Are Corporate Ethics Codes Bunk?
“We hear that [ethics] codes are useless – hypocritical window-dressing to mask continuing corruption. We hear that codes are great – a crucial step on the way to enhanced corporate productivity, credibility and profitability,” says Cornelius von Baeyer.
I’ve always wondered what you would need to teach honest people about ethics, and whether any code could make dishonest people more honest.
Building codes, health codes, fire codes have teeth. Violating them results in legal penalties. But nothing at all seems to happen to those who violate corporate or association codes of ethics, not even a slap on the wrist. If corporate ethics codes are to hold any meaning, they’ll need the force of law behind them. Otherwise. what’s the point?