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

Corporate Governance - An International Review, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 294-311, 2008

Posted: 28 Oct 2010

See all articles by Dirk Matten

Dirk Matten

York University - Schulich School of Business

Jeremy Moon

Nottingham University Business School (NUBS)

Krista Bondy

University of Bath

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 1, 2008

Abstract

Manuscript Type: Empirical Research Issue: 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. Research Findings/Results: 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. Theoretical Implications: Findings are addressed to theoretical debates about the construction of corporate identity, the amoralization of business, and the globalization of management practices. Practical Implications: 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.”

Keywords: Corporate Governance Code, Corporate Social Responsibility, Stakeholders

Suggested Citation

Matten, Dirk and Moon, Jeremy and Bondy, Krista, Multinational Corporation Codes of Conduct: Governance Tools for Corporate Social Responsibility? (July 1, 2008). Corporate Governance - An International Review, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 294-311, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1698775

Dirk Matten (Contact Author)

York University - Schulich School of Business ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Jeremy Moon

Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) ( email )

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

Krista Bondy

University of Bath ( email )

Claverton Down
Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom

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