The ethics of organizations has received much attention in recent years. This raises the question whether the ethics of organizations has also improved. In 1999, 2004 and 2008, a survey was conducted of 12,196 U.S. managers and employees. The results show that the ethical culture of organizations only improved in the period between 1999 and 2004. Unethical behavior and its consequences, however, declined between 2004 and 2008, while the scope of ethics programs expanded in that period. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of these findings for further research and practice.

Additional Metadata
Keywords ethical culture, ethical reputation, ethics management, ethics program, stakeholder theory, unethical behavior, virtue theory
JEL Multinational Firms; International Business (jel F23), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Corporate Culture; Social Responsibility (jel M14), Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights (jel P48)
Publisher Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)
Persistent URL
Kaptein, S.P. (2009). The Ethics of Organizations: A Longitudinal Study of the U.S. Working Population (No. ERS-2009-018-ORG). ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM). Retrieved from