Ethics and Human Interface:

20. Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct

IAS Exam preparation

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The Code of Ethics and the code of conduct are the guidelines a group has to meet such that they remain an organization member. The key difference between code of ethics and code of conduct is the code of ethics is a set of principles that influence judgments, whereas the code of conduct is a series of rules that influence the actions of employees.

Such statements are presented formally and will be accepted by the members when they first join the organization. It allows the business to efficiently control the product. Whilst the Code of Conduct includes organized values, it is used to comply with ethical norms and to lay down rules of conduct.

Content: Code of Ethics Vs Code of Conduct

  1. Comparison Chart
  2. Definition
  3. Key Differences
  4. Conclusion

Comparison Chart

MeaningAn aspirational document, issued by the board of directors containing core ethical values, principles and ideals of the organization is Code of Ethics.A directional document containing specific practices and behavior, that are followed or restricted under the organization is Code of Conduct.
GovernsDecision makingActions
LengthShortComparatively longer
DisclosurePublicly disclosed.Employees only.
Focused onValues or principlesCompliance and rules

Definition of Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics is a document issued by the top-level management, which consists of a set of principles, designed to guide the members of the organisation to carry out business honestly and with integrity. It describes the core values of the organisation that guides the decision-making. It provides ethical standards which are to be followed by the members. It sets out general guidelines to assist individuals to apply their judgment, concerning a suitable behaviour in a given situation.

Codes of ethics help members understand what is right and what is wrong. The codes are publicly disclosed and are therefore addressed to stakeholders to understand the business practice of the company. Every member of the organization’s violation of the code of ethics can lead to an end or to dismissal.

Definition of Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct is a document that expresses the practices and behaviour of a person, required or restricted as a condition for becoming a member of the organisation or profession. The code sets out the actual rules, so it lays down the do’s and doesn’t s of an employee. The members are responsible for its adherence and held accountable for its violation.

Every organisation has its code of conduct issued by the Board of Directors (BOD) that determines the social norms, regulations and responsibilities. It is in the form of written statement; that contains rules for behaviour, which are supposed to be followed by the employees of the company. The document directs and guides the employees in various matters.

Practice question:

  1. Distinguish between “Code of ethics” and “Code of conduct” with suitable examples.
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