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The Perils and Opportunities of Communicating Corporate Ethics

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This paper examines critical success factors for ethics-related corporate communication with a view to helping companies communicate their ethical stance more effectively. We analyze this communication process from the company's point of view and discuss the implications of source credibility, attitude formation, audience involvement and media choice for image management. We argue that the ideal relationship between corporate ethics, corporate communication, and corporate image is a sequence of activities, with companies adjusting their messages as they change their business conduct. In this way, public perceptions are a fair reflection of corporate behaviour. This process should be a continuous, upward moving cycle that stops when the company's public image matches its desired image. We also point out the dangers inherent in communicating corporate ethics, including public cynicism and elevated stakeholder expectations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-04-01

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