Higher education institutions draw up codes of ethics, but in several countries there are no standards to follow. Most universities have autonomy and can freely draw up their codes of ethics in terms of structure and content. The purpose of this paper is to understand the main ethics issues that universities identify in their codes of ethics and what activities they implement to respond to these issues toward appropriate educational management of their institutions in ethical terms.
This study was performed through content analysis of codes of ethics of Italian public universities (64 codes), and may be considered a single in-depth case study. The main ethics issues and related activities were inductively codified in relation to the research purpose. The four constitutive aspects of business ethics (individual, managerial, organizational and societal ethics) proposed by Melé were chosen as the framework to investigate the main ethical needs and related activities implemented by universities to respond to these ethical issues.
This research has identified nine main ethical issues and related activities that contribute to guarantee the ethical compliance of universities under the four interrelated aspects different individual behaviors, managerial initiatives, organization strategies and responsibilities toward society. The analysis shows some relevant differences among Italian universities that have important implications in the ethical vision of academic communities and of managerial role in universities.
The research can help managers of higher education institutions to identify the main ethical issues to draw up codes of ethics and to formulate consistent development strategies that are able to improve the conditions of collaboration, work and productive participation in activities for all members of academic communities.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is one of the first studies that connect codes of ethics and higher education. This research brings to light the main ethical issues and related activities that universities can consider to orient their strategic choices toward the public interest as well as educational management improvement.
Mion, G. and Bonfanti, A. (2019), "Drawing up codes of ethics of higher education institutions: evidence from Italian universities", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 33 No. 7, pp. 1526-1538. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-08-2018-0264Download as .RIS
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