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A Few Bad Apples?: An Exploratory Look at What Typical Americans Think about Business Ethics Today

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Abstract:

Citizens define business ethics more broadly than executives do. When typical citizens talk about business ethics, they cite executives who enrich themselves while driving their companies into the ground. Protecting employees' jobs, they say, should be a top ethical priority. When executives talk about ethics, they are concerned about the damage recent scandals have done to business' reputation and the need to restore public trust. The two groups found areas of agreement on the root causes of corporate scandals and the debate about new regulations. But views differed on executive pay and were dramatically different on the subject of job protection and layoffs.