Business integrity is here

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BUSINESS ethics is a concept whose time has come. So says John Drummond, but then he is managing director of Integrity Works, which describes itself as 'the UK's leading consultancy in the field of applied business ethics'- and so could be said to have an interest, writes Roger Trapp.

To support his contention, however, he cites the high level of response so far to a survey that his company is running with Jack Mahoney, Dixon's Professor of Business Ethics at the London Business School. 'It is an indication that people take it seriously,' he said.

The survey, launched earlier this month and due to run for about six weeks, aims to cover the chief executives of Britain's top 500 companies. This is because a similar exercise aimed mainly at non-executive chairmen and audit committee heads indicated that the main responsibility for this area lay with them.

Its main purpose is to determine what mechanisms companies use to deal with the concerns over internal control voiced in the Cadbury Report. Then Mr Drummond, who with the academic Bill Bain has just published a collection of essays called Managing Business Ethics, plans to look more closely at corporate structures to see how they can handle the issue more effectively.

'Banks, for instance, need to re-establish trust, because that's what is missing in their marketplace. People are looking behind the brand to the reputation of the company.'