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An Examination into the Disclosure, Structure, and Contents of Ethical Codes in Publicly Listed Acquiring Firms


  • Virginia Bodolica


  • Martin Spraggon



Due to the prevalent influence of legal trends in driving ethical homogenization and persistent decoupling between ethical substance and symbolism in today’s organizations, scholars are calling for a renewed interest in the structural makeup of ethical codes. This article explores the disclosure trends and examines the contents of codes of ethics in the context of Canadian publicly listed acquirers. Relying on the analysis of codes’ public availability, structure, purpose, and promoted values, four clusters of behavior are identified. Although many firms avoid the public disclosure of their codes, the results indicate that code of ethics’ patterns in sample firms are not driven merely by regulatory forces but increasingly shaped by aspirations for building a sustainable values-based corporation. The reported differences across clusters demonstrate that many companies in Canada overcome isomorphic pressures by displaying some originality in the writing of their codes. While symbolism in codes of ethics’ design and adoption prevails in publicly listed acquiring firms, the study provides evidence of an emerging trend of substantial commitment to social responsibilities. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Virginia Bodolica & Martin Spraggon, 2015. "An Examination into the Disclosure, Structure, and Contents of Ethical Codes in Publicly Listed Acquiring Firms," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 126(3), pages 459-472, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:126:y:2015:i:3:p:459-472
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-013-1966-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

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