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Ethics and code of ethics

Read Consider: What’s in a Name of an Ethics Code? in Chapter 9, then answer these following questions from the text:

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  • How does the title of a company’s ethics document affect your attitude about the content? Is one title more attractive than another?
  • What is the overall message that the title of the code of conduct conveys? Does it reflect the purpose of the document to provide employee guidance on expected conduct?
  • Propose creative titles for ethics codes for a pharmaceutical company and a restaurant. (Gonzalez-Padron, 2015).
  • Look for two other company ethics documents and share the titles of their ethics documents (consider your own organization or one that you are familiar with for this question)


Consider: What’s in a Name of an Ethics Code?

The document that summarizes the company’s ethical and legal standards can go by many names, including:

    • Code of conduct;
    • Code of ethics;
    • Code of business conduct;
    • Code of ethical and legal standards;
    • Ethics guide;
    • Code of employee conduct; or
    • Standards of professional and business conduct.

The title of the document can create a brand for the company’s ethics and compliance. The content becomes relevant to the workforce when the code ties the ethics and compliance program to the company’s mission or business strategy. The title can make that connection and serve as a theme throughout the document. Consider these titles for company code of conduct documents:

    • Setting Our Sights High (Bausch & Lomb Incorporated);
    • Follow the Right Road (The Auto Club Group); and
    • Inside the Lines (Nike).

Sources: Ethics and Compliance Officer Association Foundation, 2008, p. 58; Martens, 2012.

Questions to Consider

    1. How does the title of a company’s ethics document affect your attitude about the content? Is one title more attractive than another?
    1. What is the overall message that the title of the code of conduct conveys? Does it reflect the purpose of the document to provide employee guidance on expected conduct?
    1. Propose creative titles for ethics codes for a pharmaceutical company and a restaurant.

Implementing an effective code of conduct is not a simple task. One study found that a code for equal opportunity in the hiring process limits discrimination only when enforced by management and integrated into normal practice (Petersen & Krings, 2009). Enforcement of the document requires close attention to the tone and terminology, such as phrases like “may result in disciplinary action.” The U.S. courts find that such ambiguous penalties for noncompliance negate contractual obligations to comply with a code of conduct (Kenny, 2007). The design of the document and the communication of the code play a critical role in embedding the ethical standards for conduct throughout the organization (Kaptein, 2011; Verbos, Gerard, Forshey, Harding, & Miller, 2007).  The following sections outline best practices in designing a code of conduct document.


Medical Tourism has become a growing industry, especially in developing countries. Research the topic of medical tourism and reflect on the ethics related to this industry.  Develop a code of conduct for medical tourism.

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