CODES OF ETHICS
Sara Frances (Fran) Whitfield
Dr. Sarah M. North, Professor
Why Have a Code of Ethics?
“There has been a dramatic increase in the ethical
expectations of businesses and professions over the past
ten years. Increasingly, customers, clients, and employees
are deliberately seeking out those who define the basic
ground rules of their operations on a day to day basis…”
(quote from website of the International Ethical Business Registry)
A branch of philosophy that focuses on morality and the
way in which moral principles apply to one’s conduct in
Business ethics – what constitutes right or wrong
behavior in the business world and how moral and
ethical principles are applied by businesspersons to
situations that arise in their daily activities in the
Business ethics can sometimes be much more complex
than personal ethics.
What is a Code of Ethics?
Management tool for establishing and
Ethical Ambitions of the Organization
Guidance to employees
Reasons for Developing a
Code of Ethics
to define accepted/acceptable behaviors;
to promote high standards of practice;
to provide a benchmark for members to use for
to establish a framework for professional
behavior and responsibilities;
as a vehicle for occupational identity;
as a mark of occupational maturity.
Ethical Test for a Business Decision
Do I mind others
Transparency knowing what I have
Who does my decision
Effect effect or hurt?
Would my decision be
Fairness considered fair by those
Best Test for Ethical Decisions
Will I regret or be
ashamed of the
Light of day test decision I made
today, after I wake up
Ethics and IT
Unlike the United States many countries do not have
Software publishers estimate that there is a 2:1 ratio
of illegal copies of software in the U.S.
The ratio elsewhere in the world is 20:1
Should the professional ethics that are supported by
national laws be considered as ethics in a country
where such actions are not illegal?
IT Organizations with Codes of Ethics
Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.
Association of Informational Technology
Independent Computer Consultants Association
Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
International Web Masters Association
SAGE – Professional System Administrators
Urban and Regional Information Systems Association
Sample Code Of Ethics
Major IT Code of Ethics Topics
Respectful General Attitude
Promotion of information privacy and data
Production and flow of information
Attitude towards regulations
Employees Must be Trained
Codes tend to keep honest people honest while
the others must be taught.
Codes are not effective without the training that
go with them.
The more employees are exposed to Codes of
Ethics, the higher the probability they will stop
and decide what it right and wrong before
making a decision.
We must remember that a code of ethics will
not solve all ethical problems.
Aristotle Said, “But we must remember that good laws, if
they are not obeyed, do not constitute good government.
Hence there are two parts of good government: one is the
actual obedience of citizens to the laws, the other part is
the goodness of the laws which they obey…”(Aristotle,
International Ethical Business Registry
Clarkson, Miller, Jentz, & Cross. (2004) West’s
Business Law. Ohio: Thompson Learning
Aristotle, Politics 1294a3-6