This paper aims to explore how directors understand the “how” and “why” of their personal moral values in their task of governing the organisation.
This paper is based on a qualitative study. Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews of 33 New Zealand directors.
Three major themes emerged: Directors’ personal moral values are a powerful driver in ethical decision-making of directors; codes of ethics are seen to be effective to the extent that individuals have a strong moral compass; great value is placed on their personal moral code as being consistent with it, defines who they are.
This study reveals how and why directors’ personal ethics are important in their task of governance and demonstrates that they are extremely influential in their ethical decision-making.
Appraisal processes could also make sure this factor is given equal importance along with other skills and competencies. In the area of director selection, proven moral integrity could become a point to investigate prior to the appointment of a director.
There have been very few studies investigating the subjective ethical experience in ethical decision-making. Investigating the antecedents of ethical or unethical outcomes only provides a partial understanding of the ethical experience.
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