Structure of Ethics Management Programme


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

A sound ethics management programme in an organisation include: (i) formal code of conduct; (ii) ethics committee; (iii) ethical communication; (iv) an ethic office with Ethical officers; (v) Ethics Training Programme; (vi) a disciplinary system; (vii) establishing an ombudsperson; and (viii) monitoring,
Code of conduct and Ethics
Several organizations have started the process with developing and implementing codes of conduct for their employees. Codes of conduct are statements of organizational values. It comprises of three elements such as a code of ethics, a code of conduct and statement of values. a code of conduct is a written document, inspirational in contents and specifies clearly what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior at workplace and beyond ,when the employees represent their organizations outside. In general the code should reflect the managements desire to incorporate the values and policies of the organization. The statement of values envisages by the management to serve the public and normally addresses the stakeholders groups.
      A code of ethics is a buzzword to employees to observe ethical norms and forms the basis for rules of conduct. It is comprehensive enough to cover the entire scheme of organizational ethics expected to be followed by everyone in the company. It usually specifies methods for reporting violations, disciplinary action for violations and a structure of the due process to be followed.
     A code of ethics must summarize the beliefs and values of the organization. Those beliefs and values should become internalized by all employees and used regularly in all business practices, no matter the type of business. Owners of businesses that routinely engage in unethical practices cannot help but pass those values and principles along to the other people working in the business. Small businesses suffer even more, because unethical behavior and actions are easier for customers to take notice of. Once customers become aware that a business does not have high ethical ideals, they will take their business elsewhere.
Codes of ethics vary among businesses, and also from one country to another,. When business grows large enough to expand its operations into other countries, It is critical to hire talent to assist in training existing personnel with regard to the integrity, understanding, responsibility, and cultural norms of the country where the new operation is located. All employees must be treated equally, and any issues of inequality must be dealt with quickly, fairly, and in a manner that is satisfactory to all.
Today, more than ever before, consumers pay a great deal of attention to corporate governance and proper behavior of businesses and their owners. Because the marketplace is flooded with numerous variations of the same businesses, promises must be fulfilled and the price and quality of products must be equal to what is advertised, or another business will step into deliver. Therefore a code of ethics where unarticulated or formally documented – is vital to ensuring that a business will succeed.
A code of ethics that is both defines and acted upon is part of the business culture of every successful business, and must become the mantra of every business owner. Growing a flourishing business through the use of sound ethical principles will reap not only the benefits of grown and prosperity, but also the satisfaction of being able to sleep soundly at night.
Ethics Committee
Ethics committee is formed in many organizations. They are wholly devoted at work places. These committees can rise concerns of ethical nature; prepare or update code of conduct, and resolve ethical dilemma in organizations. they formulate ethical policies and develop ethical standards. The committee evaluates the compliance of the organization with these ethical norms. The members of the ethical committee should be selected from those persons who have knowledge in their industry, their code of ethics and community standards. The committee members are also conscious about the corporate culture and ethical concise of the organization.
The following committees are to be formed :-
(i) Establishing an ethics committee at the board level -
The committee would be charged to oversee development and operation of the ethics management programme.
(ii) Establishing an Ethics Management committee -
Ethics Management committee would be charged with implementing and administrating an ethics management programme, including administrating and training about policies and procedures, and resolving ethical dilemmas. The committee should be comprised of senior officers.
Ethical Communication System
The next step is the establishment of an effective ethical communication system. Ethical communication system place an important role in making an ethics programme successful. It should allow employees to make enquiries , get advice if needed or report wrong doing. Ethical communication system is a necessity to educate employees about the organizations ethical standard and policies. It has the following objectives -
(i) to communicate the organizations‘ values and standards of ethical conduct or business to employees.
(ii) to provide information to the employees on the company‘s policies and procedure regarding ethical conduct of business.
(iii) to help employees to get guidance and resolve questions regarding compliance with the firms standards of conducts and values.
