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Research

In collaboration with faculty at the University of St. Thomas, other academic institutions and other organizations, the Center commissions and performs research into critical aspects of the creation of ethical business cultures. For more information about the research initiatives listed below, please contact Doug Jondle, Ph.D. – CEBC’s Director of Research – at

Research initiatives include:

Assessing an Ethical Culture

Alexandre Ardichvili, Ph.D. - University of Minnesota
Douglas Jondle, Ph.D. - Center for Ethical Business Cultures

Published in EvolveHR, a Kenexa publication, 3 (2): 56-61

Building Ethical Business Cultures: BRIC by BRIC

Alexandre Ardichvili, Ph.D. - University of Minnesota
Douglas Jondle, Ph.D. Center for Ethical Business Cultures
Jack Wiley, Ph.D. - Kenexa High Performance Institute, Kenexa an IBM Company
Edgard Cornachione, Ph.D. - University of Sao Paulo (Brazil)
Jessica Li, Ph.D. - University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
Thomas Thakadipuram, Ph.D. - St. Claret College (India)

Abstract: As the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRICs) continue to grow both in size and clout, and their resident multinational corporations become major players in global markets, questions pertaining to trust and integrity, and of universally shared standards for ethical business behavior become important concerns for numerous stakeholders. Whether or not managers and employees behave ethically depends on how one defines ethical behavior and applies it to an organization’s culture. We start this article by discussing attributes of ethical business behavior and cultures in each of the four BRICs countries, and then present results of our recent large scale survey-based studies, comparing managers’ and employees’ perceptions of ethical cultures in BRICs and in economically developed Western economies.

Article download: Building Ethical Business Cultures - BRIC by BRIC (PDF format)

Published in The European Business Review (March - April 2013, pages 22-25).

This article is based on a CEBC research paper titled “Ethical Cultures in Large Business Organizations in Brazil, Russia, India, and China” published in the Journal of Business Ethics (202) 105:415-428.

Characteristics of Ethical Business Cultures

Alexandre Ardichvili, Ph.D. - University of Minnesota
James A. Mitchell - Center for Ethical Business Cultures
Douglas Jondle, Ph.D. - Center for Ethical Business Cultures

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to identify general characteristics attributed to ethical business cultures by executives from a variety of industries. Our research identified five clusters of characteristics:

  • Mission- and Values-Driven
  • Stakeholder Balance
  • Leadership Effectiveness
  • Process Integrity
  • Long-term Perspective

We propose that these characteristics can be used as a foundation of a comprehensive model that can be engaged to influence operational practices in creating and sustaining an ethical business culture.

Published in the Journal of Business Ethics (April 2009, Volume 85, Issue 4, pages 445-451).

Corporate Social Responsibility Among Saudi Arabian Firms: An Empirical Investigation

Saud Mandurah - King Abdulaziz University (Saudi Arabia)
Jamal Khatib, University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)
Saleh Al-Sabaan - King Abdulaziz University (Saudi Arabia)

Abstract: There is an increasing recognition within the developed economies across the world that today, CSR is not an optional extra; i.e., firms can no longer look at CSR as a luxury or an indicator of their goodwill toward society. Firms, in today’s context, are seeking to integrate CSR in their corporate policies and strategies. Developing countries’ firms, however, are still in the early stage of their awareness and integration of CSR activities within their corporate policies and
strategies. The present exploratory study utilizes a sample of Saudi Arabian firms’ managers to assess the extent of their awareness of CSR, its role within their organizations, the extent of CSR integration in their corporate policies, and the nature and scope of these firms’ CSR activities. Results indicate that there is a reasonable level of CSR awareness as well as a moderately positive attitude toward the concept. However, most CSR activities in Saudi Arabia seem to focus on the
local communities in which these firms operate. Discussion of the results and their implications are provided.

Published in the Journal of Applied Business Research (JABR) (2012 - Volume 28, Number 5, pages 1049-1058).

