On the afternoon of July 30, 2002, the U.S. business environment was profoundly changed. The day was blistering hot in Washington, DC, with a relentless sun pushing temperatures to 97 °F. However, the nation's capital was not the only place feeling the scorching summer heat. Earlier that day, President George W. Bush signed into law the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, a set of sweeping reforms aimed at cleaning up corporate corruption and improving corporate accountability and ethics. In doing so, he turned up the heat on the management team of every major public corporation in the United States. Sarbanes–Oxley contains a broad set of regulations aimed at improving corporate financial accountability and ethical performance. However, it has not put an end to financial and ethical scandals among America's corporate elite. Rather, it is becoming increasingly apparent that creating and maintaining ethical organizations depends on more than external regulatory pressures and formalized programs to respond to those pressures. Ethical organizational climates are needed as well. In this article, we examine the power of ethical work climates. We begin by exploring the events that gave rise to the Sarbanes–Oxley legislation. We then examine a critical link between external regulation and
Organizational Dynamics – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2007
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