Personal Code of Conduct and Professional Principles in Business Ethics
Ethics programs are developed as organizational control system, the aim of which is to create predictability in employee behavior (Jennings 1952). Codes of conduct provide awareness on the appropriate behavior in an organization. This helps the organization maintain high levels of integrity while individual employees are able to avoid getting into trouble with the administration. It is a measure, which one refers to, when caught up in an ethical dilemma. Most employees strive to live by the organizational codes of conduct to safeguard their reputation and their jobs (Weiss 4). However, this is not often easy. WorldCom’s Betty Vinson is a good example of good employees who may find themselves in big scandals by making one bad choice. The decision making process is thus an asset to every individual who hopes to avoid getting into sticky situations. This paper will provide my outline of a personal code of conduct that I follow to ensure I make credible ethical decisions at all times.
Compliance to a personal code of conduct is not often easy. This is especially the case when one is caught in an ethical dilemma. For instance, Vinson is a name associated with the biggest corporate scandal to date. However, her story is a depiction of the ethical decision she had to make. While working as an accountant at WorldCom, she was persuaded by her superiors to engage in fraudulent activities, and anti-fraud charges were brought against her according to the Securities Act, and Exchange Act. Mrs. Vinson’s background as depicted by Wall Street Journal implies that she is a responsible woman with no history of criminal activities. However, she falls for the order to make false accounting entries despite her better judgment, just because it is an order from her superiors. This went on for over 18 months, at which time the scandal was revealed (Puliam 1).
A code of conduct is a printed article that contains motivational information and often specifies acceptable and unacceptable behavior. It resembles a regulatory set of rules closely, thus its content often elicit less debate, and the actions documented therein are specific. Research has found that corporate code of conduct often contain about six core values or principles in addition to more detailed descriptions and examples of appropriate conduct. The six values include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship (Jennings 1952). The following is an outline of the personal code of conduct that I hope to uphold.
Regarding responsibility, I will be accountable for all my personal and professional actions, without blaming anyone on the repercussions of my activities. I will also handle all my responsibilities with high integrity to ensure productive work at all times. I will be obliged to act in a manner that will be of public interest, by respecting citizens, being trustworthy, and exhibiting dedication to professionalism, in accordance with Kant’s ideology on ethical resolution. Regarding integrity, I will uphold and expand civic confidence, I will be professionally responsible and accountable for my actions, and I will uphold neutrality and avoid conflicts of interests in discharging professional responsibilities through utilitarianism. In public practice, I will exercise independency of though and appearance while auditing and offering other services. Moreover, I will observe the professional set rules and regulations and always put effort in delivery of my services in the best way possible. In addition, I will observe professional set rules and regulations in determining the nature and range of professional services provided.
The following guiding principles help motivate one in respect of right of conduct and actions. Commitment and hard work, assertiveness, excellence, social responsibility, good inter-personal and communication skills are excellent principles in the decision making process. I will also endeavor to learn from the lessons presented by every failure, live according to the three R’s, that is, respect for others, respect for self, and responsibility, and I will accept mistakes and take immediate measures to correct them. Embracing change without compromising on your values, living a praiseworthy life in order to avoid regret in future as this leaves a good legacy, sharing my knowledge, sacrificing in order to achieve high levels of integrity will also motivate me towards complying with the my personal code of conduct (Weiss 56).
In brief, sticking to a code of conduct helps one avoid several ethical dilemmas. A code of conduct forms the basis on which ethical decisions are made. Vinson would have escaped involvement in the WorldCom scandal if she had adhered to her strict principles. Her compromise led to worse repercussions, since she may end up in jail leaving her 12-year-old behind. If she had stood up to her superior and maintained her stand of not being involved in the scandal, then she could have just lost her job while retaining her dignity (Puliam 1). Thus, forming a personal code of conduct is the stepping-stone to moral success. However, one has to implement these codes in order for them to be effective.
Jennings, Marianne. Business Ethics Case Studies and Selected Readings, sixth edition, New York: Cengage Learning. 2009. Print
Puliam, Susan. “How the scandal unfolded at WorldCom.” Wall Street Journal. Web.
Weiss, Joseph. Business Ethics: A stakeholder and issues management approach. New York: Thomson Learning. 2003. Print