Are the ethical codes a management tool of social responsibility? An exploratory study in Andalusia

Mercedes Ruiz-Lozano, Araceli de los Ríos Berjillos, Salud Millán Lara


Purpose: The growing concern for social responsibility and/or business ethics must be reflected in the control systems of organizations. Therefore we are concerned to analyze whether the ethical codes have been introduced as a management tool of social responsibility to build sustainable value-based organizations.

Design/methodology/approach: Development of a survey based on the literature review of code types and motivations. We performed a descriptive analysis of the information obtained from companies based in Andalusia under study. Furthermore, it has been implemented a test of mean difference and an analysis of variance to contrast the hypotheses.

Findings: The study supports a tendency to use the ethical codes by Andalusian companies analyzed, influenced by firm size. Similarly, the incidence of immediate environment is confirmed.

Research limitations/implications: The study is exploratory in the Andalusian area due to restrictions databases and sample size.

Practical implications: The results allow an approach to the Andalusian business reality and to the management systems related with social responsibility and business ethics.

Social implications: It has highlighted the need for training in this area and that measures to promote ethics and corporate social responsibility are taken from the public sector, distinguishing between needs that may have micro and small enterprises from medium or large companies.

Originality/value: This study contributes to knowledge about the importance of integrating instruments that promote responsible and sustainable management based on values in management control systems and about what were the motivations that are influencing both, for and against, in this action. Motivations that should be taken into account by decision-makers and influential in business development agencies.


ethical codes, social responsibility, management systems, Andalusia, SMEs

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

Intangible Capital, 2004-2022

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

Publisher: OmniaScience