Purpose – Corporate codes of conduct originated around 1900 in the USA gaining further momentum in the 1950s in relation to anti-trust legislation. Subsequently, the adoption of codes of ethics has spread throughout the world and they now feature extensively in many organisations. The literature relating to codes of ethics, therefore, spans many decades and is undoubtedly comprehensive. The purpose of the paper is to provide an appropriate anthology of codes of ethics. Design/methodology/approach – A descriptive, historical, anthological approach has been taken. Findings – This paper examines the motivations for the adoption of codes of ethics, which naturally also includes international codes, their frequency of use and content. Codes are also not without critique and it is appropriate to highlight the criticisms of codes, to provide an assessment of their potential effectiveness, the issues surrounding implementation and enforcement and the relationship to organisational culture and leadership. Research limitations/implications – As noted, the literature on codes of conduct is extensive and while effort has been made to capture the key themes the review is not necessarily exhaustive. Originality/value – The literature is characterised by the means of institutionalising ethics in organisations and the paper concludes with a summative reflection on the key dimensions that appear to be paramount for improving the efficacy of codes of conduct.
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Field of Research
220107 Professional Ethics (incl police and research ethics)
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