School of Business publications portal
This portal is no longer updated. Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Communication | Finnish Business Communication | 2013
Thesis number: 13208
Employee perceptions of code of conduct content, purpose and implementation: a case study
Author: Karhujoki, Helena
Title: Employee perceptions of code of conduct content, purpose and implementation: a case study
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Communication
Academic subject: Finnish Business Communication
Index terms: viestintä; communication; yritysviestintä; business communication; organisaatio; organization; yrityskulttuuri; corporate culture; etiikka; ethics
Pages: 84
Key terms: code of conduct; compliance; business ethics; ethical corporate culture
Objective of the study

The objective of the study was to determine how employees of the case company perceive and understand the purpose and content of the company's updated code of conduct, and how they experienced the code of conduct implementation. The final objective was to help the case organization to identify what measures should be taken in order to ensure the vitality of the code of conduct also in the future, and to further improve the ethical and compliant corporate culture.

Research data and methodology

The study was conducted as a case study, and the data was collected from two sources. The primary data consisted of 17 semi-structured interviews that were analyzed using a qualitative method of constant comparison. In addition, an employee survey (n=455) was carried out and analyzed using quantitative methods. Employee survey findings were compared to the analyzed interview data, when applicable.


Interviewees were capable of linking the code of conduct to their everyday work, to the organizational culture and to the society as a whole, which indicates that the purpose of the code was well understood. However, many employees understood the code rather as a rulebook than every employee's right, an observation that requires further attention. In terms of content, especially people conduct issues (i.e. how to treat others), stakeholder relations and those topics that related to interviewees' daily work were considered important. Most of the content of the code of conduct was perceived easy to understand, but the situations where the line between right and wrong was not clear were challenging to the employees. When assessing the implementation of the code of conduct, the degree of manager commitment and face-to-face communication were emphasized. Furthermore, local discussions were perceived necessary.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.