published on November 20, 2015
Tommy Jensen, Johan Sandström, Sven Helin
One Code to Rule Them All
Management Control and Individual Responsibility in Contexts
This paper is about how multiple contexts influence employees’ and managers’ enactments of a standardized corporate code of ethics. An earlier local Swedish case study of how a code is enacted is extended to include enactments during business trips to Ottawa (Canada), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and New Delhi (India). The paper shows that although the code is possible to enact as remote and insignificant (‘not relevant to me’) in the local study, when travelling to different contexts it is enacted as intrusive (affecting core operations) and fluid (highlighting seeming contradictions). The paper highlights the consequences of these enactments in terms of management control and individual responsibility) and suggests ways for better understanding how a code is expected to perform, meant to work and keep on working.