Importance of a Code of Ethics

Whether ethics is an innate or learned characteristic is debatable. However, what is not debatable is that ethics must be addressed and that importance is outlined within a code of ethics. Codes of ethics represent the standard of practice or behaviors in an organization.

  1. Function

    • A code of ethics is designed to create a standard of practice within an organization or business. Codes of ethics vary and are industry-specific and should be created by the organization in which they are used.


    • Characteristics in a code of ethics determine what behaviors are acceptable at work and then create accountability, honesty and advocacy among employees. The standard set within a code of ethics determines a higher level of integrity that creates structure in the workplace.


    • Codes of ethics are important because they define a company’s acceptable behaviors. Once these behaviors are known, they also set a higher level of practice for the company to adhere to. This higher level of practice sets a company apart from the competition, which may not utilize a code of ethics.


    • A code of ethics creates accountability among employees. When there is a standard of practice within a company, employees self-evaluate their behavior against the required behaviors within the code of ethics, thus creating accountability.


    • A code of ethics should be specific to a company. The content of a code of ethics inadvertently outlines acceptable and unacceptable behaviors in the organization; feedback received from employees will help in the development of a company’s code of ethics.

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