A critical aspect of an organization’s life is the realization of its competitive advantage. Attaining the competitive advantage hinges, largely, on an effective Code of Ethics and strategic planning to achieve organizational objectives. Code of Ethics is a general guideline that a company follows in order to explain to the employees what is acceptable as well as what is bad, i.e. the dos and the don’ts. It actually outlines what is to be done, at what time, and in what way, as well as the repercussion for not doing the right (Gupta, 2009, p. 200).
Effective Code of Ethics is a function, primarily of having an environment that appeals to the industry players, from management, employees, investors, and customers. It is expected, therefore, that improving the values of good association in the organization is essential for effective decision making and instrumental in gaining a competitive advantage. Code of Ethics is a tool that is based on principles and fosters effective as well as visionary decision-making.
Shiv (2008, p. 89) noted that “in the recent years, many companies have outlined Code of Ethics with the hope of achieving significant improvements in the company’s overall efficiency”. The changing demand of customers and increased competition in the industry has contributed to the need for well-laid down procedures to be followed. The companies must then state their goals, mission, and objective. From a technical standpoint, the Code of Ethics is a necessary tool for quality control of an organization. The Ethics reflect guidelines that the employees follow, which include transparency and a culture of trustworthiness to the customers. Some of the benefits of the Code of Ethics include; establishment of transparency in daily operations, restoring trust by the public/customers, and helping the people, in general, to operate within the values and principles. This research report is based on the Code of Ethics of three different companies in the US; XYZ, ABC, and 123 companies.
Aim and Scope of the Report
There are several issues in organizations that when properly emulated, result in competitive advantage. One of the important phenomenons on the daily operation of a company is the establishment of a good Code of Ethics. Organizations that wish to appeal and remain competitive in the ever-changing turbulent environment need to put down a well Code of Ethics to avoid confusion and bring responsibility. Having been commissioned by the CEO of my company, I researched various issues on the Code of Ethics from the three companies (XYZ, ABC, and 123); this is as a result of the need of my company to improve on its code of ethics. This report discusses how the Code of Ethics influences the daily operations of an organization in positive and negative scenarios. The report is a reference point and would add knowledge to various interested parties among them; Enabling investors to identify organizations offering the greatest potential for efficiency, improvements, and cost reduction due to how they manage themselves in terms of the Code of Ethics. Academicians would be able to identify knowledge gaps and areas that need to be improved in terms of the Code of Ethics by reading this report. Above all my company and any other organization shall, upon going through this report, update on its Code of Ethics a necessary.
Information on the Code of Ethics of these three companies was generated through the use of different methods. Structured questionnaires were used, there was a drop and pick a method of the questionnaires. The population of this study included the management, employees, and customers of these three different companies. Data so collected was edited for accuracy and completeness to make sure that quality standard is achieved. The different companies responded in different styles, and mentioned here below is how they remain competitive in the turbulent marketplace due to their code of ethics.
As a large Enterprise in the US, XYZ Company has an enormous responsibility to both customers and employees. This is well outlined in its circular and can be seen practically when one enters the gate of the company. XYZ, always abide by the law of the code of ethic, the employees report the happening of the company honestly, they act in a manner that shows integrity as well as consulting the management about any arising issues concerning Ethics, Some of the outlined Codes of Ethics at XYZ are;
At XYZ, each person’s dignity and values are respected. There is no form of engaging the employees in harassment, no use of child labor, no violation of human rights, and if any form of such discrimination happens, XYZ management responds in time and take corrective actions to help the accused and ensure that such damage does not happen again in daily operations of the business.
Service to the Customer
There is exemplary service to customers, this is seen in the company through the existence of clean, safe, comfortable, and quality services provided to customers. These exemplary services are done after, during, and before the purchase of the company’s products. Through this, the company is able to satisfy the needs of prospective customers on a daily basis. In this way, there are several customers that come back to purchase the company’s products, the extremely satisfied customers pass positive information to other would-be customers. The company listens to customers as well as deals with any complaints just in time. This has always made the company remain competitive in its daily operations (Elizabeth, 2007, p. 45).
Striving for excellence
XYZ company always puts quality in everything that they strive to do, the management and employees are out to make a difference and are par-excellence in their daily endeavors. The company always walks on the path of such extreme excellence through timely learning, superior performance, and timely initiatives on opportunities. True to the company is the theme of reaping what one sows. This is a law so well laid down in the company that everyone strives towards.
To prove the importance of the code of ethics of XYZ Company, data was collected on customers of the company, getting customers was at the purchase point of the company goods. A sample of 15 customers was targeted for the response, out of this, 10 of the 15 customers responded in the table below.
