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Value of a business code of ethics

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1. Ethics: A Personal Perspective, Part II

In your first Learning Activity for Week 1, you discussed some things that come to mind when you think of the word “ethics”. Over the course of the past 8 weeks, has your view or understanding of ethics changed in any way? If yes, is there a specific moment you can identify and describe that triggered the change (a reading(s), or posting(s), discussion(s) with colleague(s) for example)? If your view or understanding did not change, why do you think this is the case?

How can you apply what you learned in the course in your professional and/or personal life?

2. Business Codes of Ethics: Much Ado About Nothing, or the Real Deal

The readings, “Morgan Stanley: Code of Ethics and Business Conduct,” and “Starbucks Code of Behavior”, discuss the approaches and provisions these two companies have utilized in their attempts to establish credible ethical environments; and the “Strategic Leadership of Ethical Behavior in Business” article takes the position that ethical behavior involves a business strategy, and must be elevated to the upper echelons of business strategic planning. There seems to be a divergence of opinion on the value–or lack of value–of having a business code of ethics. Some have argued that business codes of ethics have little value or utility and are merely for public show and consumption. According to these proponents, corporations merely pay lip service to their codes of ethics. On the other hand, it has been argued that business codes of ethics are an essential and vital part of the ethical fabric of corporations.

Using these articles as a starting point, what is your perspective on the value or lack of value of a business code of ethics? Do you think such a code is merely for public show and consumption? Do you think a corporation simply pays lip service to its code of ethics? Or do you see a business code of ethics as something meaningful and important to an organization? Why do you feel this way?

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