Codes of Ethics

Topics: Business ethics, Ethics, Corporate social responsibility Pages: 16 (8546 words) Published: November 17, 2014

Creating an Effective Electronic
Code of Conduct
By Roland Riebl
Companies increasingly distribute their codes of conduct to their stakeholders online to make the document more accessible and, perhaps, to overcome the traditional complexities associated with print codes. Additionally, the Sarbanes-Oxley act of 2002 requires publicly traded companies to make their codes available to the public. This article will examine electronic versions of code documents (e-codes) as useful tools in the larger context of organizational ethics programs. In addition, the challenges of implementing e-codes will be analyzed and recommendations made to enhance the effectiveness of a code of conduct distributed via the Internet.

While the main examples used in this article will refer to corporate e-codes, the recommendations apply equally to such non-corporate entities as government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The fact that NGOs are not used as illustrations merely reflects the lack of codes of conduct in general, and e-codes in particular, in these organizations. (continued on page 2)

Implementing an Organizational
Code of Ethics
By William Miller
More and more organizations, particularly multinational corporations, have gone through the process of developing codes of conduct or codes of ethics over the past ten years. Simply writing and distributing a code document to employees is, however, insufficient to reap the many potential benefits an organization can gain by rolling out a code document in a thoughtful and effective way. By dropping a legal-based code on the desks of employees, organizations likely do little more than waste precious time and resources. This article seeks to identify considerations vital to effective code implementation within an organization. First, it will explore some important considerations with respect to developing a functional code document, which can support future ethics training initiatives. Second, it will take a look at how an organization might introduce the code document to its employees. Finally, the article will suggest ways for organizations to use their codes in delivering formal business ethics training.

(continued on page 6)

Winter 2004


Special Focus:
Codes of

In This Issue:
Creating an Effective
Electonic Code of Conduct
by Roland Riebl.................1
Implementing an
Organizational Code of
by William Miller................1
From the President
by Lori Tansey Martens.....2
Organization Spotlight
The Business Ethics Institute
of Malaysia.........................9
Guidelines for Developing
Nonprofit Codes
by William Miller..............11
Global Roundup..............13
Institute News................14

From the President
By Lori Tansey Martens
Business ethics “programs” have been attracting greater attention over the past three years as a result of the corporate scandals from Enron and WorldCom to Tyco and Ahold. Yet the question remains, to what extent can corporate programs prevent and deter such devastating misconduct? While not an infallible solution, business ethics programs can make a difference in corporate conduct, but only if the program is designed effectively. This issue of the International Business Ethics Review completes a trilogy focused around business ethics programs and their key components. In the first two issues we examined “The Future of Business Ethics Programs” and “Business Ethics Training.” Our current issue focuses on “Codes of Ethics.” Codes of Ethics have been around for decades and there have been substantial amounts of research into their effectiveness. However, codes are currently evolving in new directions, one of the most critical of which is the move to electronic codes (e-codes), which are disseminated via the internet or corporate intranets. Our...
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