Published on March 15, 2014
Developing an Effective Ethics Program C H A P T E R 8
Chapter Objectives • To understand the responsibility of the corporation to be a moral agent • To understand why businesses need to develop ethics programs • To list the minimum requirements for an ethics program • To describe the role of codes of ethics in identifying key risk areas for the organization
Chapter Objectives (cont.) • To identify the keys to successful ethics training, including program types and goals • To examine the ways that ethical standards are monitored, audited, and enforced and to understand the need for continuous improvement
Chapter Outline • The Responsibility of the Corporation as a Moral Agent • The Need for Organizational Ethics Programs • An Effective Ethics Program • Codes of Conduct • Ethics Officers • Ethics Training and Communication • Systems to Monitor and Enforce Ethical Standards
Corporations as Moral Agents • Corporations are increasingly viewed as moral agents that are accountable for their conduct to stakeholders • Laws and regulations are necessary to provide formal structural restraints and guidance on ethical issues
The Need for Corporate Ethics Programs • Scandals in corporate America have reduced trust in businesses • Understanding the factors that influence ethical decision-making can help companies encourage ethical behavior • Employees are not legal experts and need guidance • Organizations should develop an organizational ethics program by establishing, communicating, and monitoring uniform ethical values and legal requirements
An Ethics Program Can Help Avoid Legal Problems • The FSGO encourage companies to assess key risks and create a program to address them • A program developed in the absence of misconduct will be more effective than one imposed as a reaction to scandal • The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 established new requirements for corporate governance to prevent fraudulent behavior in business
Corporate Codes of Ethics Often contain six core values 1. Trustworthiness 2. Respect 3. Responsibility 4. Fairness 5. Caring 6. Citizenship
Ethics Officers • Ethics officers or committees are responsible for oversight of the ethics/compliance program – Assess the needs and risks that an ethics program must address – Develop, revise, and disseminate the code – Conduct training programs for employees – Develop effective communication – Establish audits and control systems – Review and modify the program to improve effectiveness
Ethics Training and Communication • Must start with a foundation, a code of ethics, a procedure for airing ethical concerns, and executive priorities on ethics
Systems to Monitor and Enforce Ethical Standards • An effective ethics program employs many resources to monitor ethical conduct and measure the program’s effectiveness – Observing employees – Internal audits – Surveys – Reporting systems – Investigations – Independent audits
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