Self-perception of ethical behaviour: The case of listed Spanish companies

Maria José García López, Oriol Amat, Alfredo Rocafort


Purpose: This article aims to research into the perception that companies have of their ethical behavior.

Design/methodology/approach: A questionnaire was conducted in June 2014 among the listed companies that comprise the IBEX35 index of Spanish stock exchanges. For the statistical analysis, contingency tables (double entry) were drawn up as well and several statistical tests (Cramer’s V, Pearson’s x2, Kendall’s correlation coefficient; and Goodman and Kruskal’s Gamma).

Findings: The results show the self-perception that listed Spanish companies have of their ethical behaviour, with the observation that, generally, they have a greater perception than the reality of the study actually shows.

Research limitations: Main limitations are that the sample size is small, although it includes the largest listed companies in the country. Respondents were essentially the Corporate Social Responsibility managers, so they may not be familiar with some of the subjects on which they were questioned, as we are dealing with large companies where responsibilities may be very compartmentalised.

Practical implications: This line of research helps to know more about the self perception of big Spanish listed companies about their ethical behavior.

Social implications: The evidence provided by this study helps to know more about aspects than can be improved in connection the ethical behavior in companies. Recent scandals make the topic very relevant from a social point of view.

Originality/value: In recent years there has been much talk about the ethics of organisations and studies on the subject are plentiful. However, there has been scarcely any research into the perception that companies themselves have of their ethical behaviour.


Ethical code, Listed companies, Spanish companies, Ethics, Sustainability

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2024

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience