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BLE 215


Your group project is to draft an ethics code for your
business. Your business team will be
responsible to review and apply the attached guidelines in writing the code for
your business. There are samples for ethics codes of various companies noted
below. You can refer to them for
guidance but you cannot copy them.

Does it sound like it should be easy to write an ethics code
for a business? Think about it. First, what rules should be included? Is the
business one subject to heavy governmental regulation and therefore, subject to
unique ethical and legal duties? Are
there certain core rules dealing with such things as conflict of interest,
self-dealing and theft of business property that should be universally included
in every business ethical code?

What about language and application? In the law, the requirements of due process
require that every rule or law provide an ordinary person with notice of the
conduct that is circumscribed by the rule.
No rule can cover every factual situation so how does a business team
draft a rule that can be applied in different factual situations and at the same
time provide adequate specificity, not be too general, in order to give a
person notice of the particular conduct that the rule covers.

What about explanations or interpretations of the rule?
Often a rule makes more sense when there is some kind of explanatory section
that explains the application of the rule.

What role does corporate culture play in drafting
business rules? Corporate culture is the product of individual personalities,
preferences and predispositions. It
forms the “petri dish” in which behaviors are formulated and acted out.


Each group will form a business and select a
business activity such as manufacturing, service provider, or money managers,
etc. The team will research and determine the regulations that apply to their
particular business operation and any other special legal duties applicable to
that particular business. Those rules
will be included in the code. The team will meet and draft three ethics rule
and an advisory comment section for each rule, explaining the purpose and
application of the rule. Each rule and
accompanying comment should be no more than 1-2 pages. The comment must refer to materials in the
case studies and readings. Additional references are acceptable. The teams will
compile their codes and present them to the class.

See next page, Guidance
For Writing A Code of Ethics
by Dr. Chris MacDonald, for content and

See Honda of America website for a sample ethics and
compliance code:


This is also available in hardcopy in the instructor
handout packet

for Writing a Code of Ethics

Chris MacDonald, Ph.D.

suggestions are in no particular order.

  1. What will be the purpose of your new code? Is
    it to regulate behaviour? To inspire?
  2. Different kinds of documents serve different
    purposes. Is your new document intended to guide people or to set
    out requirements? Is it really a Code of Ethics that you need? You
    might consider creating a Statement of Values, a Policy, a Mission
    Statement, a Code of Conduct…
  3. A code of ethics should be tailored to the needs and
    values of your organization.
  4. Many ethics codes have two components. First, an aspirational
    section, often in the preamble, that outlines what the organization
    aspires to, or the ideals it hopes to live up to. Second, an ethics code
    will typically list some rules or principles, which members of the
    organization will be expected to adhere to.
  5. Will your new ethics document include some sort of
    enforcement? If so, what kind?
  6. Often the principles or values listed in an ethics
    document will be listed in rough order of importance to the organization.
    The ordering need not be strict, but generally the value or principle
    listed first will have a natural prominence.
  7. Think carefully about the process by which
    you create your new code. Who will be involved? A small working group? Or
    all the people affected by the code? How will you distil the needs of your
    organization and the beliefs of your members into a document? The process
    may matter as much as the final product.
  8. How will your new code be implemented? How will it
    be publicized, both inside and outside of your organization? What
    steps, if any, will be taken to ensure that the values embodied in your
    code get implemented in organizational policies and practices?
  9. How / when will your code be reviewed / revised?

And remember that a code of
ethics will not solve all ethical problems:

“But we must remember
that good laws, if they are not obeyed, do not constitute good government.
Hence there are two parts of good government; one is the actual obedience of
citizens to the laws, the other part is the goodness of the laws which they
obey…” (Aristotle, Politics 1294a3-6).



You have been hired by the Exxon-Valdez Subsidiary as the
Compliance Team from the Sawyer Business Consulting Firm to write a corporate
compliance plan. You will then be
required to present that plan to the company board of directors and management.
This is a publicly traded company. This
company that has just caused a major environmental oil spill and has low
employee productivity as a result of past internal mismanagement and financial
performance decisions. The company faces
criminal investigation, civil lawsuits, and possibly bankruptcy. Your compliance plan must show regulators and
stakeholders that the company has a new vision and internal controls to prevent
these problems from recurring in the future.

The case study that you are using is in the Hosmer text at
pp.146-162. Your consulting team should
read the case study carefully. Using the
sample corporate compliance plan from “HealthTronics” as a guide and the
Department of Justice guidelines (both on blackboard and attached to the
instructor handout package), prepare a 7-10 page Compliance Plan and prepare
the presentation to the company board and management which will take place
in-class. The plan should include a
mission statement, statement of values, code of conduct statement, written
standards and whatever other categories your team believes are required to deal
with the many problems facing this company.

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