An analysis of 119 corporation conduct codes suggests that top executives of American corporations only weakly shared the concern for social responsibility so often voiced by business leaders in the mid-1970s, when most of the codes were written. The documents give more attention to unethical conduct likely to decrease a firm's profits than to similar conduct that might increase profits. Familiarity with changing societal values is evident, but the executives that authored the codes tended to consider themselves, not the society or even apart of it, to be the conscience of the corporation. The codes have neither relieved organizational pressures to be unethical nor convinced opinion leaders that corporations have become more socially responsible in recent years.
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