Journal of Business and Management

Journal of Business and Management

ISSN: 2291-1995 (Print)    ISSN: 2291-2002 (Online)

Volume 3 (2014), No. 4, Pages 28-39

DOI: 10.12735/jbm.v3i4p28

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National Differences in Stakeholder Pressure to Adopt Codes of Ethics: A Four-Country Study

Christopher J. Robertson1  K. Matthew Gilley2  Bradley J. Olson3  Yongjian Bao3  Xingfu Zhang4 

1College of Business Administration, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA
2Department of Management, Bill Greehey School of Business, St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX, USA
3University of Lethbridge, Canada
4Antai School of Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China


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Academic research related to the perceived value of ethics codes in different national contexts has been limited despite burgeoning interest by managers, government officials and members of international nonprofit organizations. The purpose of this study is to assess the relationship between promoting a positive external firm image and stakeholder pressure to adopt codes of ethics. Moreover, we assess the extent to which market and non-market stakeholder pressure varies across national borders. A survey instrument developed in the United States is adapted to a cross-national setting and hypotheses related to codes of ethics are tested. Empirical results based on 540 respondents from four nations, Peru, China, the United States and Canada, support that national differences exist with respect to perceptions of ethics codes. A significant relationship between creating an external image and perceived pressure from stakeholders is also identified. Study limitations, managerial implications, and promising future research directions are also discussed.

JEL Classifications: F53, O20

Keywords: ethics codes, stakeholder theory, cross-cultural management

To Cite this Article: Robertson, C. J., Gilley, K. M., Olson, B. J., Bao, Y. J., & Zhang, X. F. (2014). National differences in stakeholder pressure to adopt codes of ethics: A four-country study. Journal of Business and Management, 3(4), 28-39.

Copyright © Christopher J. Robertson et al.

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This article is published under license to Science and Education Centre of North America. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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National Differences in Stakeholder Pressure to Adopt Codes of Ethics: A Four-Country Study