Embedding the ethos of codes of ethics into corporate South Africa: current status

Mercy Mpinganjira, Mornay Roberts-Lombard, Greg Wood, Göran Svensson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aims to examine and describe ways that organisations in corporate South Africa try to embed ethos of corporate codes of ethics in their organisations. Design/methodology/approach: The study followed a quantitative research approach. The target population was the top 500 companies operating in the corporate sector by revenue. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire from 222 company secretaries and heads/managers responsible for ethics in the companies. Findings: The findings show that the majority of companies have regulations that can help promote ethics ethos. The most prevalent artefact in the area of regulation was found to be conduct of ethical audits. Training was found to be the most prevalent artefact under staff support. Research limitations/implications: The study was limited to large organisations in South Africa. The findings can thus not be generalised to include small- and medium- sized businesses which make up the largest segment of all businesses in South Africa. Practical implications: The research provides information that can be used to compare companies operating in different contexts on practices that help promote corporate ethics quality. It provides business managers with information that they can use to evaluate and benchmark their companies on practices that help promote the ethos of corporate codes of ethics. Originality/value: The study is the first of its kind to examine how organisations go about institutionalising codes of ethics in South Africa. The findings can be used by all sectors of South African business as a point of reference in their efforts aimed at embedding the ethos of ethics in their respective organisations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-351
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Business Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Codes of ethics
  • Ethics regulation
  • South Africa
  • Staff support on ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)


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