How Ethical are U.S. Business Executives? A Study of Perceptions

TitleHow Ethical are U.S. Business Executives? A Study of Perceptions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsStevens B.
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Date PublishedOct
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0167-4544
Accession NumberWOS:000325708100008
Keywordsamerican, Business ethics, conduct, corporate codes, Corporate ethical codes, Ethics and values, Ethics of business executives, FIRMS, Honesty and ethics

Not much has been written about how the ethics of U.S. business executives are perceived by the American public, yet the perception of integrity is important to both businesses and their investors. This study examines the U.S. public's perceptions of the ethics of American business executives using Gallup Poll data for the past thirty years. Organizations with unethical executives have trouble attracting investors, customers, and new managerial talent. They suffer lawsuits, market share deterioration, and often prison time for the once-revered leaders. This study also looked at the U.S.'s relative standing on the Corruption Perceptions Index and the Edelman Trust Barometer. Confidence in the ethics of the U.S. business executive remains fairly low on the Gallup Poll surveys and the U.S. has declined on the CPI and Edelman Trust Barometer.