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Code of conduct
A code of conduct is a set of rules, principles and standards intended to serve as guidelines to the everyday conduct of employees within an organization. A code of conduct often sets out guidelines for professional conduct of employees. All employees within an organization must comply with the principles and standards set out by a code of conduct.
Barth (2007) and Investment and Financial Services Association (2009) define a code of conduct as a set of principles designed to assist employees of a company or trade organization in executing business operations within and outside the organization. The code of conduct may also outline mission and vision statements of the company as well as its core values and practices. A code of conduct also lays down the appropriate professional approaches that an employee should undertake incase a particular problem arises in the course of accomplishing duties and responsibilities.
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In my opinion, a code of conduct may be defined as a formal document written to establish various behavioral expectations for a given business entity or company and its employees. In addition, a code of conduct provides rules and regulations for the conduct and behavior of employees in an organization. In addition, the code of conduct also provides a preemptive warning to possible misconducts by the employees.
Although the code of conduct may dictate how employees should behave or conduct themselves within the organization, it does not interfere with the legal rights of employees or other terms and conditions stated in the employment contract between the organization and employees. Most trading organizations and companies have codes of conducts that employees should adhere to during business transactions.
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According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2010), a code of conducts is a policy document usually meant for internal use by the employees, though its use can be extended to third parties such as suppliers and customers.
In most cases, violation of the principles and standards set in the code of conduct of an organization by employees is usually considered unlawful, hence may lead to temporary termination of employment contract, punitive action against the employee or dismissal from the company.
Business organizations and companies usually adopt codes of conducts in order to establish and ascertain high professional responsibility, integrity and credibility (Greenberg, 2011). A code of conduct usually requires employees and professionals to conduct themselves in a professional manner in respect to their respective fields.
Generally, trade organizations and companies usually develop codes of conducts so that they can clearly define and establish the accepted and acceptable behaviors amongst their employees. A code of conducts also helps in promoting high standards of professional practices in business transactions as well as assisting in the establishment of organizational framework for employee behaviors and responsibilities. Barth (2007) asserts that a code of conduct also helps in setting up a benchmark for self-evaluation for the employees of an organization.
This presentation will show various policies that can be adopted by ECG Company in its code of conducts in relation to conflict of interests amongst employees and employee relationships with clients, suppliers, influential parties and coworkers.
Policies on Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest usually exists when the responsibility of an employee to deliver his or her duties becomes divided between his or her loyalty to the company and potential personal benefits from a different external source (Moore, 2009; Davis & Stark, 2011). In my view, conflicts of interest can arise in the normal course of conducting business operations for ECG Company.
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According to Rosenberg (2010), conflict of interest cannot be prohibited in normal business operations. However, it is important for companies to design codes of conducts that would provide adequate protection to organizational interests, purpose and business goals and objectives.
The first policy on conflict of interests at ECG Company is that all employees of ECG are expected to be loyal to the organization and strictly observe its codes of conducts, business ethics and core values when carrying out duties. In this regard, an employee should, therefore, avoid any activity that might compromise, embarrass or adversely affect the reputation of ECG Company. Furthermore, all employees of ECG are advised not to engage themselves in any activity which could lead to a conflict of interests with the company’s business interests.
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Secondly, all employees at ECG are expected to have undivided loyalty towards the organization. This implies they should always give the interests of the organization the first priority when executing duties. Moreover, all employees must ensure that they engage themselves in activities that are in the best interests of the company.
Generally, all employees are expected to declare their conflicts of interests with suppliers, clients, influential parties, coworkers or any other third party that could create a divided loyalty on their part as employees.
Thirdly, no employee of ECG shall use his or her position at ECG as well as assets of the company for personal gains, improper benefit of others or for unauthorized purposes. This policy also includes information belonging to ECG such as statistical data obtained from market researches, customer surveys, sales volume figures or profit margins.
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Fourthly, no employee of ECG must take advantage of any business opportunity that rightfully belongs to ECG for personal gains or the benefit of other individuals. In case an employee becomes aware of any business opportunity that falls within the business interest, purpose and practice of ECG, the employee must report to or inform the relevant authorities at ECG about the business opportunity as soon as possible.
