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Communicating Your Ethics Philosophy

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Holt Company is recognized for initiating a "values-based leadership process" in 1989 to both promote ethics as a priority business issue and to conduct daily operations on the basis of shared company values. As a first step in this process, the company developed five core business values that are also reflected in the company's Vision Statement: (1) Ethical, (2) Success, (3) Excellence, (4) Commitment, and (5) Dynamic. Today, all new Holt employees attend a full-day orientation training and another half-day of values-based leadership training. In addition, managers take a two-and-a-half week course of study that deals with issues such as "managing by values." In 1997, the company also developed a special two-day ethics awareness session for top management and all direct reports. This session is currently being carried down throughout the organization. The company also conducts "Trend Trackers," an annual survey of its more than 1,000 employees. The survey typically consists of 80 to 100 questions designed to measure company progress including a number addressing ethical issues. (Small/Midsize, Construction, United States)

Lancaster Laboratories, a company of more than 600 employees and annual revenues of nearly $40 million, is acknowledged for developing a formal ethics program in 1991. This program included an employee-formulated Statement of Values and a two-and-a-half hour training course titled "Putting Our Values to Work," the first lab-specific ethics awareness training program for all employees. The company has also established a support structure to implement and integrate a total ethics process. An in-house mail and voice-mail system allows employees to seek advice from a standing Ethics Committee. The company was the recipient of the American Business Ethics Award in 1996. (Small/Midsize, Health Care, United States)

Texas Instruments (TI) is recognized for developing a strong ethics program that is actively communicated to all employees. TI's code of ethics was first written in 1961 and has been periodically updated since then. While the code serves as the foundation for the ethics program, TI's Ethics Office has strengthened the program by developing a strong support structure and a number of tools to help employees make ethical decisions. Brochures addressing a range of ethical issues including "Working with Competitors," "Working Globally," "Working with Suppliers," "Product Safety," "Business Intelligence," and "Workplace Safety," have been widely distributed to employees. These brochures describe sample situations, address the risk of improper behavior, provide guidelines on what to do, and list resources to call. More recently, the company developed a brochure, "The Networked Society," to address ethical issues concerning technology. The company also provides an intranet ethics website that provides immediate on-line access to key policies, subject matter contacts and to all printed materials and supporting resources. A six-point Quick Test is used to help guide all employees through ethics dilemmas. The Ethics Office has set up an anonymous e-mail and a 24 hour toll free line for feedback and reporting of issues. More than 100 contacts are handled each month. (Large, Technology, United States)

Copyright 1999 BSR Education Fund | All Rights Reserved.

Last updated: Nov 30, 1999




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