Determinants of Auditor Changes for Non-accelerated Filers

Renee Weiss - University of New York
Lawrence Kalbers - Loyola Marymount University

Abstract: Significant accounting scandals and the imminent collapse of Arthur Andersen in 2001 precipitated a period of heightened regulatory response, most notably the enactment of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002. In the years that followed, the Securities and Exchange Commission created a separate class of non-accelerated filers (companies with public float of up to $75 million) and provided these companies with significant regulatory relief from certain financial reporting disclosure and auditing requirements, including the extension of scaled disclosure to these companies in 2007. Over the period of 2001 through 2007, as non-accelerated clients anticipated and responded to their different and evolving regulatory regime, audit firms were adjusting to the increased concentration in their market, a new monitoring structure, and significant changes to the scope of their work. We examine whether auditor–client misalignment is a significant determinant of auditor change during this period, particularly for non-accelerated filers, as large auditors sought to rebalance their client portfolios. We find evidence that auditor–client misalignment increases the likelihood of auditor change (resignation and dismissal) for non-accelerated, but not accelerated, filers. We also find that auditor–client misalignment increases the likelihood of downward changes to third-tier auditors for non-accelerated, but not accelerated, filers.

Published in the Research in Accounting Regulation (April 2013, Volume 25, Issue 1, pages 13-29).

Dimensions of Ethical Business Cultures: Comparing Data from 13 Countries of Europe, Asia, and the Americas

Alexandre Ardichvili, Ph.D. - University of Minnesota
Douglas Jondle, Ph.D. - Center for Ethical Business Cultures
Brenda Kowske, Ph.D.

Abstract: This paper reports the results of a survey-based study of perceptions of ethical business practices in 13 countries of Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Responses from more than 23,000 managers and employees were analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance and post-hoc comparisons, aimed at identifying homogenous sets of countries. Anglo countries (US, UK, Australia, and Canada) clustered together, and were joined by India in most cases. Japan and Italy formed a homogenous subset significantly different from all other countries. Countries of continental Europe, China, Mexico, and Brazil formed various mid-range groupings. The paper discusses some salient differences between groups of countrries and presents implications for human resource development (HRD) practice and research.

Published in the Human Resource Development International (July 2010, Volume 13, Number 3, pages 299–315).

Ethical Business Cultures: A Literature Review and Implications for HRD

Alexandre Ardichvili, Ph.D. - University of Minnesota
Douglas Jondle, Ph.D. - Center for Ethical Business Cultures

Abstract: This literature review identifies characteristics of ethical business cultures, describes factors, considered to be important in developing such cultures, describes current practices of developing ethical culture programs, and discusses the role of HRD in developing ethical business cultures. We argue that ethical thinking and behavior can be learned and internalized as a result of work-based interpretive interactions, and this learning process constitutes an important part of organizational learning. Therefore, to help the organization develop an ethical culture, HRD needs to play a key role in several interrelated activities which include: culture change efforts, focused on the creation of conditions, conducive to ethical behaviors; creation of a dynamic program of ethical training for employees on all levels of the organization; and development of up-to- date codes of ethics.

Published in the Human Resource Development Review (June 2009, Volume 8, Number 2, pages 223-244). 

Ethical Corporate Citizenship: Does It Pay?

Janell Blazovich, Ph.D. - University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)
L. Murphy Smith - Texas A&M University

Abstract: Ethical corporate citizenship and good corporate governance have received increased attention since the financial scandals prevalent at the beginning of the new millennium. This study first explores the relationship of ethical corporate citizenship to financial performance (i.e., greater profitability and efficiency, and lower cost of capital). Second, the study examines whether ethical corporate behavior is associated with a market-value premium. Results of prior studies are mixed. The results of our study contribute directly to the recent accounting literature in which specific aspects of ethical corporate behavior have been explored (Fukami et al. 1997; Ittner and Larker, 1998; Ballou et al., 2003; Clarkson et al., 2004). We use firms listed by Business Ethicsas “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” as our sample of ethical firms. The univariate results of our study indicate a significant relationship between ethical corporate behavior and financial performance (i.e., greater profitability and efficiency, and lower cost of capital). The results of multivariate tests, controlling for prior year market value of equity, yield results which indicate a marginally significant association between being recognized as ethical in that year and market value of equity, but no association between being recognized as ethical at least one time and market value of equity. Nevertheless, given our study’s findings of better financial performance and lower risk, we conclude that ethical corporate citizenship does indeed benefit a firm.

