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Final Paper: Business Ethics & Social Responsibility Week 6




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Standards for Ethical and Moral Conduct In the Form of a Code of Ethics
A study and review on the Ethical and Professional Public Service.
The analysis done for the standards for ethical and moral conduct in the form of a Code of
Ethics will focus on ethics codes and codes of behavior. This will provide both the
background and the foreground for ethical codes, in what ways used internationally, best
uses, limitations of these codes and how they are ort hey can be used in international
development and how to evaluate the effectiveness of a code of conduct. However, this
document is based on the best critical studies in the area and reflects a solid research
Ethics Codes
The codes of Ethics are antique. The Religious traditions and civic cultures have codes as
their foundations. Mosaic Decalogue (Ten Commandments) is the keystone for Judaism,
Islam and Christianity. Pedicles made the Athenian code the underpinning of ancient Greek
politics and culture. In each case the codes carry general obligations and appraisal, but they
are not limited to that. As they often capture a vision of distinction, of what individuals and
societies should be striving for and what they can accomplish. In this sense codes, which are
often mistaken as part of law or general statements of mere object, are some of the important
statements of civic outlook.
When these codes are applied to certain classes of people, such as public servants, doctors
etc. codes are the ultimate terms of reference. They are the brickwork upon which the
professions are built. Codes are what professionals use to make the claim that they are

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“professionals” and are often the founding document for a profession, e.g. the Hippocratic
Oath. While this is true that not all such oaths are codes but it is often the case that codes are
built into oaths or other ceremonies related to become a professional. These are generally
found in the ceremonies ordaining leaders in many faiths, and in swearing the oath of office
for many political leaders around the world. As the term code is often used in different
contexts its meaning can be confusing. Ethics codes or codes of conduct seldom provide
detailed, specific prohibitions. Rather, they are broader sets of principles that are designed to
inform specific laws or government actions. Therefore, in the rest of this paper the term code
will refer to codes of ethics or codes of conduct.
The Role of Principles and Values:
Effective ethics codes are not merely a text; rather, they exemplify the fundamental principles
and values of a public service. These can include more legalistic precepts, such as restrictions
on conflicts of interest. Codes can also contain values. But the critical elements in a code are
the clear articulation of principles that are derived from values. This distinction has its
clearest conceptualization in the 18th century writings of Jeremy Bentham. For Bentham a
principle was “a general law or rule that guides behavior” rather the values define “the
aspiration of ideal moral state.”
To summarize, values are general moral obligations while principles are the ethical conditions
or behaviors we expect. Unfortunately, this can become confusing in everyday language. For
instance, many times “core values” or “concrete values” are terms used instead of principles
but they should be intended to inform principles. For this reason it is not uncommon for
codes to being with a value (integrity) and then makes the value real in principle. Many
modern public services initiate their code development through input from public servants.
This creates and environment for participation as well as developing a sense of authenticity

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