Multinational Corporation Codes of Conduct: Governance Tools for Corporate Social Responsibility?

18 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2008

See all articles by Krista Bondy

Krista Bondy

Nottingham University Business School

Dirk Matten

University of London - Royal Holloway College

Jeremy Moon

Nottingham University Business School (NUBS)

Abstract

Stakeholders must be careful in assuming that the presence of a code indicates CSR commitments or behavior. Stakeholders need to look at the content of the code to confirm or deny this assumption, particularly such stakeholders as investors who tend to use the existence of a code as evidence of CSR practices to tick check the box. Findings are addressed to theoretical debates about the construction of corporate identity, the a-moralization of business, and the globalization of management practices. A web-based study of 150 corporations from three different countries indicates there is little empirical support for this link between codes and CSR. Thus, if a corporation has a code, it is more likely used to govern traditional business concerns, such as compliance with third party governance requirements, internal issues such as conflict of interest, bribery and corruption, insider trading, etc. This is consistent across all three countries. Therefore we must be cautious against assuming a link between codes and CSR. Evidence of the different governance contexts is also briefly discussed. We investigate the assumption found in code and corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature that suggests codes are primarily associated with the CSR practices of an organization.We investigate the assumption found in code and corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature that suggests codes are primarily associated with the CSR practices of an organization.

Suggested Citation

Bondy, Krista and Matten, Dirk and Moon, Jeremy, Multinational Corporation Codes of Conduct: Governance Tools for Corporate Social Responsibility?. Corporate Governance: An International Review, Vol. 16, Issue 4, pp. 294-311, July 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1276704 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8683.2008.00694.x

Krista Bondy (Contact Author)

Nottingham University Business School

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Dirk Matten

University of London - Royal Holloway College ( email )

Senate House
Malet Street
London, TW20 0EX
United Kingdom
+44 0 115 9515261 (Phone)

Jeremy Moon

Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) ( email )

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom
+44 0 115 9514781 (Phone)

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