Most organisations will, or should, have a code of ethics, conduct or behaviour. Many industries will also have a code of practice established by regulatory bodies or trade associations.
These codes generally have two components:
An aspirational section, which outlines the ideals to which it hopes to live up.
A list of rules or principles to which members will be expected to adhere.
The values embodied in these codes should be implemented in organisational policies and practices and reflected in the culture of the workplace.
Ethical behaviour and adherence to the principles of the codes begins at the very top of the organisation and applies to every member of the organisation. Ethics is the system of principles of right and wrong that govern morality and social conduct. The codes formalise, in writing, the values, conduct and behavioural expectations of the organisation/ industry and its members. It is not, however, enough to simply write out the code. If it is not communicated to all personnel, then the expectation that they adhere to is neither realistic nor fair.
Some business ethicists disagree that codes have any value. They believe that too much focus is put on the codes themselves, and that codes are not influential in managing workplace ethics. However, in an organisation where leadership behaviour demonstrably matches the expectations of the code and there is developing and continuing dialogue around the code’s values, then the code can act as a viable tool for managing organisational interactions.
Industries and organisations have responsibilities that go beyond a purely economic, profit-driven, self-interest focus to a concept of socioeconomic involvement. The organisation must consider its obligations with regard to the wider range of stakeholders—over and above the profit-making motive. These stakeholders include competitors, suppliers, the public, the financial sector, consumer/ political lobby groups, trade unions, local, state and...