Table 1: the response of satisfaction that customers get from XYZ Company due to the well laid down code of Ethics. Source; research data.
|Response||Strongly Disagree||Disagree||Neutral||Agree||Strongly Agree||Total|
|No. of Respondents||1||1||1||2||5||10|
he above table describes the customers’ response toward the fact that the Code of Ethics of XYZ Company has always been of importance towards the continuity of the company’s operations. Strongly agreed were 5 making a 50% response, agree had 20%, while strongly disagree, disagree and neutral both scored 10%. This is an indication that through its codes of ethics, XYZ Company has Individual Respect in its operations for customers and always strives for excellence.
Integrity is of value and forms the basis for every decision at ABC. The company’s environment enjoys a culture of honest communication from all the employees right up to the management. There is an annual education reminder about the company’s commitment to ethics and standards. At this annual education, the company reminds itself of; Challenges that face its Ethics, their code of conduct, and recommitment to Ethics. Some of the Codes of Ethics at ABC Corporation are;
Conducting of its operations in an impartial, reasonable and proper manner
This is achieved through full compliance with the law and regulations, in its daily operations, there is a high level of integrity, there is respect for customers, the community, employees, and suppliers. Employees do not in any situation engage in acts that would otherwise cause embarrassment to the company.
The employees of the company have the responsibility to ask questions and behave in the interest of customers and of the company. This is achieved by being able to seek guidance, report any violation to the authority. There is a program in the company that communicates to employees the company’s commitment to integrity, values, and company policies. At ABC Corporation, there is a commission that guides the employees on the implementation of the Code of Ethics. This highly helps as there is compliance to the Code of Ethics. Appropriate action is taken against any employee who violates the standard of conduct of the company.
Communication and Publicity
At ABC, upon request by the customers, they are provided with brochures and booklets. This enhances good procedures to be adhered to. Suppliers are well-informed on the types of raw materials to provide to the company, this ensures that the Corporation enjoys an environment of fresh and good raw materials and timely supply. The company has an ethics telephone number which is published in the Newspapers, work area posters, and brochures.
The management promotes values in the company and supports the implementation of such ethics, this helps towards easy conflict resolution within the company operations as well as outside the company. Conflict resolution is a good recipe for understanding the behavioral aspects of employees and management. The management has the duty of ensuring compliance in the operations and supporting the implementation of Ethics and taking corrective action including discipline (Crane 2008, p. 45-47).
The following Table shows how Employees appreciate the Code of Ethics at ABC Corporation; there was a sample of 60 Employees at ABC, chosen at random to answer the questions as to how they appreciate the code of ethics of the company; and the response rate is as outlined in the table below; out of the 60 employees, 50 responded in the following manner;
Table 1: the response towards Employees appreciation on the benefit of the Code of Ethics at ABC Corporations. Source; research data.
|Response||Strongly Disagree||Disagree||Neutral||Agree||Strongly Agree||Total|
|No. of Respondents||5||0||5||20||20||50|
The above table describes how the employees at the ABC Corporation appreciate the fact that Management responsibility, Employee Concern, Publicity and Communication as Code of Ethics at ABC Corporation, brings about competitive advantage; those who strongly agreed and agree were high at a response rate of 40%, strongly disagree and neutral each had a response rate of 10%, while those who disagreed about this idea scored 0%. This is proof that the Code of Ethics substantially goes well with the employees, the management and limits any sense of misunderstandings in a Corporation.
At 123 Corporation, there is a prescribed code of ethics to be followed. Some of the ethics that 123 corporation strives towards are;
Responsibilities to the Corporation by the Sales Agents
The employees, who undertake sales of the company goods, always abide by the terms and conditions of sale; they cover their respective territories avoiding any form of misrepresentation, through this there is a well-established relationship and value addition to the customers of the corporation. This has made the company remain competitive in the industry.
Responsibilities to the Sales Agency by the Company
There is a well-laid down agreement that defines and address the needs, expectations, concern, and objective of both parties. When there is a need to cease from such norm, there must be mutual consent that follows a full discussion of the matter. In its daily endeavors, the Corporation supports the sales agency’s hard work through appropriate response to concerns and open communication (“Associated Press Managing Editors, Code of Ethics,” 1995.).
Sales Agency’s Responsibilities to the Customer
Customer satisfaction is the business of several organizations in business, without a well-prescribed method of satisfying customers, an organization is headed nowhere. At 123, this satisfaction is achieved through promoting services, goods which are of interest to customers. Employees of this corporation improve the relationship between the Company and the customers through the prompt process of customer requests and respond to the customer’s needs.
