Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 217–225 | Cite as

Organizational Ethical Culture: Real or Imagined?

  • Susan Key


Can companies be identified by how ethical they are? The concept of organizational culture suggests that organizations have identifiable cultures of which ethics are a part. By definition culture is the shared beliefs of an organization's members, hence the ethical culture of an organization would be reflected in the beliefs about the ethics of an organization which are shared by its members. Thus, it is logical to conceptualize the ethics of different organizations as existing on a continuum bounded at one end by unethical companies and at the other, highly ethical companies. This research assesses the efficacy of the existing measure of organizational ethical culture for identifying the ethical status of organizations on a this continuum. Results suggest that the Ethical Culture Questionnaire designed by Trevino, Butterfield and McCabe (1995) measures individual perceptions regarding organizational ethics but does not identify shared beliefs about an organizationÕs ethical culture.


Economic Growth Organizational Culture Ethical Status Individual Perception Ethical Culture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Key
    • 1
  1. 1.School of BusinessUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamSouth BirminghamU.S.A. E-mail

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