Code of Ethics Vs. Code of Conduct and Their Importance

Code of Ethics Vs. Code of Conduct and Their Importance



This paper will discuss many different aspects of the Code of Conduct, as well as ethics. While each of these has many similarities, they are in fact quite different. In any company these two factors are major role players in how well a company works. One major difference in the two is the code of ethics is more focused on decision making processes, whereas the code of conduct is more so the actions of an individual. Throughout this paper we will discuss the similarities, differences, as well as why these are important throughout the hiring process for a company. This paper will look at multiple articles ranging from employers scouting Facebook and other social media sites in order to gain pertinent information prior to hiring an individual for a job, to the discussion of should employers be able to run credit checks like they do background investigations on a perspective employee? While other employers are using other tactics such as honesty and integrity testing. Overall, each of these articles focus on two main things, and that is ethics and conduct.

For this assignment, you should focus on the reading material for weeks 1-7. Also, use our library to support your positions.

The body of your paper: (5-6 Pages total in length)- Show me that you are attempting to support your thoughts with key material from our reading material AND outside sources:

Answer the following five questions:

1. What are some of the most common forms of unethical behavior in our workforce today? How could leadership in organizations help to minimize this ethical misconduct? Explain and support your positions with relevant course content and outside sources.

2. As our businesses have developed over the last 100 plus years, have our modern day businesses evolved to be more ethical today? What are some of the factors that helped you come to your conclusion? Take a position and support your thoughts.

3. Would you describe the financial meltdown in our 2007-2008 financial markets as a failure of “people” or of our “capital market processes”? Why? Support your thoughts with ethical theory and examples. Use our library for added research if needed.

4. Tell me about why diversity and discrimination are two important ethical factors that leaders should focus on while attempting to manage their workforce? Provide one example of how mismanaging these issues have had an impact on an organization. How would you explain the importance of these to your employees?

5. Are corporate outreach and company sponsored volunteer programs a good idea for organizations to implement? Why? From an ethical leadership perspective, why would you choose OR not choose to implement these programs? Use course theory and specific examples to support your conclusion.

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Code of Conduct VS. Code of Ethics

In order to understand the differences between the code of conduct between the code of ethics, it’s important to establish a clear line drawn between the two. Many people when asked about them seem to interchange the two, and while they are very much alike, they are also extremely different. While some companies only have a code of ethics, or a code of conduct, companies should in fact have two separate documents. As we will discuss these are very different and will carry out different beliefs, code of conducts will be a rule book as to what is expected of the employee. While the code of ethics will be a set of principals and views that the company stands by.

The code of conduct is predominately a rule book, so to speak of different actions, or behaviors that are not tolerated while being employed in the specified company. Issues such as sexual harassment, if you are working in such area that confidentiality is a factor keeping the confidentiality regardless if it is a patient, credit card information, health care information. Unfair discrimination, this could be something small such as the fact of thinking a woman can’t do a particular job. By not following any of these, the results could mean immediate dismissal from your position.

Code of Ethics is a little different, each company comes up with their own code of ethics because they are formed off of the core values of the company. I am going to base mine off of the Air Force code of ethics. The Air Force general code of ethics I found, focused on honesty, not holding financial interests that conflict with duty, don’t use public office of private gain, disclose fraud, abuse and corruption, adhere to all laws and regulations, employees shall satisfy in good faith all obligations.

Many of the code of ethics aren’t as specific as the code of conduct. This allows the individual to make the decision as they see fit, which allows the employer to gauge what type of person they hired. Whereas the code of conduct doesn’t necessarily allow you to make the wide-range decision, you either follow protocol or you will lose your job.

The article “Examining applicant reactions to the use of social networking websites in pre-employment screening.” Written by Stoughton, discussed how a study was carried out in the hiring process, in order to screen the individuals who were candidates for the job. These individuals were being screened via social media. While this made the prospective employee in this study felt violated, this is a great tactic being carried out. Social media says quite a bit about an individual, what you post on social media is out for the whole world, so it’s completely fair game that the prospective employer is able to view your social media and see the type of person who will be a part of their organization.

Another article discussed this week discussed some companies are doing credit checks along with background investigations, while this is not to see what someone’s credit is like, but instead to protect the employer’s investment. Individuals who have poor credit, numerous credit cards, missed payments, and all around just shows they haven’t been trying are a red flag for someone who may possibly be tempted at some point to want to steal from the company, in order to get ahead. While this is not saying that people don’t fall down on their luck sometimes, and need a job to get ahead, but it is something that needs to be a concern in the hiring process.

In order to make sure to hire the best individual for the position and make sure they are a good fit, it starts with the advertising, many times job postings are either so outdated, or do not focus on what the individual will do, so it is extremely important that job postings are accurate. The next issue is when someone says, “my friend is applying for the job” if you feel they are the best one for the job by all means hire them, if not better luck next time. So often people feel like if you are in charge of the job, you will automatically hire their friend, which is a prime example of an ethical issue. Finally, you have to decide are you going to be the employer who follows up on social media, in the code of conduct it is extremely important that it is documented that social media should not be used in an unflattering manner and no derogatory remarks towards the business should be made in order to protect your company from backlash. Background checks are important, but as far as credit checks go, unless it is someone dealing with credit card information, high profile accounts, or vehicles, lets pass on the credit checks.


Adelstein, J., & Clegg, S. (2016). Code of ethics: A stratified vehicle for compliance. Journal of Business Ethics, 138(1), 53-66.

Brody, R. G., Perri, F. S., & Van Buren, H. J. (2015). Further Beyond the Basic Background Check: Predicting Future Unethical Behavior. Business & Society Review (00453609), 120(4), 549-576. doi:10.1111/basr.12074

Dwoskin, L. B., Squire, M. B., & Patullo, J. E. (2013). Welcome Aboard! How to Hire the Right Way. Employee Relations Law Journal, 38(4), 28-63.

Stoughton, J. W., Thompson, L. F., & Meade, A. W. (2015). Examining applicant reactions to the use of social networking websites in pre-employment screening. Journal of Business and Psychology, 30(1), 73-88.