Published in the Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting (Volume 15, pages 127-163).

Ethical Cultures in Large Business Organizations in Brazil, Russia, India, and China

Alexandre Ardichvili, Ph.D. - University of Minnesota
Douglas Jondle, Ph.D. - Center for Ethical Business Cultures
Brenda Kowske, Ph.D.
Edgard Cornachione, Ph.D.
Jessica Li, Ph.D.
Thomas Thakadipuram, Ph.D.

Abstract: This study focuses on comparisions of perceptions of ethical business cultures in large business organizations from four largest emerging economies, commonly referred to as the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), and from the US. The data collected from more than 13,000 managers and employees of business organizations in five countries. This study found significant differences among BRIC countries, with respondents from India and Brazil providing more favorable assessments of ethical cultures of their organizations than respondents from China and Russia. Overall, highest mean scores were provided by respondents from India, the US, and Brazil. There were significant similarities in ratings between the US and Brazil.

Published in the Journal of Business Ethics (2012, Volume 105, Issue 4, pages 415-428).

HRD and Business Ethics

Alexandre Ardichvili, Ph.D. - University of Minnesota
Douglas Jondle, Ph.D. - Center for Ethical Business Cultures

Book chapter published in the Human Resource Development International, 3rd edition (KoganPage: London), edited by John Wilson. (2012, Chapter 24, pages 481-494).












Minding the Gap: Exploring Differences in Perceptions of Organizational Ethics Between Executives, Mid-level Managers and Non-managers

Alexandre Ardichvili, Ph.D. - University of Minnesota
Douglas Jondle, Ph.D. - Center for Ethical Business Cultures
Brenda Kowske, Ph.D.

Abstract: This study explored whether perceptions of organizational business ethics differ by hierarchical levels. The study sample included more than 40,000 executives, mid-level managers, and non-managerial employees from business organizations in six countries: Brazil, China, Germany, India, UK and USA. We found that executives provided the most positive assessment of ethics in their organizations. Employees’ assessments were significantly less positive, and mid-level managers’ assessments fell in the middle. Organizational size and respondents’ age were not related to differences in responses. Significant differences between hierarchical levels were found in Brazil, US, and Germany; these differences were not significant in the UK, China, and India. Organizational tenure had relationship with differences in ratings: executives with more years of work at the same organization tended to provide higher ratings of organizations’ ethics, while managers’ and employees’ ratings tended to decrease with time.

Published in the Human Resource Development International (Volume 15, Issue 3, 2012, pages 337-352).

Modeling Ethical Business Culture: Development of the Ethical Business Culture Survey and Its Use to Validate the CEBC Model of Ethical Business Culture

Douglas Jondle, Ph.D. - Center for Ethical Business Cultures
Alexandre Ardichvili, Ph.D. - University of Minnesota
James Mitchell - Center for Ethical Business Cultures

Abstract: This article reports the results of research to develop a survey instrument and its use to validate an ethical business culture construct (CEBC Model). The reported three-stage quantitative study builds on our previous qualitative work, aimed at identifying dimensions of ethical business cultures. The research resulted in a parsimonious construct, covering five dimensions of ethical business cultures, and a ten-question instrument, measuring this construct. In this article, we report results of exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses and convergent construct validity testing, discuss the potential applications of the construct and instrument in assessment and development of ethical business cultures, and provide recommendations for industry practitioners and for further research.

