Codes of Ethics within Multinational Corporations: Review of an Emerging Qualitative Field of Research

Anna Kirkebæk Johansson Gosovic

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Within the literature on codes of ethics, scholars have primarily focused on hypothesis testing e.g. by measuring the correlation with codes and other variables. Until recently, academic literature has considered more rarely how codes of ethics are perceived and translated into action by different actors within various organizational settings. This review explores if and how a knowledge gap within qualitative, transformation-oriented and longitudinal studies on codes of ethics, identified by Helin and Sandström, has been addressed and summarizes the qualitative research on codes of ethics from 2005 to 2017. The reviewed studies are categorized in content-oriented, output-oriented and transformation-oriented studies and analyzed using the theoretical lenses of recontextualization, sensegiving and sensemaking. The review demonstrates how codes of ethics take on new meanings when introduced into different cultural contexts. It further argues that this empirical insight may be an important learning point for multinational companies when aspiring to ensure adherence to codes of ethics across their global corporations. The article concludes that a research gap remains
within qualitative research on codes of ethics, and that MNCs could benefit from further research on recontextualization of codes of ethics within various parts of individual MNCs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages50
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventThe 43rd EIBA Annual Conference 2017. European International Business Academy: International Business in the Information Age - Politecnico di Milano, Bovisa Campus, Milano, Italy
Duration: 14 Dec 201715 Dec 2017
Conference number: 43


ConferenceThe 43rd EIBA Annual Conference 2017. European International Business Academy
LocationPolitecnico di Milano, Bovisa Campus
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