Title: The moral standard of a company: performing the norms of corporate codes

Authors: Aat Brakel

Addresses: Prins Constantijnlaan 4, 8084 AG 't Harde, The Netherlands

Abstract: Bottom lines and codes provide a corporation with guidelines for dealing with the inside and outside world. Bottom lines have the oldest papers through Frederic Taylor|s Scientific Management, dated beginning 20th century. Codes came into existence in its midst with the emerging sustainability agenda, referring both to technical detail and human judgement. Corporate codes present themselves as a policy document with collective rules handed down by way of a top-down approach. Since an effective code is dependent on the motivation of individual employees, this article proposes the additional view of a bottom-up approach. By sharing values in concrete work employees become co-owners of the code. Top-down and bottom-up approaches thus emerge in a complementary relationship. A relevant organisational context would be a parallel structure of action and reflection, thus facilitating balanced thinking in the sustainability domain and contributing to an |ethical calibre| or |moral standard| of a corporation.

Keywords: corporate governance; moral standards; code of ethics; stakeholders; dichotomy; top-down; bottom-up; business governance; value-sharing; organisational structure; multinational corporations; MNCs; corporate codes; sustainability; ethical calibre; corporate social responsibility; CSR.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBGE.2007.011936

International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, 2007 Vol.3 No.1, pp.95 - 103

Published online: 01 Jan 2007 *

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