Inderscience Publishers

Establishing business integrity and value congruence – a comparative investigation of ethical information practices among New Zealand banks

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Banks would benefit from demonstrating the highest levels of business integrity in ethical information handling. A website is a form of communication that symbolically represents its parent organisation. Content analysis of banking websites is proposed as a valid way of assessing institutional values. The 12 principles of the New Zealand Privacy Act (1993) articulate national values for information handling and privacy protection and, therefore, provide a coding template for a content analysis of banking websites. New Zealand banking websites were found to demonstrate a basic level of understanding and commitment to the privacy of customer information. While all seven banks had a privacy statement, none demonstrated a pervasive commitment to meet all the requirements of the New Zealand Privacy Act. The concept of using legislated privacy principles as a basis for assessing national information handling values and business integrity could assist banks in providing the integrity assurances that customers seek, thereby enhancing their competitive advantage.

Keywords: business integrity, value congruence, banks, banking, New Zealand, Privacy Act 1993, corporate ethics, ethical practices, information handling, websites, internet, world wide web, communication, parent organisations, content analysis, institutional values, privacy protection, coding templates, customer information, privacy statements, legislation, integrity assurances, competitive advantage, data handling, liability, scientific enquiry

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