Google Scholar
  64. O’Fallon, M. J., & Butterfield, K. D. (2005). A review of the empirical ethical decision-making literature: 1996–2003. Journal of Business Ethics, 59(4), 375–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Paine, L. (1994). Managing for organizational integrity. Harvard Business Review, 72(2), 106–117.Google Scholar
  66. Palazzolo, J. (2012). The business of bribery. The Wall Street Journal, October 2, B1.Google Scholar
  67. Perneger, T. V. (1998). What’s wrong with Bonferroni adjustments. British Medical Journal, 316, 1236–1238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Peterson, D. (2004). Perceived leader integrity and ethical intentions of subordinates. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 25(1), 7–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J. Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879–903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Podsakoff, P. M., & Organ, D. W. (1986). Self reports in organizational research: Problems and prospects. Journal of Management, 12(4), 531–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Rest, J. (1994). Background: Theory and research. In J. Rest & D. Narvaez (Eds.), Moral development in the professions: Psychology and applied ethics (pp. 1–26). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  72. Rothfeld, M. & Strumpf, D. (2012). Gupta get two years for leaking insider tips. The Wall Street Journal, October 25, A1.Google Scholar
  73. Ruiz-Palomino, P., & Martinez-Cañas, R. (2011). Supervisor role modeling, ethics-related organizational policies, and employee ethical intention: The moderating impact of moral ideology. Journal of Business Ethics, 102(4), 653–668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Safizadeh, M. H., Field, J. M., & Ritzman, L. P. (2008). Sourcing practices and boundaries of the firm in the financial services industry. Strategic Management Journal, 29(1), 79–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Sandberg, J. (2012). Ethics in corporations. In R. Chadwick (Ed.), Encycopledia of applied ethics (2nd ed., pp. 656–666). Salt Lake City, UT: Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Selvarajan, R., & Cloninger, P. A. (2008). The importance of accurate performance appraisals for creating ethical organizations. Journal of Applied Business Research, 24(3), 39–44.Google Scholar
  77. Selvarajan, R., & Cloninger, P. A. (2009). The influence of job performance outcomes on ethical assessments. Personnel Review, 38(4), 398–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Sims, R. R., & Brinkman, J. (2003). Enron ethics (or: Culture matters more than codes). Journal of Business Ethics, 45(3), 243–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Sims, R. L., & Gegez, A. E. (2004). Attitudes toward business ethics: A five nation comparative study. Journal of Business Ethics, 50, 253–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Singh, J. B. (2006). Ethics programs in Canada’s largest corporations. Business and Society Review, 111, 119–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Smither, J. W., & London, M. (2009). Performance management: Putting research into action. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  82. Spector, P. E. (2006). Method variance in organizational research: Truth or urban legend. Organizational Research Methods, 9(2), 221–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Stevens, B. (2009). Corporate ethical codes as strategic documents: An analysis of success and failure. Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, 14(2), 14–20.Google Scholar
  84. Stevens, J. M., Steensma, H. K., Harrison, D. A., & Cochran, P. L. (2005). Symbolic or substantive document? The influence of ethics codes on financial executives’ decisions. Strategic Management Journal, 26, 181–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Thorne, L., & Saunders, S. B. (2002). The socio-cultural embeddedness of individuals’ ethical reasoning in organizations (cross-cultural ethics). Journal of Business Ethics, 35, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Treviño, L. K., & Weaver, G. R. (2001). Organizational justice and ethics program ‘follow through’: Influences on employees harmful and helpful behaviour. Business Ethics Quarterly, 11(4), 651–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Treviño, L. K., Weaver, G. R., & Brown, M. E. (2008). It’s lovely at the top: Hierarchical levels, identities, and perceptions of organizational ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 18(2), 233–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Treviño, L. K., Weaver, G. R., Gibson, D. G., & Toffler, B. L. (1999). Managing ethics and legal compliance: What works and what hurts. California Management Review, 41(2), 131–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Valentine, S., & Fleischman, G. (2004). Ethics training and businesspersons’ perceptions of organizational ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 52, 381–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Valentine, S., & Fleischman, G. (2008). Ethics programs, perceived corporate social responsibility and job satisfaction. Journal of Business Ethics, 77, 159–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Valentine, S., Greller, M. M., & Richtermeyer, S. (2006). Employee job response as a function of ethical context and perceived organization support. Journal of Business Research, 59(5), 582–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Valentine, S., & Hollingworth, D. (2012). Moral intensity, issue importance, and ethical reasoning in operations situations. Journal of Business Ethics, 108(4), 509–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Valentine, S. R., & Rittenburg, T. L. (2004). Spanish and American business professionals’ ethical evaluations in global situations. Journal of Business Ethics, 51, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Valentine, S. R., & Rittenburg, T. L. (2007). The ethical decision making of men and women executives in international business situations. Journal of Business Ethics, 71, 125–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Valentine, S., Varca, P., Godkin, L., & Barnett, T. (2010). Positive job response and ethical job performance. Journal of Business Ethics, 91(2), 195–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Vitell, S. J., Bakir, A., Paolillo, J. G. P., Ramos, E., Al-Khatib, J., & Rawwas, M. Y. A. (2003). Ethical judgments and intentions: A multinational study of marketing professionals. Business Ethics: A European Review, 12(2), 151–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Vitell, S. J., & Ramos Hidalgo, E. R. (2006). 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. Journal of Business Ethics, 64, 31–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Weaver, G. R., & Treviño, L. K. (1999). Compliance and values oriented ethics programs: Influences on employees’ attitudes and behaviors. Business Ethics Quarterly, 9, 315–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Weaver, G. R., & Treviño, L. K. (2001). The role of human resources in ethics/compliance management: A fairness perspective. Human Resource Management Review, 11(1/2), 113–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Weaver, G. R., Treviño, L. K., & Cochran, P. L. (1999a). Corporate ethics practices in the mid-1990s: An empirical study of the fortune 1000. Journal of Business Ethics, 18(3), 283–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Weaver, G. R., Treviño, L. K., & Cochran, P. L. (1999b). Integrated and decoupled corporate social performance: Management commitments, external pressures and corporate ethics. Academy of Management Journal, 42(5), 539–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Weaver, G. R., Treviño, L. K., & Cochran, P. L. (1999c). Corporate ethics programs as control systems: Influences of executive commitment and environmental factors. Academy of Management Journal, 42(1), 41–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Weber, J. (1993). Institutionalizing ethics into business organizations: A model and research agenda. Business Ethics Quarterly, 3(4), 419–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pablo Ruiz
    • 1
  • Ricardo Martinez
    • 1
  • Job Rodrigo
    • 1
  • Cristina Diaz
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaCuencaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics and Business AdministrationUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaAlbaceteSpain

Personalised recommendations