Elements of Business Ethics
(i) Top Management Commitment The Chief Executive Officer (or CEO) and other higher level managers need to be openly and strongly committed to ethical conduct as top management has a crucial role in guiding the entire organisation towards ethical behaviour.
(ii) Publication of a ‘Code’ The principles of conduct for the organisation in the form of written documents are referred to as the “code”. It generally covers areas such as fundamental honesty and adherence to laws; product safety and quality; health and safety in the workplace; conflicts of interest; fairness in selling/marketing practices and financial reporting.
(iii) Establishment of Compliance Mechanisms Suitable compliances mechanisms should be established to ensure that actual decisions and actions comply with the firm’s ethical standards. Some examples of such mechanisms are-considering values and ethics in recruiting and hiring; emphasising corporate ethics in training; auditing performance regularly to analyse the degree of compliance and instituting communication systems to help employees report incidents of unethical behaviour.
(iv) Involving Employees at All Levels Involvement of employees at all levels in ethics programmes is essential as it is the employees who implement ethics policies to make ethical business a reality. Thus, small groups of employees can be formed to discuss the important ethics policies of firms and examine attitudes of employees towards these policies.
(v) Measuring Results The firms must audit to monitor compliance with ethical standards to measure the end results of ethics programmes as far as possible and further course of action should then be decided by the top management team in discussion with other employees.