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G.M. Garegnani , E. Merlotti, A. Russo. Scoring Firms’ Codes of Ethics: An Explorative Study of Quality Drivers. Journal of Business Ethics, November 2013.

Research in the field of management has increasingly focused on strategies and tools related to corporate sustainability. Of the tools examined, codes of ethics have been found to play a primary role. Many studies have investigated the content of such codes, as well as their capacity to condition the behaviour of people within organizations. However, few studies have considered the intrinsic quality of codes of ethics. This study aims to investigate the impact that specific factors—firm size, degree of internationalization and industry effect—can have on the quality of codes of ethics. Based on a sample of 248 listed Italian companies, the results of the empirical analysis show that the quality standard is particularly high in larger companies and in those firms operating in industries in which relationships established with critical stakeholders—and disclosure to those stakeholders—play a crucial role. These results have interesting implications for both researchers and practitioners.