Stimulating ethical behavior through innovative ethics officers: An empirical study

Sjoerd Hogenbirk, Desirée H. van Dun, Christophe Gillis

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Abstract

Ethical misconduct and violations have been shown to seriously harm individuals and organizations and lead to massive fines or dismissals of employees and CEOs. Many firms have implemented formal ethics programs in order to prevent unethical behavior, yet such programs are often ineffective and take a traditional approach. This study investigated the role of personal characteristics and innovative work behavior of ethics officers, who are responsible for developing and improving ethics programs. An online survey was conducted among 114 Dutch ethics officers in large organizations. The data was analysed via Structural Equations Modeling and regression analysis. We found that ethics programs are perceived as more effective and may result in more normative ethical behavior when ethics officers engage in innovative work behavior. This is, in turn, influenced by ethics officers’ personal characteristics, namely conscientiousness and openness to experience. The personal characteristics of ethics officers are therefore essential input for implementing innovative work behavior. Contrary to existing views, we suggest that ethics officers should be seen as leading actors in corporate change towards more ethical behavior and therefore need to develop their personal characteristics. Future research is recommended for examining the work and personal characteristics of ethics officers in order to develop more ethical behavior in the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2018
EventSociety for Business Ethics (SBE) Annual Conference 2018 - Warwick Allerton Hotel, Chicago, United States
Duration: 10 Aug 201812 Aug 2018
https://www.sbeonline.org/conference/2018/

Conference

ConferenceSociety for Business Ethics (SBE) Annual Conference 2018
CountryUnited States
CityChicago
Period10/08/1812/08/18
Internet address

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Hogenbirk, S., van Dun, D. H., & Gillis, C. (2018). Stimulating ethical behavior through innovative ethics officers: An empirical study. Paper presented at Society for Business Ethics (SBE) Annual Conference 2018, Chicago, United States.