The usefulness of corporate ethics programmes in integrating ethics into an organisation's culture

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Nel, Liza
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of International Communication
Unitec Institute of Technology
Du Plessis, Andries
Henson, Donna
Masters Dissertation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
corporate ethics programmes
organisational culture
Nel, L. (2008). The usefulness of corporate ethics programmes in integrating ethics into an organisation's culture. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of International Communication, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
This research project examined how useful the components (code of ethics, ethics training, rewarding and disciplining employees) of corporate ethics programmes are in integrating ethics into an organisation’s culture. Ethical standards need to be effectively communicated to employees to integrate ethics into their organisation’s culture. In this regard the communication channels used to inform employees about ethics also play a role and are examined as well. The components and communication channels were analysed and contextualised in terms of a literature review to enable a point of reference and comparison of all the above mentioned aspects after the empirical data was collected. It was decided that quantitative data collection was best suited to this study. An e-survey was executed amongst 483 member organisations of the Rosebank Business Association and the Avondale Business Association in Auckland in the last quarter of 2007. The e-survey was distributed to employees in management positions to capture information regarding corporate ethics programmes and communication channels. A total of 61 useable responses were received, which gave a response rate of 12.63%. After an analysis of the findings the researcher concluded that without the support of senior executives, corporate ethics programmes will be ineffective in integrating ethics into an organisations culture. The findings of the study further revealed that a code of ethics, ethical training, disciplining employees and rewarding employees are useful in integrating ethics into an organisation’s culture. It was also concluded that the direct physical communication channel is the most useful for informing employees about ethics. The main recommendation concerning the Rosebank and Avondale Business Associations is that senior executives should continue to set the example regarding ethical behaviour. Furthermore large and medium size organisations should continue to inform employees about ethics by making use of the Intranet in particular. More research is needed regarding specific components of corporate ethics programmes, as it is unclear whether, amongst others, the penalty or disciplinary approach are most useful in integrating ethics into an organisation’s culture.
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