Enforcing a Code of Ethics in a University Term Paper

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Code of Ethics

In the academic world, as well as in the business world, as an essential part in the conduct of activities and actions there is an increasing need for the existence of a code of ethics, due to the fact that students and staff alike must take into account certain moral guidelines in order to increase the efficiency of their actions and the respect for the community. However, nowadays, despite the fact that more and more schools have established codes of conduct, there seems to be a lack of interest in applying it. Therefore, aside from the moral guidelines it provides, the code of conduct should take into account a series of enforcement measures to insure the utility of the code.

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According to professional sources, "a code of conduct is intended to be a central guide and reference for users in support of day-to-day decision making. It is meant to clarify an organization's mission, values and principles, linking them with standards of professional conduct" (Ethics Research Center, 2007). Therefore one of the first questions to be asked is the need for such a code. In this sense, it can be said that a list of guidelines that supports the conduct of the individual taking part in the activities of the organization is crucial because it offers the individual the possibility to relate to a certain framework and at the same time has a general knowledge of the limits his actions must have in order not to interfere in the liberties of the other individuals. It is only in this way that the individual can enjoy his rights and express his freedoms without disregarding the social freedom of others.

Term Paper on Enforcing a Code of Ethics in a University Assignment

The essential parts of a code of conduct reside, first and foremost, in the key words used in presenting particular moral values and norms each employee should respect. Therefore, in this sense, some terms are traditionally present in code of conducts. Thus, depending on the field in which the respective organization activates, there are particular terms needed and required for the message to be properly understood by the readers and receivers of the Code of Ethics. For instance, a code of ethics for social workers uses terms such as dignity or integrity (National Association of Social Workers, 1999). In this context, dignity can be defined as the consideration for human life and the insurance of the respect for values related to the human existence. Similarly, integrity is the "strict adherence to moral values and principles" (Ethics Resource Center, 2008). In relation to this last notion, the issue of integrity should be the guiding principle behind any code of ethical conduct, no matter the field of activity the respective organization activates in. This could be explained by the fact that in undergoing a certain job or position, a person must be strictly committed to achieving the goals set through means that are in accordance with the most intimate values and principles of the society. In this sense, the issue of integrity comes to ensure that this adherence to the morals and principles is achieved.

Ethics codes vary in accordance with the line of work they are engaged in. however, there are certain general ideas which are seen in most codes of conduct. In this sense, for instance, as a social workers code of conduct advocates integrity and responsibility, so does a code of a clothing manufacturer. For instance, the "respect, transparency, fair play, honesty and respect for privacy make up the backbone of our operations, the way we work and interact with co-workers and business associates, whether they are a part of our company or not" (Teddy S., 2007). Therefore, it can be said that morals and ethics represent an universal system of conduct which should be upheld and defined both in general terms by addressing the guiding principles and values of the society, as well as in more definite ones which set out the particular framework of conduct for the respective organization.

The necessity for a code of conduct is thus visible. More precisely, "each profession or trade has its own problems of ethics. The conduct of their members must be judged by its consequences, to the group itself and to the community. In the course of time there is likely to develop a certain standard of practice. Traditional customs are questioned and revised, in the light of wider experience. The association comes to have a fairly definite ethics, enforced by an unwritten code of honor. But there is always a fringe of unscrupulous men who are ready to disregard the accepted standard, for the sake of immediate gain. Unethical practices are not only a menace to society. They jeopardize the standing of the group as a whole, and tend to depreciate the value of its service. The enforcement of the standard becomes a matter of self-preservation" (Heermance, 1924). From this perspective, the codes of conduct and ethics represents a guiding element for the behavior of all human beings and are required to meet certain standards in terms of particular elements present in the content of the code, and to deal with particular issues of interest for the organization.

A special part in the area of ethical codes and codes of conduct is that held by school organization codes of ethics. It is an important part in the general activity of the academic world because in general, the world of knowledge and instruction is the one facing the most important ethical issues and it is need of codes of conduct that would ensure the proper behavior of those involved in the activities related to this environment.

There are particular elements common to each code of conduct. Despite the fact that their content differs, "a code of this character is designed to serve an immediate practical purpose. It is not a statement of general morality. It deals with the customs and ideals, the sins and duties, of a particular group of men. Ethical principles are stated in terms of their daily business experience," thus the framework tends to stay the same, no matter the actual issues presented in the code or the limits and advantages (Heermance, 1924).

Firstly, each code of conduct has in its beginning the description or a short presentation of the organization. In this sense, it can either be a statement of the mission of the organization (National Association of Social Workers, 1999), the actual aim of it (the American School Counselor Association, 1992), or the particular issues the code tries to underline through its implementation. This last point is most often seen in academic or school codes of conduct which deal in particular with "assist (ing) academic staff employed by the University in the identification and resolution of ethical issues which may arise in the course of their work through the articulation of a shared understanding of what constitutes ethical conduct by academic staff" (the University of Waikato, 2006). Therefore, in most codes of conduct related to the academic activities, these start with a general aim of the code which most of the times is connected to the activities of the academic staff and students.

Secondly, the code offers a framework meant to set the guidelines for the exercise of the various activities. This is due to the fact that "the code is a means of correcting trade evils and meeting professional temptations, by cooperation, definition and the setting of a goal. The chief value of the written standard is moral and educational. The well-intentioned individual finds support, through knowing that this is the practice on which the group as a whole has agreed" (Heermance, 1924). Therefore, it represents general accepted fact students, academics, and even employees must take into account and respect. In this sense, most university codes distinguish between the duties, responsibilities and rights of students, professors, and administrators. For instance, the Howard University Code of Ethics presents the responsibilities of the Administration to their students, staff, trustees, and all those involved in the academic process (1998). Similarly the Code of Conduct of the University of Southern California expresses its commitment towards its students and professors alike and to the relationship between them (2004). From this perspective, it can be said that the code of ethics pays serious attention to the targeted group and to the definition of its main purposes in relation to this group.

One of the most important aspects regarding the codes of conduct is the one related to the academic activity and especially the code of conduct of professors and teachers. In this sense, there is a wide variety of norms and values which are to some extent imposed to the academic staff. For instance there are schools in which the issue of interpersonal relations is discussed in the code. Thus, "an educator shall not intentionally violate or deny a student's… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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