Review of Caterpillars Code of Ethics

Topics: Business ethics, Ethical code, Ethics Pages: 3 (1000 words) Published: July 23, 2010
Review of Caterpillars’ Code of Ethics
Caterpillar Incorporated (Caterpillar) is the world’s top in manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines. In 2008, Caterpillar reported sales revenue of $51.3 billion dollars from domestic and worldwide operations (Caterpillar, 2008). As reported in Caterpillar’s 2008 Annual Report, Caterpillar is a worldwide company with 67% of their sales from outside of the United States (Caterpillar, 2008). With a global reach and influence, Caterpillar has recognized the need to develop and implement a Code of Conduct to guide its management and employees in their daily practices to make Caterpillar the efficient and profitable global leader it is today. Author, Muel Kaptein (2004) analyzes the business code of several multinational firms to ascertain universal structure and meaning. In his study he states “A business code is a policy document that defines the responsibilities of the corporation towards its stakeholder and/or the conduct the corporation expects of employees” (Kaptein, 2004 p. 13). Caterpillar recognized in 1974 a need to develop a Code of Conduct to guide its company and employees to act in an ethical manner. According to Caterpillar, their Code of Conduct establishes “what we stand for and believe in, documenting the uncompromising high ethical standards our company has upheld since its founding in 1925” (Caterpillar, 2005 p. 1). Since 1974, Caterpillar has updated their code of conduct several times to fit the changing world and their diverse workforce. Caterpillar’s 2005 version of their Code of Conduct, their most current, has four values that they highlight as the foundation of their code of conduct; Integrity, Excellence, Teamwork and Commitment (Caterpillar, 2005). Caterpillar’s first value referenced in its Code of Conduct is Integrity. Caterpillar emphasis their choice of the word of integrity “as the foundation of all we do”...

References: Adam, A., & Rachman-Moore, D. (2004). The Methods used to implement an ethical code of conduct and employee attitudes. Journal of Business Ethics, 54, 225-244.
Caterpillar. (2005). Our values in action: Caterpillar’s worldwide code of conduct. Retrieved January 2, 2009 from
Caterpillar. (2008). Big challenge: 2008 annual report. Retrieved January 2, 2009 from
Griesse, M. (2007). Caterpillar 's interaction with piracicaba, brazil: a community-based analysis of csr. Journal of Business Ethics, 73, 39-51.
Kaptein, M. (2004). Business codes of multinational firms: what do they say?. Journal of Business Ethics, 50, 13-31.
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