Table of Contents
This code of ethics is developed for training and educational purposes only for a fictitious company. The paper will describe a code of ethics for an imaginary start-up firm, which provides training services to elderly people. The company teaches their clients to use electronic devices, including (but not limited to) Windows operated personal computers, MAC books, other computers, desktops and laptops, tablet PCs operated by Android OS, IOS, Windows Mobile and other operating systems, smart phones, portable players, etc. These services are meant to help the clients of the company achieve personal freedom, avoid being isolated from the rest of society, and fill in the communicational gap that elderly people suffer from due to the circumstance that they oftentimes live separately from their relatives, which is complemented with the limited mobility for some of them.
About the Company
The paper describes the codes of ethics for a small start-up company and the evaluation principles for it. The company is called Digital Freedom and is a training center for the elderly people. It trains them to acquire necessary skills of working with computers and other digital devices, such as phones, tablet PCs, smart watches, operating under different OS.
The company is run by its founder, who is also the company’s CEO. However, it is expected that as the company grows and other branches may appear, the managerial staff may significantly increase. This is why it has been decided to develop a code of ethics for the company, which will later be followed by all the employees including the managerial staff.
The company’s staff consists of fifteen tutors, one technical specialist, and two secretaries.
This section of the paper is meant to explain all the most important concepts and terms applied in the paper.
Digital Freedom is a company that will refer to this particular code of action in its work. Throughout the document, it is often referred to as “the company”.
A code of ethics is understood as a set of values and norms that will under no circumstances be neglected or disregarded by any of the company’s employees. These norms regulate the way in which the company deals with its employees, stakeholders, and the rest of the world, sets the values by means of considering which a conflict may be resolved and a right course of action may be chosen. In accordance with the definition provided by the Business Dictionary (“Code of Ethics”, n.d.), this code of action is provided in printed and digital form for the sake of availability for all the company’s stakeholders and employees.
The company’s stakeholders are those whose interests may be directly affected by the company’s operation, the decision made by its managerial staff. This includes the owners of the company, all its employees as well as the company’s clients.
The guiding principles applied by the company are environmental sustainability and meeting the needs and expectations of the customers as well as providing interesting work environment for the employees.
When the company was developed, the founder of the company did not envision it as a company for making money. The company was to accomplish a certain mission. The company’s mission is helping elderly people integrate into modern realities better, which may be difficult to adjust to for many of them, by means of teaching them to apply electronic devices of various sorts in their everyday life. The application of these devices is believed to help them fill in the communicational gab, which actualizes with the age.
Code of Ethics
This section in details sets out the provisions of the company’s code of ethics.
A. The purpose of the code of ethics.
This code of ethics is meant to support the managerial staff in making the right decision in difficult situations, and it will help all the company’s employees integrate into the company’s staff better and easier.
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B. Core values. For the code of ethics to work properly, it is important to set out central values.
The central values shared by all the company’s employees and owners are respect for the client and responsible attitude to one’s obligations.
The mission of the company is to help the elderly people integrate into society better and improve their living conditions by means of using modern digital devices.
The point is that many elderly people lack communication due to living away from their close relatives. In addition, a great deal of modern time communication takes place in social networks, through various services of instant messaging, via email, and so on. In this respect. the elderly people may feel somewhat limited in their options.
On the other hand, being able to use digital devices in their everyday life may give elderly people an opportunity to improve their overall life quality by using various online services, information search, data storage options etc. Thus, the company mainly sees its mission as helping its elderly clients to avoid isolation from the rest of society and being behind the rest of society in terms of technical means.
The company’s stakeholders are the company’s clients, its employees, including its managerial staff, potential shareholders of the company, or its owners.
The interests of the clients are receiving reasonable innovative services of high quality at a reasonable price. It is important to realize that elderly people do not have significant budgets to operate on.
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The company is going to meet their interests by developing the most appropriate curricula for their clients and offering them to the clients at reasonable prices.
Another group of the company’s stakeholders is their employees. The interests of the employees are motivating work environment as well as competitive salary. The interests of the employees will be met through arranging work environment, which would motivate employees to both set goals and achieve them. Salary will be paid in strict accordance with the work load of one or another employee and their performance.
The next group of the company’s stakeholders is its shareholders and owners. They are interested in the company’s prosperity and increasing income. These interests will be met by means of implementing the norms above. Once the interests of the employees as well as of the customers are fully met, the company will certainly gain popularity both among potential customers and among potential employees. This, in its turn, will definitely positively influence the company’s income.
D. Guiding principles.
Guiding principles section is the body of the code of ethics. It articulates the guiding principles that will help the decision-makers select the right course of actions, settle the base for the decision-making, and establish the limits that cannot be broken by neither party involved in the fulfillment of the code of ethics.
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Here are the guiding principles that will determine the decision-making process and general behavior of the company’s stakeholders:
- The code of conduct
1.1. The employees will always be respectful of the customers.
1.2. The employees will always perform their duty in timely manner and with full involvement into the process.
1.3. The company’s employees cannot discriminate customers on any grounds. Such instances need to be immediately reported and such practices must be prevented by all means.
