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The bottom-line benefits of ethics code commitment


  • Gilley, K. Matthew
  • Robertson, Christopher J.
  • Mazur, Tim C.


Recent corporate scandals highlight that an exclusive focus on financial performance, to the exclusion of broader stakeholder-related performance criteria, can be detrimental to overall firm value creation. Among the ways to enhance leaders' focus on stakeholder value creation is the development and executive championing of an effective code of ethics. Such "Ethics Code Commitment" (ECC)--which incorporates characteristics of the code and behaviors by top management--affects a broad number of organizational stakeholders, yielding value for them, thus increasing their psychological and/or financial commitment to the organization while strengthening the firm's corporate culture. This article develops a model highlighting the various benefits of ECC to key stakeholders and the subsequent effects on an organization's culture and competitiveness. In particular, we focus on the need to include community leaders and key employees in the ethics code development process; the importance of moving away from a purely legalistic document to one that inspires stakeholders; the importance of linking ethics to strategy; and managerial approaches that can enhance the effectiveness of the code of ethics through ethics-related dialog. When developed and implemented correctly, ECC can prove to be an important source of competitive advantage via the effects it has on relationships between the firm and key stakeholders.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilley, K. Matthew & Robertson, Christopher J. & Mazur, Tim C., 2010. "The bottom-line benefits of ethics code commitment," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 31-37, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:bushor:v:53:y:2010:i:1:p:31-37

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Werther, William Jr. & Chandler, David, 2005. "Strategic corporate social responsibility as global brand insurance," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 317-324.
    2. Falck, Oliver & Heblich, Stephan, 2007. "Corporate social responsibility: Doing well by doing good," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 247-254.
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