IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Developing effective ethics for effective behavior

Listed author(s):
  • Steven E. Wallis
Registered author(s):

    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the internal structure of Gandhi's ethics as a way to determine opportunities for improving that system's ability to influence behavior. In this paper, the author aims to work under the idea that a system of ethics is a guide for social responsibility. Design/methodology/approach - The data source is Gandhi's set of ethics as described by Naess. These simple (primarily quantitative) studies compare the concepts within the code of ethics, and their relationships to one another. Findings - Gandhi's ethics are robust at the 0.25 level (the scale is zero to one – zero is lowest). This is consistent with theories of the social sciences (that do not work well in practice). Gandhi's success might be ascribed to his leadership ability. Research limitations/implications - Some suggest this approach is reductionist because of its superficial similarity to approaches of physical science. The implications for research are profound. First, this approach provides an objective method for comparing (and so, advancing) systems of ethics. Second, this paper suggests the opportunity to compare the internal structure of ethics with “external” aspects – the implementation of ethical systems. Practical implications - By itself, Gandhi's system of ethics cannot be reliably applied in practice - it cannot be expected to change behavior more than any other system of ethics. This raises concerns about other ethical codes as well. The practical implications of the form of analysis presented in this paper are immense because it provides a way for practitioners to objectively compare two codes of ethics and determine which one will be more effective. Originality/value - The approach documented in the paper has never been applied to the field of ethics. It is unique in that it addresses the “internal” structure of a system of ethics (compared to the “external”, or application, of ethical systems).

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Social Responsibility Journal.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (October)
    Pages: 536-550

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eme:srjpps:v:6:y:2010:i:4:p:536-550
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK
    Web: Email:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:srjpps:v:6:y:2010:i:4:p:536-550. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Louise Lister)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.