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Do corporate codes of ethics reflect issues of societal transformation? Western German and Slovak companies compared

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Can differences in corporate codes of ethics arise from the specific situation of transformation in Slovakia in contrast to the stable context of the firms in Western Germany? This paper compares codes of ethics of large-scale enterprises in both countries in terms of ethical issues addressed. It demonstrates that codes of ethics of the Slovak companies mirror the specific transformational circumstances in the country. Compared with Western Germany the codes of these firms include multiple ethical issues, meaning that they experience a broader range of relevant ethical problems. Furthermore, their codes are internally oriented, in terms of the ethical issues raised most often; they put more emphasis on committing employees, managers and shareholders/owners to the firm. Based on the differences discovered, it is proposed that negative experiences within the past process of transformation and in part the socialist heritage are the main reasons for differences between the two samples.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Lecturer in Organization Studies, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany; and 2: Professor, Department of Management, Faculty of Management, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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