Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 359–374 | Cite as

Rebounding from Corruption: Perceptions of Ethics Program Effectiveness in a Public Sector Organization

  • Kathie L. Pelletier
  • Michelle C. Bligh


We examine the perceived importance of three organizational preconditions (awareness of formal ethics codes, decision-making techniques, and availability of resources) theorized to be critical for ethics program effectiveness. In addition, we examine the importance of ethical leadership and congruence between formal ethics codes and informal ethical norms in influencing employee perceptions. Participants (n=418) from a large southern California government agency completed a survey on the perceived effectiveness of the organization’s ethics program. Results suggest that employee perceptions of organizational preconditions, ethical leadership and informal ethical norms were related to perceptions of ethics program effectiveness. Based on these findings, organizations should evaluate the presence (or absence) of essential preconditions and take steps to ensure that leaders model espoused organizational values to foster perceptions of effective ethics programs.


decision making ethics leadership preconditions program effectiveness 


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The first author wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Jan Kottke with regard to scale development and statistical analyses. We also thank Dena Smith, Kendall Kerekes, James Pesta, and Tom Mathers for their technical and advisory support throughout this study. Finally, we also thank the editor and the two anonymous reviewers for their insights and thoughtful comments. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in New Orleans, LA.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Behavioral and Organizational SciencesClaremont Graduate UniversityClaremontUSA

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