Ethical standards of an organization are the most prominent distinguishing factor of employees’ values, particularly in their conduct of the day to day business activities. The board of directors together with the senior management develop the code of ethics and code of conduct of a company. As such, they serve to define the behavior and influence the decision-making criteria of employees. Often, the code of ethics and code of conduct are used interchangeably as they are perceived as similar standards. The code of ethics is a blueprint of the principles, values, and ideals that guide the behavior of members of an organization. The code of conduct details the laws of the aspects contained in the code of ethics. The first section of this paper discusses the code of ethics and code of conduct, in particular, their differences, importance, and purpose. The second section highlights the factors that an individual has to consider when making ethical hiring decisions.
Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct
Organizations establish standards that guide the relations among employee and business operations. The human resource department together with other managerial personnel are responsible for defining these standards. The code of ethics and code of conduct distinguish one organization from another. Often these terms are used interchangeably but they are completely different. This section will highlight the difference between the code of ethics and code of standards, their importance, and purpose of each of them.
The code of ethics contains general principles that guide and influence decision-making. Every new employee in an organization receives the code of ethics that they must consent to for them to be considered as members of the organization (Hill, Jones, ; Schilling, 2014). The code of ethics contains the principles, ethical values, and ideals that guide the behavior of every member of an organization. In contrast, the code of conduct details the particular laws appropriate for specific areas of an organization that employees must observe. They identify the acceptable or prohibited behavior as a requirement for current employment. It provides the laws that enforce the code of ethics.
The code of ethics and code of conduct differ in various aspects. Their differences arise in their nature and scope, length, and disclosure. The first difference arises in their nature and scope. Both the code of ethics and code of conduct regulate behavior in different ways. The code of ethics provides an acceptable set of values and decision-making strategies that assist employees to make informed, independent decision on the right courses of action. On the contrary, the code of conduct outlines the organization’s expectations of employees as it identifies the acceptable and prohibited actions.
The second differentiating element of is the length of the code of ethics and code of conduct. The code of ethics is short since it outlines the ethical values and principles that guide the behavior of employees. On the other hand, the code of conduct is more detailed and long. It provides the laws which detail the contents of the code of ethics (Baporikar, 2017). The last distinguishing factor of the code of ethics and code of conduct is the disclosure. The code of ethics of every organization is available to the general public. Every potential employee can easily find the code of ethics of any business. Conversely, the code of conduct is accessible by the employees of an organization. This document is comprehensive and can only be enforced within the premises of the business.
The code of conduct and code of ethics serve different roles in organizations. The code of ethics serves to define the professionalism standards, value-based ethics, and complying with the law. The code of ethics shows the level of responsibility of a company, discourages ‘innocent’ violation of ethics, and shows customers the level of the organization’s integrity (Hill ; Jones, 2008). Also, it is a reference point when taking corrective action.
The purpose of a code of conduct is to provide employees with the legal and ethical framework that influences their commitment and performance to the entity’s internal control system. It is important to have a code of conduct because it protects intellectual property, identifies disciplinary actions for violating the code of conduct, and guides in the use of business assets and resources (Wulf, 2011). Also, it serves to protect the company’s confidential information and it shows compliance with the government’s legal framework.
Ethical Hiring Decisions
Human resource professionals have a great duty of ethical, moral, and legal responsibilities. While discharging their recruiting, training, appraisal, and termination duties, they have to consider numerous ethical implications. The hiring process comprises the most ethical scenarios facing human resource experts. They have to ensure transparency, maintain ethics in job adverts, and ensure fairness in their selection process.
Transparency in the hiring process is crucial in determining whether a job applicant will accept employment or not. An interviewer has to provide prospective employees with accurate information about the company and the job. Withholding such crucial information means that candidates make wrong judgments about the work conditions, job title, and the current and future business prospects. The second ethical consideration during hiring is the job advertisement. Human resource professionals must provide accurate information on the competencies, roles, and responsibilities of the position advertised (Nguyen, 2013). Any internal job advertisements should be made when all personnel are present to avoid excluding others from the position.
Third, the selection process presents another ethical dilemma during the hiring process. Human resource managers should avoid placing themselves in situations that present over-promising employment opportunities. They must scrutinize thoroughly all referrals to ensure that they are qualified and competent to perform the job. Hiring individuals on a merit basis shows the extent that an organization values integrity and ethical standards (Nguyen, 2013). Another ethical consideration during the hiring process is consistency. Hiring managers always have two qualified candidates for a position. They have to justify their reason for selecting one candidate over the other. They should ensure that their decision complies with ethical principles.