Business Ethics- Is It Ethical To Have a Code of Conduct Without Enforcement?

Is it ethical to have a code of ethics if you don’t enforce it?  Is this good business ethics?

I suppose I better answer this in the name of business ethics.

This question was bounced around in a global group I am a member of.  Its a crazy question to ask.

There are a lot of companies who don’t have ethics statements or code of conducts.  Why would they prioritize practicing good business ethics?  Just a thought to ponder.

Then we have a group of companies who put a code of conduct in place and let it collect dust in a filing cabinet.  Really.

We also have groups of companies who have a code of conduct and choose not to enforce it.  And we expect good business ethics from them?  What a waste of time!!

Do us all a favor when it comes to good business ethics.  We all want quality environments to work in where principles stand for something. 

That means you take the time to create a good ethical culture.  This is done by creating codes of conducts and ethical statements.

Put some time into it, some substance, and discuss it frequently.  This is the beginning of good business ethics.

Know why?  When employees understand that there is beef behind codes of conduct, namely constant emphasis and enforcement, you create an atmosphere of compliance. 

Anotherwords, employees want to conform and do the right thing.

And when they see an employee do something that isn’t appropriate or violates their code, they are more apt to report it internally.  This is sound business ethics.

This represents enforcement at its very best!! 

But, there are plenty of naysayers and doubters in executive ranks.  They think they have all the answers.

Codes of Conduct and Ethical Statements don’t equate to sound business ethics in their view.  After all, they have businesses to run and don’t have the time to devote to mindless verbage.

I’ve had owners and senior managers say this to me.  They just don’t get it.

Nor will I spend a lifetime trying to convince them.  They are overated managers and leaders.

Dime a dozen and disposable like toilet paper.  Ask the employees who work for them.




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2 Responses to Business Ethics- Is It Ethical To Have a Code of Conduct Without Enforcement?

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