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Business Ethics Essay

Essay by   •  July 7, 2015  •  Research Paper  •  2,788 Words (12 Pages)  •  1,353 Views

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Introduction

Business ethics is the study of proper business policies and practices regarding potentially controversial issues, such as corporate governance, insider trading, bribery, discrimination, corporate social responsibility and fiduciary responsibilities (Investopedia, n.d.). Business ethics are often guided by law but are not the same as the law. There are many acts that are unethical but they are not illegal. For example, a sales associate can knowingly sell a product that will not perform up to expectations. The fact that they know there is a defect with the product but still sells it to the vulnerable consumer is unethical. Business ethics also provides a straightforward structure that businesses may choose to follow in order to gain the approval of the public. Business ethics tools are constantly evolving and since the 1970s corporations have addressed business ethics in various ways, including:

• The introduction of compliance programs and managers. Compliance encourages monitoring of transactions. This ensures that the level of service and the staff performance is where it should be.

• The addition of board-level ethics committees.

• The development of codes of conduct. Codes of conduct are a good place for quick reference as to what conduct is expected from you and that way you cannot use the excuse that you did not know.

• The preparation and dissemination of values statements. Everyone that is employed with the organization should be aware of the values and missions at their place of employment and Human Resources should make sure that every single person has easy access to these statements for their viewing pleasure.

• The hiring of corporate social responsibility managers.

• Training programs of all kinds. Training is good because it shows the staff that you care about what they are learning and it shows that the company does not mind spending time and money to develop their employees. Training most certainly builds employee confidence.

(Hurst, 2004).

All of these ways to address ethics can be very beneficial to businesses but be advised to research what will work for the betterment of your specific organization’s needs.

A code of ethics is the most comprehensive and consists of general statements, sometimes altruistic or inspirational, that serve as principles and as the basis for the rules of conduct defects (Ferrell, C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L., 2013). In this final paper a code of ethics will be presented and the question, ‘Does a code of ethics help organizations be more ethical?’ will be answered. For the purposes of this paper and to clearly illustrate the code of ethics a company by the name of Coley Corporation will be utilized. A company must have an effective ethics program to ensure the employees understand its values and comply with its policies and codes of conduct. An ethics program should help reduce the possibility of legally enforced penalties and negative public recreation to misconduct (Ferrell et al., 2013).

Statement of Values

The statement of values would stem from family backgrounds, experiences and personal morals and values. Everyone has beliefs in which their ethics is determined. Research has found that corporate code of ethics often contain about six core values or principles in addition to more detailed descriptions and examples of appropriate conduct. The six values that have been suggested as being desirable for codes of ethics are:

1. Trustworthiness

2. Respect

3. Responsibility

4. Fairness

5. Caring

6. Citizenship

(Ferrell et al., 2013)

Coley lives by the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. A lot of her beliefs come from her Christian upbringing, therefore the way she views ethics would start from there. There is still personal accountability involved as well because a choice is presented and the decision is your’s whether it is ethical or not.

Ethics is important in business because it can make or break you. No ethical person wants to be affiliated with any business that is considered unethical. With the given information Coley’s Corporation value statement would read:

This Code of Ethics shall apply to everyone associated with Coley Corporation. Coley Corp is committed to the highest standards of social and business practices. Everyone associated with Coley shall be expected to obcerve the highest standards of integrity as they conduct the day to day operations of Coley and in working with the clients of the business. Everyone associated with Coley Corp shall at all times observe this Code of Ethics of the business and shall behave ethically and legally with the highest level of business ethics and personal integrity in all such business transactions and relations with Coley Corporation clients.

Discrimination

Coley Corporation shall treat all employees and partners fairly and shall not discriminate gainst any employee or partner on the basis of age, sexual orientation, color, creed, gender, ethnic origin, disability, or marital status. The business shall be an equal opportunity employer and shall provide equal opportunities to all those associated with Coley in respect to furthering education and skill development. At no time shall Coley Corporation tolerate harassment or discrimination to an employee by another employee and shall not promote such haraament in the business’ workplace.

Conduct

Coley Corporation believes that all people should be treated with dignity. Any conduct that fails to show appropriate respect to others including fellow employees, customers, vendors and suppliers violates the business’ values and those responsible will be dealt with accordingly. The following conduct is unacceptable: intimidation, ridicule, sexual advancement, insults, vulgarity, harassment, abuse and insensitivity to others beliefs and customs. Activities at Coley must reflect the standards of honestly, loyalty, accountability and concern for others. Any illegal acts are strictly prohibited.

The statement should be clear as it will need to be communicated unmistakingly and understood by everyone that is associated with Coley Corp.

Training and Communication Plan

Due to the importance of the code of ethics it is paramount that

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