Business Ethics in CEE: Analysis of Research ResultsProceeding: 5th International Conference on Innovation Management, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability (IMES)
Publication Date: 2017-05-22
Authors : Włodzimierz Sroka Richárd Szántó;
Page : 942-952
Keywords : business ethics; ethical behaviour; Central European Economies; controversial industries;
It is widely acknowledged that if a company wants to be perceived as a reliable business partner and a respected member of the business sector, it should demonstrate a high level of institutionalisation of business ethics principles and practices, and it must practice outstanding ethical behaviour. This is exceptionally true in some controversial industries. The purpose of our study is to identify the scale and scope of the use of these principles and practices in two Central European countries, i.e. Poland and Hungary.Design/methodology/approach: In this study survey methodology was applied. The sample included a group of 48 companies operating in the pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol industries (25 Hungarian and 23 Polish ones). Our survey mainly focused on the degree of institutionalisation of business ethics (such as the presence of a code of conduct, an employee appointed to deal with ethical issues, ethical training, and so on), the perceived ethical behaviour of the firms, and their relationship with their key stakeholders.Findings: Our study confirmed that business ethics is regarded as a significant factor, however the scale of this phenomenon varies, across both sectors and countries. The level of institutionalisation is somewhat higher at Hungarian firms, while preventing and handling corruption cases are more at the forefront of Polish companies. Yet, although it seems that stakeholders from Polish firms have greater ethical expectations, we did not observe significant differences between perceived ethical behaviour in the two countries.Research/practical implications: Though the vast majority of the companies observed understand the need for ethical behaviour in business, the apparent unwillingness of respondents to participate in the study was observed. The results achieved may therefore be distorted to some extent. Regular studies, organised e.g. every 5-10 years in the sectors surveyed, would obtain stimulating data showing in which direction the companies from these sectors evolve. Additionally, further studies should be carried out with the participation of representatives of the enterprises surveyed (personal interviews).Originality/value: The originality of the paper is the result of the presentation of unique quantitative research related to business ethics in sensitive sectors of the economy in two Central European countries. Sectors such as pharma, tobacco and alcohol are often accused of manufacturing questionable products or applying industrywide malpractices; therefore, observing their ethical principles and practices certainly provides significant fresh insights in this field.
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