Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis



Committee Member

Diana J. Wong, PhD


Throughout the history of the United States, there have been landmark business laws established with the intent to shape business practices and procedures in a way that we as a country deem ethical. In this paper I discuss some of the most important landmark acts passed by U.S. lawmakers in order to establish standards for ethical business practices and values that we strive to maintain and improve upon in corporate America today. My research question is, "Can ethical business behavior be legislated?" There are five dominant themes that emerge from this study. First, it is often a corporate scandal or a detrimental business faux pas that catches the attention of the media or citizen groups that creates an urgent outcry for government regulation. Second, a new law may also be created due to loopholes in an existing law that require specification and tightening through the establishment of a new law. Third, the fast-paced business environment of the United States requires new laws over time in order to remain relevant with the development of new aspects of business or the growth of a certain industry or innovation. Fourth, the support and awareness provided by organizations, associations and federal agencies of these landmark laws is crucial to the continued compliance by companies. Last, it is because of the human condition that legislation will always be needed to guide fair and honest business practices in compan1es.


Approved: April 1, 2013

Posted: April 2, 2013