Ethical Code Effectiveness in Football Clubs: A Longitudinal Analysis
As football (soccer) clubs are facing different ethical challenges, many clubs are turning to ethical codes to counteract unethical behaviour. However, both in- and outside the sport field, uncertainty remains about the effectiveness of these ethical codes. For the first time, a longitudinal study design was adopted to evaluate code effectiveness. Specifically, a sample of non-professional football clubs formed the subject of our inquiry. Ethical code effectiveness was assessed by the measurement of the ethical climate. A repeated-measurements ANOVA revealed a positive evolution of the ethical climate within the studied football clubs. This evolution could not be ascribed to the mere presence of an ethical code. However, several potential code effectiveness determining characteristics were also included in the research design. Some of these accounted partly for the evolution of the ethical climate of the football clubs. Results suggest that football clubs should incorporate their ethical code into a broader ethical programme, with attention for professionalization initiatives, stakeholder management, ethical leadership, and whistle-blowing protection.
KeywordsCode effectiveness Ethical climate Ethical code Ethical programme Football clubs Longitudinal analysis
The authors would like to thank their colleagues Delfien Van Dyck and Maïté Verloigne for their advice regarding the data analysis.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that there are no potential conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Human and Animal Rights
This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Arnaud, A. (2006). A new theory and measure of ethical work climate: The psychological process model (PPM) and the ethical climate index (ECI). Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Central Florida, Orlando.Google Scholar
- BBC (2016). Football child sex abuse claims: What has happened so far?. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/38211167.
- Brenner, S. N. (2002). Ethics programs and their dimensions. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(5), 391–399.Google Scholar
- Brown, J. D. (2008). Statistics corner. Questions and answers about language testing statistics: Effect size and eta squared. Shiken: JALT Testing & Evaluation SIG Newsletter, 12(2), 38–43.Google Scholar
- Burton, L. J., Welty Peachey, J., & Wells, J. E. (2016). The role of servant leadership in developing an ethical climate in sport organizations. Journal of Sport Management. doi: 10.1123/jsm.2016-0047.
- De Waegeneer, E. (2015). Fair play in sports organizations: Effectiveness of ethical codes. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Ghent University, Ghent.Google Scholar
- De Waegeneer, E., Devisch, I., & Willem A. (2016a). Ethical codes in sports organizations: An empirical study on determinants of effectiveness. Ethics & Behavior. doi: 10.1080/10508422.2016.1172011.
- DeSensi, J. T., & Rosenberg, D. (1996). Ethics and morality in sport management. Morgantown: West Virginia University.Google Scholar
- DeSensi, J. T., & Rosenberg, D. (2010). Ethics and morality in sport management (3rd ed.). Morgantown: West Virginia.Google Scholar
- Field, A. (2009). Discovering statistics using SPSS (3rd ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
- FIFA (2016). Independent Ethics Committee bans football officials. Retrieved from http://www.fifa.com/governance/news/y=2016/m=3/news=independent-ethics-committee-bans-football-officials-2770195.html.
- Greenwell, T. C., Geist, A. L., Mahony, D. F., Jordan, J. S., & Pastore, D. L. (2001). Characteristics of NCAA conference code of ethics. International Journal of Sport Management, 2(2), 108–124.Google Scholar
- IRIS. (2012). Sports betting and corruption. How to preserve the integrity of sport. Paris: University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.Google Scholar
- Jordan, J. S., Greenwell, T. C., Geist, A. L., Pastore, D. L., & Mahony, D. F. (2004). Coaches’ perceptions of conference code of ethics. Physical Educator, 61(3), 131–145.Google Scholar
- Kvalnes, Ø., & Hemmestad, L. (2010). Loophole ethics in sports. Etikk i praksis. Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics, 4(1), 57–67.Google Scholar
- Mayer, D. M. (2014). A review of the literature on ethical climate and culture. In B. Schneider & K. M. Barbera (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of organizational climate and culture (pp. 415–440). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Mayer, D.M., Kuenzi, M., & Greenbaum, R.L. (2009). Making ethical climate a mainstream management topic. A review, critique, and prescription for the empirical research on ethical climate. In: D. Decremer (ed.), Psychological perspectives on ethical behavior and decision making (pp. 181–213). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
- Rest, J. R. (1986). Moral development: Advances in research and theory. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
- The Telegraph (2013). How German police fell on European football’s biggest match-fixing scandal by accident. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/news/9851507/How-German-police-fell-on-European-footballs-biggest-match-fixing-scandal-by-accident.html.
- Van Dyck, D., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., Deliens, T., & Deforche, B. (2015). Can changes in psychosocial factors and residency explain the decrease in physical activity during the transition from high school to college or university. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 22(2), 178–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Victor, B., & Cullen, J. B. (1987). A theory and measure of ethical climate in organizations. Research in Corporate Social Performance and Policy, 9(1), 51–71.Google Scholar