Codes of Ethics of Selected Malaysian Companies: Contents, Processes and Effectiveness

Fredericks, L. J.; Heng Kiah Ngan
February 2011
Asian Journal of Business Management;Feb2011, Vol. 3 Issue 1, p50
Academic Journal
Corporate codes of ethics attempt to influence and institutionalize the primary corporate values and behavioural norms in employees particularly and such other stakeholders as customers and suppliers. This study focuses on the contents, processes and efficacy of Malaysian corporate codes applying a questionnaire survey and code content analysis of corporations drawn from selected lists. Code occurrence was high among Malaysian companies although, given the relatively small respondent number, no clear links appear between demographics and the adoption of ethical codes. Codes tended to be modeled on extant documents (other companies, headquarters or industry) indicating little, if any, stakeholder participation while its administration was vested primarily with management. Malaysian ethical codes are rule-based, legalistic documents preserving the company's interests although some tendency towards becoming more value-laden and embedding moral foundations were discerned. Codes were primarily distributed to employees with little ethical training provided. Code enforcement was reflected in facilities for reporting violations, formal disciplinary procedures and avenues for staff to seek advice or offer suggestions. However, confidentiality issues cloud the effectiveness of this feedback mechanism. Most employees felt that code enforcement was central to the perception of its efficacy. Some cross-cultural comparisons are also analyzed.


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