Published in the Journal of Business Ethics (January 2014, Volume 119, Issue 1, pages 29-43).

Modern Risk Management: Managing Risk Through the Ethical Business Culture Model

Douglas Jondle, Ph.D. - Center for Ethical Business Cultures
T. Dean Maines - University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)
Michelle Rovang Burke - University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)
Peter Young, Ph.D. - University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)

Abstract: What does it mean to state that risk management is an expression of an organisation’s values? This article discusses the basis for identifying the connection between organizational values through the lens of ethical business culture and attempts to draw out linkages with current risk management thinking. The approach described allows an analytic approach to risk management to be inserted into an ethical assessment method.

Article download: Modern Risk Management - Managing Risk Through The Ethical Business Culture Model (PDF format)

Published in The European Financial Review (June-July 2013, pages 35-38).

This article is based on a CEBC research paper titled “Modern Risk Management Through the Lens of the Ethical Organizational Culture” published in the journal of Risk Management (Volume 15 – Number 1 – 2013 – pages 32-49).

Modern Risk Management Through the Lens of the Ethical Organizational Culture

Douglas Jondle, Ph.D. - Center for Ethical Business Cultures
T. Dean Maines - University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)
Michelle Rovang Burke - University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)
Peter Young, Ph.D. - University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)

Abstract: Most recent efforts to create guidance for modern risk management practices emphasize the importance of connecting risk management policy and practice with an organization’s culture and values. However, identifying or establishing that connection is not widely discussed or understood. What does it mean to state that risk management is an expression of an organization’s values? This article discusses the basis for identifying the connection between organizational values through the lens of the Ethical Organizational Culture and attempts to draw out linkages with current risk management thinking on the subject. The establishment of a basis of identifying organizational values and their link to risk management policy and practice is illustrated through a case analysis of the Veritas Institute’s Self-Assessment and Improvement methodology.

Published in the journal of Risk Management (2013, Volume 15, Number 1, pages 32-49).

Structures of Grace: The Business Practices of the Economy of Communion

John Gallagher, Ph.D. - Maryville College
Jeanne Buckeye, Ph.D. - University of St. Thomas - Minnesota

Book published by New City Press (2014).










The Duty to Protect: Corporate Complicity, Political Responsibility, and Human Rights Advocacy

Florian Wettstein, Ph.D. - University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)

Abstract: Recent years have heralded increasing attention to the role of multinational corporations in regard to human rights violations. The concept of complicity has been of particular interest in this regard. This article explores the conceptual differences between silent complicity in particular and other, more “conventional” forms of complicity. Despite their far-reaching normative implications, these differences are often overlooked. Rather than being connected to specific actions as is the case for other forms of complicity, the concept of silent complicity is tied to the identity, or the moral stature of the accomplice. More specifically, it helps us expose multinational corporations in positions of political authority. Political authority breeds political responsibility. Thus, corporate responsibility in regard to human rights may go beyond “doing no harm” and include a positive obligation to protect. Making sense of this duty leads to a discussion of the scope and limits of legitimate human rights advocacy by corporations.

Published in the Journal of Business Ethics (2010, Volume 96, Issue 1, pages 33-47).

The Impact and Source of Mental Frames in Socially Responsible Investing

Katherina Glac, Ph.D. - University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)

Abstract: Past research on socially responsible investing has provided insight into the demographic makeup of SRI investors, what distinguished them from non-SRI investor, and what their motives are. However, our understanding of the decision process behind SRI is still limited since only a few studies have tested hypotheses about investor behavior in the context of SRI. This paper reports on two empirical studies that examine the role mental frames play in the decision making process behind socially responsible investing. Study 1 focuses on the impact of mental frames on the extent of engagement in socially responsible investing and the interaction between mental frames and investor expectations about corporate social responsibility. Study 2 examines individual and environmental factors that influence the type of mental investment frame individuals hold.

Published in The Journal of Behavioral Finance (13:3 [2012]: 184-198).