Factors For Writing A Code Of Ethics
By Chris MacDonald, Ph.D.
(initially printed in Gene Marks, erectile dysfunction. Streetwise Small Company Book of Lists .
Adams Media 2006)
Most major corporations, and lots of smaller sized companies, are in possession of Codes of Ethics,
plus a selection of other, issue-specific ethics documents. This type of document
embodies the moral commitments of the organization it informs the planet what you are,
that which you are a symbol of, and what to anticipate when performing business along with you. The information
of the Code, and also the process for writing it, can differ quite a bit, but here are the
standard issues to think about.
1. Tailor-help make your code.
Ideally, a Code of Ethics ought to be custom-designed for your business. Think about,
why is your Code specific for your organization? Can there be something that differentiates
it from similar documents devised other firms inside your field, or perhaps in other fields? Otherwise, what
causes it to be your Code, apart from the truth that your emblem is at the very top?
2. Get employees involved.
Those who is going to be led through the code ought to be positively involved with writing it. If
your business is simply too large to obtain everybody involved, consider selecting
representatives from various departments or various sections. The document is
certain to become more significant, and discover greater amounts of acceptance, if workers are
area of the process.
3. Consult key stakeholders.
It’s smart to consult key stakeholders including, for instance, customers,
suppliers, and native community groups in regards to what they believe ought to be inside your Code.
This helps reveal what important exterior constituencies see as the key obligations,
and can help make certain the Code you are writing handles the entire selection of problems that
might confront your business.
4. Delegate the task only carefully.
Getting a consultant to assist write your code could be helpful but don’t allow them to dominate. A
consultant may bring an abundance of understanding and experience, and will help you avoid a
whole selection of pitfalls, from insufficient clearness right through to the inclusion of not enough or too
much detail. But in the finish during the day, this Code continues to be yours: it ought to reflect your
organization’s values, concepts, and aspirations.
5. Look for illustrations.
Should you’re writing your personal code, start by searching at relevant examples. There are numerous
good Codes available (a fast search on the internet can be quite revealing.) A code that’s
simply copied from another organization is not likely to supply either effective guidance
or inspiration but there’s also no reason in reinventing the wheel.
6. Be obvious about Scope.
Your Code should make obvious who in your organization is going to be controlled by it. Does
it cover everybody in the mailroom right through to the boardroom? Only senior managers?
That has to sign off onto it? Bear in mind that lower-level employees might not take very
seriously a document that senior managers either aren’t bound by, or take gently.
7. Be specific about implementation.
How can the Code be implemented? Once it’s written, does it gather dust, or does it
influence policy and exercise? What procedures have established yourself to make certain that writing a
Code is not only business navel-looking? A highly effective implementation
plan (possibly being an appendix towards the Code) will show you to any or all concerned the way the
values embodied inside your Code is going to be apply.
8. Arrange for education.
A vital facet of implementation needs to be worker education and training. How can
employees be educated concerning the Code? A Code are only able to work in case your
employees learn about it. Will new employees receive training concerning the Code’s
needs? Will current employees receive refresher courses? Specifically for large
organizations, the steps needed to coach employees around the needs of the Code
deserve special attention.
9. Be obvious about enforcement.
How, if, will the Code be enforced? Exist specific penalties for violating the
Code, or perhaps is the Code just there to supply guidance? Who’ll decide when an
worker has violated the Code will that depend on the employees’ immediate
supervisor, or will that function as the exclusive domain of senior managers?
10. Specify a sunset date.
When will the code be reviewed and updated? Occasions change, and new issues arrived at
light, so consider indicating to start dating ? for revising and refreshing your Code.
You may also download a printable PDF form of this document here.
Chris MacDonald, Ph.D. Chris MacDonald teaches philosophy at Saint Mary’s
College in Halifax, Quebec, Canada. He’s printed on an array of topics
in ethics, varying from business ethics and professional ethics through health-care
ethics and ethical issues in technology. Also, he runs the planet’s largest ethics
book shop, that exist on-line at world wide web.ethicsweb.ca/books, in addition to a
popular website on Codes of Ethics, at world wide web.ethicsweb.ca/codes.