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Decoupled but necessary: The internal significance of codes of conduct in retail firms
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
Örebro University.
Örebro University.
2010 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper, we examine the significance of codes of conducts (CoCs) in the internal work context of two retail firms. We do this in a threefold way. First, we identify in what way employees use and refer to CoCs internally. Second, we identify the function and relevance of CoCs inside a company. Third, we explain why CoCs tend to function in the identified ways. We find practical and conscious decoupling in our cases, which – counter-intuitively – seems to facilitate the process of establishing a CoC in the organisations. This is explained by the contents of the codes and by the normative meta-logic they represent. Although decoupling may exist as a reality within the two retail firms, it is counteracted by the normative master ideas expressed in the codes. This normative meta-logic serves as a unifying understanding of the meaning of work. Based on this, we argue that we must look upon decoupling from a more contextual viewpoint. We claim that it is wise to go above the single-levelled analysis of decoupling and open up for a two-level analysis which takes into account not only the concrete application of CoCs but also their function and meaning. An implication of this is that what might appear as a decoupled code cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the ‘core’ of the organisation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Code of conduct, Decoupling, Ethics, Retail
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-123617OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-123617DiVA: diva2:315103
EBEN Research Conference, Tampere, Finland, 14-16 June 2010
Available from: 2010-04-28 Created: 2010-04-28 Last updated: 2010-12-08Bibliographically approved

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