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Codes of Conduct in the Workplace

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Communications
Wordcount: 2362 words Published: 21st Jun 2018

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A code of conduct is a set of guidelines clarifying the responsibilities of an individual, a group of people or organization. Other concepts that are similar to code of conduct are religious laws, moral codes and ethical. Code of conduct is also known as ethics, values, standards or rules of behavior that monitor the decisions or measures of an organization. It contributes to the welfare of an organization and it makes sure that it compliments each and every individual of that organization. A code of conduct has to be build or formulated under different departments and legislations (laws) depending on the goal or which circumstance the code conduct has to be drawn under.

It has to be approved by all members of the group. It must be signed by the board and be fair to all the group members. It serves as an oath on every state of legislation. Code of conduct must have certain procedures that the members need to follow. It includes principles that are designed to help professionals to conduct business with honesty and integrity. A code of conduct document may have a summary of a mission and values of a business or organization, and how the members should approach unethical incidents in the working environment.

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The code of conduct assists the individual to perform professionally. It acts as a barrier to make it point that members don’t cross certain points in an organization. It helps individual to contribute effectively to the tasks given. Code of conduct have an advantage in it especial when it comes to conflict. This means having a set of rules that individuals work according fewer conflicts involve. Those who violate or fail to comply with the code of conduct will be subject to disciplinary measures that might include dismissal if it is agreed upon.

A code is also a tool to encourage discussions of ethics and to improve how employees/members deal with the ethical dilemmas, prejudices and gray areas that are encountered in everyday work. A code is meant to complement relevant standards, policies and rules, not to substitute for them.

Codes of conduct offer an invaluable opportunity for responsible organizations to create a positive public identity for themselves which can lead to a more supportive political and regulatory environment and an increased level of public confidence andtrust among important constituencies and stakeholders. (Principles of Stakeholder Management, The Clarkson Centre for Business Ethics, 1999, p. 12.)

Codes of conduct have been around for quite some time. The purpose of the code of conduct is to make a point that the rules and standards of a business or organisation are met. They serve as a base to carry common obligations. Even, though people confused them with law rules. They capture vision for excellence for individuals and organizations. Codes are not meant for professional environment only; you can find them at church, political parties, schools, communities, organizations and businesses. There are there to emphasis dedication to employees and individuals to make them responsible not to create trouble or blame one another about certain things in a group or team.

Codes of conduct are designed different their can have a negative and positive influence towards the employees or members. A former US Supreme Court Justice, Earl Warren wrote “law float on a sea of ethics”. In my own understanding this quote means everything that concerns the law is dealt with a according to the rules or ethics. A good social and cultural consideration helps with implementing code of conduct. Code of conduct determines economic growth and development of a certain business or organization.

The code of conduct is approved by Island Council that it provides guidance to members on what standards they must or expected to conduct them according. Therefore members are required to comply with the code of conduct. According to the Pitcairn Island code of conduct it’s a priority for members to attend the meetings. If they don’t attend justification of being absent is required. Members must come prepared to the meeting and arrive in time. Nolan principle emphasis that the members must comply according to the following aspects: selflessness, integrity, objectives, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. If conflict arises as a result of clashes in one of the mentioned principles public is more favoured (when experiencing conflict between personal and public integrity, after a decision is made public integrity is more favoured). (Prime Minister John Mayor.20 October 2011.Committee on Standards in Public Life).[Online].Available:www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/committee_on_Standards_in_Public .[20 Mach 2014]).

Some people don’t agree with the code of conduct so that means it has disadvantages as well. Opponents conserve that codes of conduct are often only pleasant, predictable and worthless words without any obligation. However, if the code of conduct has been established jointly by every person in the business or organization, and it is constantly reviewed due to changes and new experiences it will have a great value. Opponents often see code of conduct simply as a resourceful marketing and public relation tool. Thought, an existed code of conduct demonstrates its value in crisis circumstances rather than in trouble free times. Employees or members will be the ones who will face painfully experience as the result of an unnoticed written code of conduct.

Critics doubt that management really expects employees or members to obey to the ethical values of its code of conduct, if it would mean losing business or reducing profits. Upholding high ethical standards is important to stay in a business and maintaining long term profitability. Therefore management and the owners of the business expect employees to always act according to ethical principles. It has been recommended that a code of conduct is not in the interest business or organization. The more the business or organization focuses to a code of conduct the greater the advantage of members or employees to cheat.

