CREATING AN ETHICS PROGRAM FOR AN ORGANIZATION

Imagine that you work in the Human Resources department of a company and that the CEO and Board of Directors has asked the HR department to develop an ethics program for the company. You have been assigned the responsibility of creating an ethics program and have two weeks to come up with a draft version of a code of ethics for the company, a summary of other elements that the ethics program will include, and a proposal for how to assess whether the program is working.

The CEO and Board of Directors has asked you to come prepared to explain what role your team can play in promoting ethics and ensuring the success of the ethics program. After doing the research, the CEO/Board of Directors comes up with eight potentially desirable outcomes of an effective ethics programs:

  1. Discovery of unethical/illegal behavior and reduction of meltdowns.
  2. Awareness of ethical and legal issues.
  3. A resource for guidance and advice.
  4. Accurate reports of wrongdoing.
  5. Greater customer loyalty.
  6. Incorporation of values in decision processes.
  7. Greater employee commitment and loyalty to the organization.
  8. Satisfaction of external and internal stakeholder needs
    Consider the following questions as you complete the task of developing the ethics program:

• List the issues you think should be addressed in a code of ethics.
• Other than a code of ethics, what other elements would you include in an ethics program?
• How will you define “success?” Are there any facts that you will need to gather to make this judgment?
• How would you measure success along the way? How will you measure whether your ethics program is “working” before you reach any end objective?
• Whom will you define as your primary stakeholders?
• What are the interests of your stakeholders in your program and what are the impacts of your program on each stakeholder? How might the measurement of the program’s success influence the type of people attracted to the firm or who are most motivated within your organization?
• How will you answer the CEO’s questions about her own role in promoting ethics?

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