Theoretical Considerations for a Meaningful Code of Professional Ethics

Journal of Business Ethics September 1995, Volume 14, Issue 9, pp 703-714

University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-1040

Posted: 2 Jul 2013

See all articles by Karim Jamal

Karim Jamal

University of Alberta - Department of Accounting, Operations & Information Systems

Norman Bowie

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

Date Written: June 1, 1994

Abstract

The professions have focused considerable attention on developing codes of conduct. Despite their efforts there is considerable controversy regarding the propriety of professional codes of ethics. Many provisions of professional codes seem to exacerbate disputes between the profession and the public rather than providing a framework that satisfies the public's desire for moral behavior. After examining three professional codes, we divide the provisions of professional codes into those provisions which urge professionals to avoid moral hazard, maintain professional courtesy and serve the public interest. We note that whereas provisions urging the avoidance of moral hazard are uncontroversial, the public is suspicious of provisions protecting professional courtesy. Public interest provisions are controversial when the public and the profession disagree as to what is in the public interest. Based on these observations, we conclude with recommendations regarding the content of professional codes.

Suggested Citation

Jamal, Karim and Bowie, Norman E., Theoretical Considerations for a Meaningful Code of Professional Ethics (June 1, 1994). Journal of Business Ethics September 1995, Volume 14, Issue 9, pp 703-714; University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-1040. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2279056

Karim Jamal (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Department of Accounting, Operations & Information Systems ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada
780-492-5829 (Phone)
780-492-3325 (Fax)

Norman E. Bowie

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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