Codes of conduct: a barrier or breakthrough for corporate behaviour?

Does your company have a code of conduct? If so, how is it being used to enhance organisational behaviours and actions? After the PwC Fraud Academy raised this topic with clients, we decided to create a snapshot analysis of what businesses are really doing in this area and the challenges they face in making their codes a reality. The results of our research have given us some interesting findings and highlight the increased challenge of organisational behaviour and business conduct.

More companies are establishing codes of conduct as a routine part of their governance. But does this add any real value or is it simply an exercise that ticks another box? To some extent, this question highlights mounting concerns about the mismatch between what companies say and what they do.

Regular reviews of codes by organisations that have had business conduct failings have fuelled this cynicism. They are cited as evidence that these top-level corporate documents are little more than window dressing. One recent newspaper article commenting on a new code for a global financial services institution, released after the organisation had suffered a number of significant business failures, asked the question: ‘Is it enough to right recent wrongs?’ …

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