Skip to the content

Ethical codes of conduct: Theory and application in small and medium businesses

Doran, CE 2014, Ethical codes of conduct: Theory and application in small and medium businesses , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

[img] PDF
Download (10MB)


Organisational ethical codes of conduct have come into prominence since the millennium. However, the literature has focused predominantly on these codes in the setting of large organisations. This thesis explores ethical codes of conduct in the context of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in the UK. The aim of the research investigation was to explore and examine the way in which SMEs adopt ethical codes of conduct and how these are created, implemented and realised throughout the organisation. This research adopted a Grounded Theory approach in order to develop a conceptual framework whereby eleven themes were identified from the literature and previous research. These themes are the nucleous of a conceptual framework and include a number of associated factors leading to the formulation of five research questions. In order to investigate the research questions a mixed-methods approach was adopted thereby providing an explanatory sequential data collection and analysis. The data collection process involved eighty-four SME owner-managers taking part in a survey, which was of a quantitative nature, covering topics related to the prevalence and engagement of ethical codes of conduct. Vignette questions featured as part of the survey for the purpose of response validity and reliability. The analysis and interpretation of the survey findings led to the development of a series of semi-structured interview questions with the view that a qualitative approach would provide far richer information and scope to cover the eleven themes. Five SMEs agreed to participate in the interview investigation, which included individuals at Managing Director, Middle Management and employee levels. In total, fifteen interviews were undertaken, providing valuable data. The final analysis identified that the prevalence of codes of conduct in SMEs is far higher than indicated in the literature. However, areas of measurement, monitoring and effectiveness of codes of conduct were somewhat lacking. This enabled the researcher to develop and construct a framework, which SMEs can use to assess their level of engagement in ethical codes of conduct. A further contribution was the development and evaluation of twenty-two emerging outcomes based on the eleven themes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Themes: Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School > Business and Management Research Centre
Funders: University of Salford
Depositing User: CE Doran
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2015 12:57
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2015 00:46

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year