The importance of Values & Ethical Code for Supervisory Boards

The importance of Values & Ethical Code for Supervisory Boards 1024 536 Anja Fiedler

The pilot research survey recently conducted by Denison Consulting on „The Role of Corporate Culture on Supervisory Boards“ in Switzerland revealed that Board members of swiss companies consider core values as an area that may need more attention.

On the question in the survey „There is a clear and consistent set of values that governs the way we run our Board“ respondents scored this item as one of the five lowest across the 34 questions in the survey.

Except for participants from the Health Care and the Energy industry all other represented industries (Financial Service, Information / IT and „Others“ – comprising e.g. real estate, machine industry, milk processing industry, construction industry and others) scored this item amongst the lowest. Overall, across all industries, Board members believe that 35% of other companies represented in the global Denison benchmark do better in this area.

In particular, Board members serving on Boards of companies with 1.001-5.000 employees see a consistent set of core values as a key area to address, reflected by the fact that they believe that 97% of companies from the global Denison benchmark perform better in this area.

Similar results can be seen when it comes to the ethical code: on the question „There is an ethical code that guides our behaviour and tells us right from wrong“ members of Swiss Supervisory Boards consider their performance compared to the global Denison benchmark
only as good as 52% of the other companies, or in other words believe that 48% of companies are doing better in this respect.

Again, this score was primarily driven by low ratings from Board members of companies with 1.001.-5.000 employees, however for the majority of company sizes (below 200 and above 5.001 employees) this was also one of the five lowest scoring items.

Looking at the item from an industry segmentation perspective, all industries represented by participating Board members scored the question on the ethical code also as one of the lowest five items with the exception of the Consumer Goods industry participants.

Very clearly, Members of Supervisory Boards see a bigger need – expressed by their much lower score – than Presidents of Boards both regarding a consistent set of values and regarding the ethical code. There was no difference in rating on the ethical code between
listed and non-listed company Board Members, while Board Members of publicly listed companies scored slightly lower than Board members of non-listed companies with regard to the question on core values.

If you are interested in the full details of the study, please contact

We would like to thank all participants for their contribution.