Ethical codes of conduct in Irish companies: A survey of code content and enforcement procedures

Brendan O'Dwyer, Grainne Madden

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper reports on an investigation of issues surrounding the use of ethical codes/codes of conduct in Irish based companies. Using a comprehensive questionnaire survey, the paper examines the incidence, content and enforcement of codes of conduct among a sample of the top 1000 companies based in Ireland. The main findings indicate that the overall usage of codes of conduct amongst indigenous Irish companies has increased significantly from 1995 to 2000. However, in line with prior research, these codes focus primarily on issues surrounding company and employee protection as opposed to society protection. Almost half of all codes are written by company personnel or provided by head office. Revisions of codes are common but formal ongoing methods of instructing new staff about codes are not prevalent. Less than one-third of companies with codes have formal channels for reporting violations but a high percentage have formal disciplinary procedures in place for breaches of codes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-236
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


  • Business ethics
  • Code of conduct
  • Code of ethics
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Ireland


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