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An industry that believes in ethical behavior doesn’t take time in punishing the person who broke the rule. Occasionally it is felt that a code of conduct is reassuring unrealistic expectations, that it is self-righteous talk and spiritual beliefs about what is possible in a hard, realistic business world. One main crisis with a code of conduct is that it needs to take subjective standards and make them objective. Indeed this is their main point to take subjective standards and make them a common sequence of standards. A disadvantage of a code of conduct it needs to be forced (consequences) in order for people to obey it. Code of conduct is vague, what it says is not what it means because top managers interpret it according to managers needs.

A code of conduct is a company’s professional belief of ethics morals, values and appropriate behavior for its operation, imposed by the leaders. In order for a code of conduct to work in an organization or business it must be flexible to employees. Managers must allow employees to participate in formulating a code of conduct. Code of conduct it doesn’t consist of positive ethical rules and it doesn’t give employees freedom of choice. I think it’s a good idea to revisit the code of conduct now and then to see if it’s still on point with what’s going on in the business or organization.


  1. http://www.djargoproject.com/conduct/2013 -04-08 [17 March 2014]
  2. Ethics codes & codes of conduct as tools for Promoting an Ethical & Profession Public Service: Comparative Success & Lesson. 2005. Prem, World Bank, Washington DC.1 – 76.
  3. Driscoll, Dawn-Marie and W. Michael Hoffman, Ethics Matters: How to Implement Values-Driven Management, 2000, p. 77.
  4. Principles of Stakeholder Management, The Clarkson Centre for Business Ethics, 1999, p. 12.
  5. http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/employee-development-employee-ethics/913929-1.html Louise Balle [20 March 2014]
  6. https://www22.verizon.com/about/careers/pdfs/CodeOfConduct.pdf [19 March 2014]
  7. http://www.allbusiness.com/professional-scientific/accounting-tax-preparation/4500132-1.html [18 March 2014]
  8. Www.pwc.co.za. (2008) Code of conduct the way we do business. [Online] Available from – http: //www.pwc.co.za/en_ZA/za/assets/pdf/pwc-code-of-conduct-june-08.pdf. [Accessed: 18 March 2014].
  9. Island Council. 9 November 2011. Code of Conduct. 1 – 6.


In our group we understand a code of conduct as a set of conventional principles and expectations that are considered binding on any person who is a member of a particular group. Code of conduct is rules and regulations that guide the group to a common goal and delegating the responsibilities to individuals for proper and effective running of the task given. It’s an agreement on rules of behavior by the group. In our group we expect all the group members to obey, follow and comply to the code of conduct, if not there will be consequences faced.

Statement of Core Values

  1. Build trust and Credibility – the success of the group depends on the trust that we earn from each other as a group members. Commitment is important when working in groups, showing integrity, honesty and trustworthy.
  2. Respect for the individual – respect is very important when working with people. Every individual in a group deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. If we treat each other with respect there will be fewer conflicts.
  3. Intercultural Communication – everyone should be treated equally, so that they can feel comfortable to express their feelings and views. Understanding other people’s culture makes communication easy between one another.
  4. Conflicts of Interest – when conflict arise the group leader mustn’t take sides because the conflict involves his/her friend. The conflict must be resolved in a fair manner to both parties.
  5. Participation – all group members are required to participate in a group task and take responsibility by doing their work in time.
  6. Sub-Groups – during group discussion there must be no sub-groups within the groups. This can cause conflict and it’s so disrespectful to do that.
  7. Communication – professional way of communicating is very important it gives others a chance to voices their thoughts. When talking all at the same time nothing will be resolved or conflict will arise.
  8. Time Management – everyone is expected to arrive in time during meetings. Members should inform the group in advance if they are going to be absent with a valid reason.
  9. Plagiarism – copying of other peoples work is not encourage as we all know that plagiarism is a big offence to commit. Every research you do must be reference so that you can be safe.
  10. Team Work – working together save time. Makes the tasks very easy and you have an advantage of finishing n time.
  11. Cell phones – playing with a cell phone while we are in a meeting is not allowed. This means that you don’t want to be part of the meeting. When receiving a call you can go out quietly and answer your call.
  12. Language – since we diverse cultural group, English is an appropriate language to use so we can understanding each other
  13. Aggressive behavior – vulgar language, aggressive attitude and violence are not allowed. We need to be respectful to others and talk to each other in a respectful way.
  14. Confidentiality – no confidential information may be disclosed without permission of a group.


Penalties of breaching a code of conduct depend on many factors such as:

  • Who breached the code of conduct?
  • How and when did they breached the code of conduct
  • What were the effects of the breach?
  • Whether the behavior has taken place repeatedly or is a once off thing?

Penalties would be as follows:

  • Request the person to change their behavior
  • Issue an informal or formal warning (written or verbal)
  • If the behavior continues in several occasions ask the person to leave the group immediately
  • Last action is to ban the person from coming to the group


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