Validating the Code of Ethics

By Briggs, William; Bernal, Thomas | Communication World, May-June 1992 | Go to article overview

Validating the Code of Ethics


Briggs, William, Bernal, Thomas, Communication World


Tom Peters, business management's answer to Indiana Jones, has characterized capitalism and democracy in society as "messy" and says that anyone not perpetually confused about ethical issues is out of touch with the richness of the world. From ancient times forward, one way -- perhaps the only way -- out of this behavioral temple of doom is the study of ethics.

For the past decade or more, business ethics has enjoyed a bull market in the marketplace and academia, with a proliferation of corporate credos, ethics courses, professional codes and some very high visibility transgressions. In his best-selling book on business ethics, "Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases," Manuel G. Velasquez, Ph.D. says: "Business ethics is applied ethics ... the attempt for each of us to apply what we believe to be good' and 'right' to every situation which confronts us at work, regardless of what the situation is or in what line of work we are engaged. In its simplest form, business ethics is a specialized study of moral right and wrong as it applies to business policies, institutions, and behavior."

Its applied nature makes business ethics so confounding. Simultaneously, it requires the most intellectually honest reasoning while dealing with the most anomalous of life's situations. Few people are so well-equipped, and organizations are nothing more than aggregates of people serving other people. And the more we study the applications without studying the philosophical underpinnings, the deeper into the morass we sink. We're simply looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Before we can become ethically efficient we must become ethically secure.

The foundations of ethics cannot be found by appealing to conscience since your conscience may differ from mine -- or one of us may not have a conscience at all. Religion, while helpful, falls short because it ultimately incorporates ethics into a belief system that goes where only angels dare tread. By including the legal axiom of prima facie equal rights (valuing the rights of others) the grail comes within reach. Ethics are no longer arbitrary, nor imposed from the outside, but become in the interest of individuals and society at large to maintain.

How communicators can promote ethical behavior

Organizationally, this notion refers to proper behavior toward each of the organization's stakeholders. And no one deals more closely with these constituent publics than the communicator. From research, Cornelius Pratt of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, identified five reasons communicators play an important organizational role in ethical leadership:

1. Through two-way, symmetrical public relations, practitioners view their role as standard bearer for social responsibility;

2. Managers perceive ethics as crucial and important;

3. Business ethics is synonymous with practitioner ethics;

4. Practitioners are well-suited to drive corporate behavior in response to public need;

5. As boundary-spanners and communicators, their activities are most likely to be used as benchmarks for public perception of the organization.

According to John Budd, Jr., chairman of the Omega Group, New York City, "In the sense that we regularly deal with such intangibles as trust, credibility and reputation -- those abstract values that quantitative-minded executives have difficulty with -- we are helping executives make those ethical decisions. ... The real issue of ethics is not so much how well we know the rules and stipulations but how we counsel on the subject."

Examining the IABC Code

Alas, the enormousness of this ethical opportunity transforms the newsletter editor or media specialist into a guardian of the holy ark. To help shed some light through the inevitable gray areas, organizations establish codes of ethics or standards of conduct. Along with the guidelines come the issues of enforceability, the U. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Validating the Code of Ethics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.