(iv) to set up the means of enquiry such as telephone hotlines, suggestion boxes and email facilities for employees to contact with and get advice from competent authorities.
Along with these means of communication there are other ways , that can be used to communicate an organization‘s moral standards to its employees. Top management can communicate the ethical standards to lower level managers and they can communicate it to operational levels. Sometimes the organization publishes newsletters. It can be used to expose company‘s code or ethics. If an organization has briefing and management meeting, these can be used as a means of communicating values. Certain companies use attractive multi colored posters to publicize their codes and ethics, these posters are placed in most visible places of the organization premises.
Ethics Office and Officers
Ethics offices are to be established to communicate and implement ethics policies among employees of the organization. For this purpose an ethics officer is to be appointed. The ethics officer should develop a reputation for credibility, integrity, honesty and responsibility through establishment of such ethics monitoring bodies.
Functions of the Ethics Officers
1. Ethics officers are responsible for assessing the needs and risks that an organization-wide ethics programme must address.
2. To develop and distribute a code of conduct or ethics
3. To conduct ethical training programme for employees
4. To establish and maintain a confidential service to answer employees questions about ethical issues.
5. To ensure that the organization is in compliance with governmental regulations
6. To monitor and audit ethical conduct
7. To take action on possible violations of the company‘s code
8. To review and update code in time
Ethics Training Programme
To ensure a good ethical behavior in the organization the employees are to be given training. For this purpose a corporate ethical training programme is to be devised. The main objective of an ethical training program is to offer assistance to employees to understand the ethical issues that are likely to arise in their work place. When new employees are to be recruited, the induction training should be arranged for them.
This training will help to familiarize with the company‘s ethical code of behavior. Importance of abiding code should be dealt with at the induction meeting. A well developed and proper training programme will help the employees to understand the organizations policies and expectations, important and relevant rules, bye laws and regulations which are to be complied in the organization by the employees. For the success of the training programmes , the senior executive from every department must involve fully in the training programme.
Disciplinary System
Code of conduct or ethical behavior codes should be properly enforced in the organization to achieve the organization‘s objectives. A disciplinary system should be established to deal with ethical violations promptly and severely. If unethical behavior is not properly dealt with, it will threaten the entire social system that supports the ethical behavior of the organization. While enforcing disciplines to ensure ethical conduct, companies should be consistent. ,i.e., the company should adopt a fair attitude towards every one without any discrimination or bias.
Establishing an Ombudsperson
The ombudsperson is responsible to help coordinate development of the policies and procedures to institutionalize moral values in the workplace. This position usually is directly responsible for resolving ethical dilemmas by interpreting policies and procedures.
Monitoring
To become an ethical programme fruitful and successful, an effective monitoring committee is to be formed. It can be monitored through keen observation by ethics officers, internal audits, surveys, investigations and supporting systems.
 
Advantages of Managing Ethics in Workplace
 
Significant improvement to society
Application of business ethics helps to avoid many evils from the society. It includes child labour, unscrupulous price fixing, harassment of employees, poverty and starvation of employees etc.
Cultivate strong team work and productivity
Ethical programme helps to tune employee behavior in accordance with the values preferred by leaders of the organization. It helps to build openness, integrity and a sense of oneness among all. Employees feel strong alignment between their values and those of the organization and they react with strong motivation and performance.
Support Employee Growth
Ethics programme help employees to face reality, both good and bad in the organization and themselves. They feel full confidence to admit and deal with whatever comes their way.
Insurance policy
Ethical programs help to ensure that policies are legal. Ethical principles are often applied to current, major ethical issues and become legislation. A major intent of well designed personnel policies is to ensure ethical treatment of employees.
Avoid Penal action
Ethical programs help to detect issues and violations early so that they can be reported or addressed which helps to avoid subsequent penal actions and lower fines.
Helps in Quality Management, Strategic planning and diversity management
Ethical programme identify favorite values and ensure organizational behaviors which are associated with those values. This complex effort can be aligned with values, including quality management, strategic planning and diversity management

Thursday, 13th Mar 2014, 07:17:57 PM

Add Your Comment:
Post Comment