1.4. It is the employees’ obligation to be always polite with the customers and never humiliate them, even in the instances when the customers fail to understand basic things.
1.5. Any direct references to the age of the customers need to be avoided by all means.
- The code of Honor
2.1. All possible commercial secrets, which are for one reason or another within the field of knowledge of any of the company’s employees, can by no means be revealed to the third parties or discussed outside the company.
2.2. The previous provision refers not only to the current employees, but to all the people who have ever been employed by the company.
2.3. All the company’s employees will highly praise the company reputation and support its high standards by all means.
2.4. Confidential information about the company’s clients, which may ever become accessed by any of the company’s employees, shall never be revealed to any third parties for any reason.
2.5. All the employers will strictly observe their professional standards and by doing so, make their input in constant improvement of the company’s reputation.
2.6. The employees of the company will never offer additional private services to the company’s clients or receive any payments or initiate such directly from the company’s clients.
2.7. All the company’s employees will never provide untruthful or confusing information to either managerial staff or the company’s customers.
2.8. The employees of the company will not advertize any alternative services or refer customers to competing companies for any reason. All the conversations on such a topic need to be avoided thoroughly.
2.9. The employees will not miss their classes with the company’s clients or postpone them without priorly receiving an agreement from supervising managers.
3. Implementing changes and alterations
3.1. Any changes or alterations may be implemented into the current code of actions only by the ethical committee.
3.2. Any changes or alterations into the current code of ethics may be implemented no oftener than once a year.
3.3. The implementation of any alterations or changes into the current code of ethics needs to be preceded by public discussions.
3.4. Public discussions, preceding implementing any alterations, need to be undertaken with the involvement of all the company’s stakeholders, whose interests may intersect with any changes or alterations meant to be implemented.
This code of ethics will be provided in the accessible form to all the company’s stakeholders. The company’s owners and managerial staff will constantly implement the code of ethics by following its guiding principles as well as requiring their strict observance from the employees of the company.
For the sake of more effective fulfillment of the code of ethics an ethical committee will be formed. It will consist of both managerial staff and regular employees and will report directly to the company’s top managers once every three months in the written form regarding all the issues that may deal with ethics.
This section of the paper will set out the evaluation mechanisms, by means of which the administration will be able to judge whether or not the code of ethics achieves its goals. Such evaluation is critically important for proper implementation of the code of ethics, as particularly emphasized by Stanwick & Stanwick (2014).
A. The stakeholders.
The stakeholders of the current code of ethics are the company’s employees, customers, its managerial staff, and its owners/shareholders. Their interests are defined within current code of ethics and they do not contradict each other.
The responsibility for general observance of the code of ethics will be delegated to the managerial staff of the company. Boddy, Ladyshewsky, and Galvin (2010) emphasize that it is the leader’s role to not only observe strict observance of the ethical norms, shared by the company’s stakeholders, but also provide personal example to inspire the rest of the employees to always remain within the ethical norms set by the code.
The key element of the strategy of the code of ethics implementation is making the employees and other stakeholders aware of the norms and provisions of the code of ethics. As remarked by Paul & Elder (2006), effective reasoning is only possible in case common grounds are provided. Determining the norms and providing information about them in accessible form is, in fact, setting common ground for further effective reasoning. The next step of the strategy of implementing the code of ethics is communicating the provisions of the code to all the employees and other stakeholders. After this, it is critically important to control strict observation of the code. Lastly, cases of violation of its provisions need to be investigated thoroughly and receive proper reaction from the side of the managerial staff. Many scholars researching the issues related to business ethics particularly underline the importance of this step (Luetge, 2013).
C. Monitoring. For the code of ethics to work, it is critically important to have mechanisms that will give the company administration a chance to make sure that the goals are met, the most important ethical principles are followed, and core values of the company are properly observed. With this goal in mind, it is necessary to work out a monitoring mechanism that will ensure proper implementation of the company’s code of ethics. In many works dedicated to business ethics and related issues, the authors particularly underline that a code of ethics, even the most brilliantly composed one, may appear to be useless without a working and effective mechanism of monitoring (De Vries & Kim, 2011). In case of this particular company, the following mechanism will be applied.
The managerial staff and some of the employees will be involved in an ethical committee. This committee is supposed to deal with all the ethical issue that may take place during the operation of the company. The sessions of the committee will take place once every three months, but they may be initiated by the company managers or the majority of the company’s employees or the company’s owners at any time in case of any emergency. Such an extraordinary session cannot, however, be initiated more frequently than once every two months. The ethical committee also has the power to implement alterations and changes into the very code of ethics. However, such changes and/or alterations cannot be implemented more frequently than once a year. The implementation of such changes and/or alterations can only follow subsequent to serious debates dedicated to the issue, into which all the interested stakeholders will be involved.
The committee will report the results of their work directly to top management of the company. This cycle will provide reasonably dependable monitoring.
In general, the implementation of this code of action, its strict observance and due reports on any issues, which may occur within the ethical field, will make the achievement of the company’s strategic goals and fulfillment of its mission easier and more achievable.
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