Helping SMEs on how to resist corruption in business

The importance of a Code of Conduct
  • A tool to organize and guide employees how to behave properly in case of doubt or embarrassment. Users may consider the CoC as a reference and instruction that supports their daily decision-making activities.
  • A reference document to emphasize the mission, values and principles of the business, and linking these factors to professional standards of conduct. The CoC may also be used to allocate documents, services and human resources related to ethical issues within the business.
  • A manifesto announces the values or standards the organization comply with in operation. A well-designed and drafted set of rules can be used as a communication tool and reflects the organization’s agreement on the values that the organization most values.
  • The Code of Conduct creates trust and confidence in public and community toward the organization in ethical aspect.
  • Directing behaviors and decisions in the business.
  • Ensuring the accountability and integrity of management decisions and interactions with related partners.
  • Setting a standard basis for all business members to compare and apply to their specific jobs.
  • Conveying positive values, commitments, and images of the business to customers, partners and society.

Within this scope, The Code of Conduct is understood to be:

“The principles and standards of conduct promulgated uniformly used by businesses to ensure the acheivement of the company’s core values ; prevent violations of professional and business ethics ; and promote a fair and responsible entrepreneurial spririt”.

Steps to develop and establish a code of conduct

There are different ways to design a code of conduct, however the instructions below are applicable to governments, as well as businesses at all sizes.

Common requirements for a code of conduct:

  • Use pronouns such as “we, our” instead of “you, staff”
  • Ensure the Code of conduct is clearly presented for easy understanding and using positive and encouraging language.
  • Avoid creating a Code of conduct as a list of prohibited behaviors
  • Ensure content of a code of conduct is arranged in a logical manner
  • Provide a table of content for ease of reference or links to specific documents

Major contents of a code of conduct

  • Personal message from top leader on the company’s commitment
  • Reasons to develop a code of conduct
  • Core values, vision and mission/strategy
  • Range of conduct:
    • Personal behavior – the way businesses orientates employees to behave
    • Corrupt acts or frauds set out clear lines between what is accepted and not accepted
    • Mobilize corporate resources – demonstrate how the company protects its assets, including record keeping, use of information, intellectual property and confidentiality.
  • Conflicts of interests, gifts and interests: Explain how to handle gifts and other ambiguous situations (when there is a conflict between mutual and personal interests).
  • Report violations of the CoC: Specific regulations, reporting procedures, receiving reports of conduct that show signs of violation of the CoC.
  • Handle violations of the CoC: Clear regulations on authorities, processes and procedures for handling violations of the CoC.
  • Address for consulting: Provide useful information on methodology, an advisory address for situation in compliance with the CoC.
  • Adjustment, addition / update of the test code: Set out periodic tentative timeline or at request for modification, addition to update the CoC.