Ethics in Business mentor Jeffrey Seglin responds:
More and more people are wrestling with these issues. The Internet has been great for promoting awareness, both as a source of information and a medium for communication. Also, corporations are becoming more accountable for their actions. For some businesses, that has resulted from federal sentencing guidelines that make it more attractive for companies to implement ethics policies. Under the new guidelines, if your company is found guilty of wrongdoing, having some type of ethics policy in place may result in a less severe sentence or fine than if you had no policy at all.
I've heard that some smaller businesses are turning to part-time ethics officers to help communicate core values and sound ethical behavior. A cynic might argue that such action is merely a marketing trick, a way a business sets itself apart from its competitors. But I believe it's great if a company is clear about what it stands for.