An Examination of Several Aspects About the Code of Ethics

The book Case Studies in Business Ethics provides many real-world examples of companies that have had to focus on their ethical codes for one reason or another. One of the most compelling and valuable case studies offers an example of a technology company that found its code of ethics to be lacking in its application and use as the company had had a number of ethical violations in the months leading up to the evaluation.  The purpose of the evaluation was to examine several aspects about the code of ethics.

First of all, the company wanted to find out what information was lacking from the code of ethics that led to these violations. Furthermore, the company wanted to find if there was anything impeding the communication of the code of ethics to employees and various members of the organization In order to do this, they examined the mediums of communication which the code was transmitted. Finally, the company sought out to analyze if there was anything impeding the internalization of these codes.

In other words, management wanted to find out if there was something about the wording or style of the code that prevented those who received it from adopting the code as part of their own beliefs and conduct in the company.  The managers also found it necessary to analyze the violation data on a timescale in order to find out if there were certain timely factors that could be linked to the ethical violations. This served as a measurement scale as well of which the company could use to analyze the positive or negative effect of changes in the code of ethics to determine their relative success.

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In order to gain the necessary information in order to perform an evaluation, the company gathered several types of information.

First of all, someone from management interviewed many employees, they interviewed several types of employees ranging from those who had a clean record with no ethic violations to employees who had several ethics infractions in the past months. The questions were not predetermined but sought to find the reason(s) as to why the individual being questioned did or did not commit an ethical violation in certain scenarios. The questions also sought to determine how well the employees knew the code of ethics and if they knew they were committing an ethical violation before they did so. In the next stage of the information-gathering process, HR critically analyzed the various mediums of communication by which the code of ethics is transmitted. By analyzing the modes of communication, they were able to determine if certain groups of employees may not have been receiving the information enough to know it well.

The HR department found that while certain departments in the company placed a high value on these ethical codes, others did not seem to place importance on it at all. For example, the security division of the company relied heavily upon this code of ethics, not only was the code communicated to every new employee in the department upon their hiring, but at every departmental meeting, the monthly goals were analyzed in terms of how well they were meeting the company’s ethical guidelines. A contrasting department, programming, dealt little with the code of ethics. Upon hiring, new programmers would receive a welcome e-mail with several links.

One of the links is to a webpage that has the code of ethics, but besides this, the employees are not regularly encouraged to evaluate their decisions based on the ethical code of conduct. Though the majority of the data gathered was qualitative, the company was still able to effectively pinpoint the sources of the problems through the critical evaluation of the multiple types of data they had gathered. The key aspect of this evaluation was that it took a multidimensional approach. It did not seek to predetermine one source of the problem, but rather analyze multiple individual and systemic aspects of the code of ethics that could have been an issuer. In carrying forward with this type of evaluation, companies should certainly understand the multidimensional nature of organizational difficulties.

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An Examination of Several Aspects About the Code of Ethics. (2023, Mar 08). Retrieved from

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