Fifthly, ECG would like to strong caution its employees against engaging themselves in activities that would adversely affect the reputation of ECG such as corrupt dealings, employees are also expected to avoid activities that could interfere with the ability of the employees to fulfill his or her responsibilities as an employee of the company. Additionally, all employees are also required to disclose their conflict in interest before conducting any business on behalf of ECG.
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Last but not least, it may not be possible to list all the organizational principles, standards, rules and regulations regarding the conduct of employees of ECG and appropriate business practices. Thus, under those circumstances in which no principle or guideline is provided or specified, all employees of ECG are expected to use common sense, sound thinking and consciousness when making critical business decisions and conducting themselves. Finally, all employees are hereby warned to adhere strictly to the above laid policies in the code of conducts with higher degrees of discipline, honesty, integrity and fairness.
Policies on Employee Relationships with Clients, Suppliers, Influential Parties and Coworkers
All employees of ECG are expected to show good conduct when relating to clients, suppliers, influential parties, as well as fellow coworkers. First and foremost, employees of ECG should create strong interpersonal ties with clients and suppliers. Customer focus and satisfaction is one of the core values of ECG, and this can be achieved only through the development of strong relational links with our customers or clients.
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Secondly, employees should ensure that there is adequate cooperation between suppliers and ECG. In my view, this would help in enhancing production of high quality goods and services because the suppliers shall be motivated to supplier high quality raw materials for our production operations. Good cooperation with suppliers would also facilitate efficiency in the provision of goods and services. In addition, suppliers must be prompted to settle their bills or credit account as soon as possible.
Thirdly, all employees of ECG must not accept any form of bribe an attempt to bribe from the clients, suppliers, influential parties and coworkers during business transactions. Conducts that are controversial to this principle would lead to automatic dismissal from the company.
Fourthly, all employees of ECG are not allowed to sell or supplier goods and services to the company without proper approval from the relevant authorities at ECG. Additionally, all agreements between ECG and its clients and suppliers must be done in good faith. The employees must also deploy fair pricing policies and practices in order to attract and maintain more clients. For example, the business shall not practice price discrimination based on various aspects or characteristics of the target markets such as geographical disparity. Moreover, ECG shall not exploit its clients or customers as well as suppliers in whatsoever way.
Fifthly, all contacts between employees of ECG and its clients, suppliers, influential parties or coworkers must be official and be conducted in a manner that does not violate any federal law as well as other policies in this code of conducts. Moreover, employees are not allowed to ask for or accept anything of value from clients, suppliers, influential parties or coworkers in return for favor or sympathetic treatment. Employees are also not allowed to make any unauthorized payments to clients or suppliers without prior approval from ECG.
Finally, no employee is allowed to invest directly or indirectly in any organization seeking to conduct or conducting business with ECG. This policy also includes buying shares of a competing company, supplier or client to ECG. Similarly, employees of ECG shall not allowed to seek or accept employment with clients, suppliers and competitors of ECG. The employees must also not act as consultants or agents for such organizations.
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Reporting, Investigative Measures, Punitive Actions and Roles of the Ethics Review Committee
All employees are expected to watch the conducts of their fellow workers and report any misconduct to the senior management incase a fellow employee violates any provision of the code of conducts. Any employee found guilty of violating the above mentioned principles and rules shall be dismissed from the organization. In addition, the employee shall pay all the losses or damages incurred by ECG due to his or her misconduct. Moreover, legal actions shall be taken against an employee who disobeys the provisions of this code of conducts. The legal actions may include fine, imprisonment or both.
The Ethics Review Committee (ERC) shall be responsible for monitoring the conducts of all employees within the company as well as administration of punitive actions against offenders. The Ethics Review Committee (ERC) will also be responsible for periodic review of various items in this code of conducts to ensure that the principles, standards and rules provide herein are in line with the business purpose and practices of ECG. The Ethics Review Committee shall also be responsible for investigating any misconducts or violation of rules and conditions provided in this code of conducts. If, after proper investigations, the ERC finds that an employee violated any of the above stated rules, it shall initiate appropriate disciplinary and corrective actions against the employee.