Throughout the world, business organizations and various professions conduct daily activities that require standards of ethical behavior. To convey a company’s ideals, principles, and goals most companies develop a document called a code of ethics that defines the behavior that others can expect from them. A business code of ethics is a valuable tool used within a profession or business to evaluate its performance in the business world.
Business Codes of Ethics
Each day in the workplace, people encounter ethical situations to which they must react. A code of ethics formed by a profession or a business is very clear and helpful in providing guidance in the ethical decision making process. The purpose behind a code of ethics is to clarify a company or a profession’s policies, values, and priorities. These clarifications convey to others the behavior and conduct customers, stakeholders, and employees can expect from the organization. In the case of employees, it also sets standards that the employer expects the employee to reflect and uphold. As David Hildebrand stated in an article in the Canadian Appraiser,
“Codes of ethics should set members apart from others, who may purport to provide similar services to the public, by establishing a set of principles by which to work. However, in order for the code to have merit and respect, it must contain procedures for monitoring the members' adherence and for disciplining those members who act in breach of the standards” (Hildebrand, 2003).
When codes of ethics are breached, positive outcomes are rare. An illustrative case is the now defunct Enron Corporation. In the movie, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the room, (Gibney A, 2005) We observed how Enron traders sham...
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...rse if it is necessary. A well written and precise business code of ethics will pay dividends far into the future for all who take care to follow them.
Gibney, A. (Director). (2005).Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room [Documentary]. USA: Magnolia.
Hildebrand, D. (2003, July 3). Why do we need a code of ethics? | Company Activities & Management > Business Ethics & Corporate Citizenship from AllBusiness.com. Business Resources, Advice and Forms for Large and Small Businesses. Retrieved July 3, 2010, from http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/employee-development-employee-ethics/990862-1.html
SANS: IT Code of Ethics. (2004, August 24). SANS: Computer Security Training, Network Security Research, InfoSec Resources. Retrieved July 3, 2010, from http://www.sans.org/security-resources/ethics.php
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