­ Building a Code of Ethics

Shared values are more than lists of words hung on walls. They are operative beliefs that people of any description can apply in their labor toward a common vision. This common vision can be codified into a functional Code of Ethics.

For more than twenty five years, the Institute for Global Ethics has surveyed thousands of people worldwide, conducted focus groups, and worked with organizations to define sets of core, shared, ethical values. Sometimes these values sets become codes of ethics. Not surprisingly, the important values chosen by people everywhere tend to look rather similar, even when the value definition exercise is conducted in a language other than English. Five values have typically dominated the landscape:

  • Honesty
  • Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Compassion

Creating a code by seeking and listing the values is not enough. The sincere organization will request employees at all levels to decide how to apply those values in their everyday activities. They will look at how the values will affect planning and the process of determing organizational strategy. The values will also function as analytical tools in making mission decisions and in setting policy for personnel.

Contact the Institute today to schedule a time to discuss how we can help your organization revise or develop its Code of Ethics.

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