Open Access

Business Ethics: How the Code of Conduct’s Superficiality Can be Combatted by Supplementing Decision-Making with Internal Advisors


This paper examines how internal advisors can enhance ethical decision-making beyond the scope of a corporate code of conduct, using a case from a major Dutch financial institution. The case study explores a decision involving a loan request for selling laughing gas, where the internal advisors’ assessment went beyond legal compliance to consider ethical implications, potential consequences, and stakeholder interests. The analysis highlights the use of ethical theories such as consequentialism, deontology, and stakeholder analysis, demonstrating how internal advisors can provide a human and interactive dimension to ethical decision-making. Ultimately, the paper underscores the importance of integrating internal advisory roles with corporate codes of conduct to foster comprehensive and ethically sound decisions.