Responsibilities of one Sales Agency to Another
This is achieved through sharing valuable thoughts and ideas that are of importance to the Company. There is no need whatsoever to try to solicit customers of another sales agency. There is mutual agreement, and acts of honesty, integrity, responsibility, and a good corporation when dealing with another Sales Agency.
At 123 stores, there was a need for proof on how the company management appreciates the code of ethics, and discussions on how valuable the code of ethics has made its daily operations be excellent. A sample space of 30 employees at the management level in different departments was approached, their response is in the table that follows. Out of the 30 managers, 20 responded.
Table 2: the response by the management of 123 Stores on the importance of a company having and the following code of ethics in its daily operations. Source; research data.
|Response||Strongly Disagree||Disagree||Neutral||Agree||Strongly Agree||Total|
|No. of Respondents||5||0||0||5||10||20|
The table above responds to the question that there is a competitive advantage to a company that follows Codes of Ethics. This postulates that when a company follows its code of ethics, there would be a clear distinction of responsibilities. The co-existence between the sales agency and the company, a good relationship to the customers by the sales agency as well as exemplary cooperation of the Sales Agencies is achieved. Strongly agree scored 50%, agree and strongly disagree each had 25%, while disagree and neutral both had 0%.
Having studied these different organizations’ codes of ethics, there are suggested areas that my company should deal in, so as to remain competitive in the ever-changing market environment. There are Ethics that the studied companies follow which has landed them to a different kind of problem, these needs not to be emulated by my Company;
To be emulated
Responsibilities to the Corporation by the Sales Agents; through this, the company will cover its respective territory and avoid any form of misrepresentation; this brings a well-established relationship and value addition to the customers of the corporation.
Responsibilities to the Sales Agency by the Company; this would bring a well-working environment without any conflict
Sales Agency’s Responsibilities to the Customer; the customers will continue to like the company, when a customer likes a company because of the services that they get, there is a high chance of coming back to purchase the company’s products, as well as recommending the company to a friend.
Responsibilities of one Sales Agency to Another; this will bring a peaceful environment, making the players prove a sense of honesty, loyalty, integrity, and faithfulness to others.
Management responsibility to everybody in the company should be excellent, managers need to understand the needs of employees for exemplary cooperation, hence there would be no conflicts in the company, a strong operational base would be in place when management act well and follow the ethics as well as giving support to such ethics (“Employee Code of Ethics,” n. d.).
Publicity and Communication, there should be a well-laid procedure on how to communicate in the organization, for instance, the use of memos, posters would be advantageous to improve understandings and improve daily operations in an efficient and effective manner.
some would-be competitors might come into the company as customers to retrieve some vital information, and due to the Code of Ethics on honesty of information, an employee may provide information that might lead to danger on the side of the competitor.
Employee Concern is a concept that brings about healthy relationships. Through this, there would be honesty and integrity in an organization. The employees would conduct themselves in an impartial, fair, and proper manner when there is a well-laid down code of ethics in an organization.
Service to the Customer should be exemplary; the customers are the kings of any business enterprise. No business can thrive without customers. Therefore, the customers’ satisfactions need to be met at all times.
Companies should always strive for excellence, through this, they will remain competitive in the marketplace. This will only be achieved through sound governance and mutual respect to all the players in the industry.
However, there are Unethical codes of conduct that a company should not engage itself on, some of the things that this report outrightly put down are;
The telephone contacts of the Ethics Department might lead to unknown people peddling lies to the company, leading even to the unfair sacking of the employees.
Nonprotection of information to the public, as a way of improving ethics of a company, can give the competitor a leeway to access vital information in the company
This research report is in partial fulfillment of the need of my company to improve on its current Codes of Ethics. Having been commissioned by the CEO of my company, I undertook research on three different companies’ Codes of Ethics. This research report is to help my company improve on its Codes of Ethics as well as helping several companies too.
I have the pleasure sir, to hand into your office, the report that would help our company to adjust to its Code of Ethics. The report entails three different US companies that are always on top of operations in the same industry. Emulating their way of operations will see our company remaining competitive in the turbulent market Place full of everyday competition.
The report is my own work and should be used for purposes of improvement, any form of copying, and presenting to other organizations is prohibited and shall return to legal action to anybody found.
Associated Press Managing Editors, Code of Ethics, (1995). Web.
Crane, A. (2008). The Oxford handbook of corporate social responsibility: New York, Oxford University Press.
Elizabeth, L. (2007). Public Relations, the profession and practice; New York, NY: Libraries Unlimited.
Employee Codes of Ethics. (n.d). Web.
Gupta, C.B., and Tayal, B. (2009). Politics Ethics and Social Responsibility: New York, Sultan Chand & Sons.
Shiv, D. (2008). Politics, Ethics and Social Responsibility of business: making it happen.