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Quality Of Code Of Ethics: An Empirical Analysis On The Stakeholder Employee

Tatiana Mazza, Katia Furlotti

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Purpose This paper aims to analyse the quality of Code of Ethics from the point of view of employees. In particular, the research aims to investigate which are the companies’ characteristics that influence the publication of a Code of Ethics and the Code of Ethics Quality from the employee perspective. Design/methodology/approach The authors use Italian listed companies and perform a manual content analysis on their Code of Ethics based on keywords related to the stakeholder employees. The authors perform regression models to investigate the determinants, using financial reporting data and companies’ information (i.e. industry). Findings The findings show that Code of Ethics are developed among large firms. A healthy and safe environment and a clear leadership are developed by firms with high grow rates. Equal employment opportunities and competent leadership are developed by firms with low financial distress. The need of effective communication for consensus seems more visible in Public Administration. Private sectors pay more attention to competent leadership, while firms in Trade take care on equal opportunities for employees. Originality/value At present, much of the codes of ethics’ research are focussed on the content and the effectiveness of codes of ethics, on the reasons, on the benefits and limitations of this tool, but few studies investigate the quality of codes of ethics and, even fewer the specific stakeholder employees. This study aims to improve the debate related to the elements affecting quality in codes of ethics, with particular attention to the rules that guide the relationship between companies and their employees.