Sample Sociology Research Paper on Corporate Morality

With discuss “corporate morality”. Compare this concept to the issue of morality and public policy. Public institutions are similar in size and scope of operation, why would public institutions be perceived to have a clearly “moral” mandate and corporations not? Is there really actually any difference at all?

Corporate morality requires that organizations ensure that its operations are run ethically to achieve the goals and vision of the company. Public companies are expected to have high moral and ethical standards especially when compared to private companies. One of the reasons could be because public companies are run by the government and they are supposed to set an example to private institutions and the members of public at large. In the past, public companies have not been outright moral and ethical in their undertakings that are related to the clients. In 2001, Enron was closed down after it emerged that the organization had fleeced its shareholders through the help of the auditors Arthur Andersen (Boston & Bradstock, 2010). It is as a result of such unethical and immoral executives that the Sarbanes Oxley Act was enacted. The act was put in place to ensure openness in reporting of financials for both public and private corporations. The actions of these companies led to the loss of a lot of money all in favor a few selfish individuals. However, the results of Enron and Worldcom made individuals question the likelihood of individuals being culpable as opposed to being moral and ethical in carrying out the duties that they have been entrusted to carry out by shareholders (Hiltin & Vaisey, 2010). The executives of a company are supposed to drive the business towards a direction that would maximize the investment of the shareholder. The shareholders might not be aware of the best way to achieve the maximum profits, but they have high expectations of the executives based on moral trust and ethical beliefs in the society (Abend, 2014). For company executives to gain their positions, they have to show that they have the best interest of the shareholders, and they would not let their personal interests get in the way of their work. People might believe that public companies executives have more security in their jobs since they receive higher perks especially since the companies are already performing well.

This is in contrast to private companies that might be newly established and might be struggling to make profits. Therefore, the executives of such companies might be tempted to engage in business that would benefit their private interests as they try and maximize on the perceived short term life of the business. Nowadays, public companies have to deal with a higher level of scrutiny and stakeholder numbers. The executives have to ensure that the needs of all the stakeholders are taken care of. This presents a tough case, which might lead to the executives taking fewer risks and therefore earning fewer profit margins for the company. However, one can understand the executives because if they were to take risks that might later be dissected and found to have any relation to their personal lives and interests, they would face possible incarceration. Individuals view public policy as being stricter for public companies in comparison to private companies. With the establishing of the Sarbanes Oxley act, companies and their executives have to be accountable of all the decisions that they make. Therefore, even their actions have to be responsible and justifiable when placed under scrutiny (Bakan, Achbar & Crooks, 2003).






Abend, G. (2014). The Moral Background: an inquiry into the history of business ethics. New

Jersey: Princeton University.

Bakan, J, A. & Crooks, H. (2003). The Corporation. Retrieved August 5 from

Boston, J. & Bradstock, A. (2010). Public Policy: Why Ethics matter. Canberra: ANU Press.

Hiltin, S. & Vaisey, S. (Eds.). (2010). Handbook of the Sociology of Morality. New York: