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PHIL 215
Brian Orend

Are you a good notes-taker? Looking for a collaborator: e-mail me at [email protected] PHIL 215 Lecture #4 Today: 1. Codes of Ethics 2. Whistle-Blowing 1. Codes of Ethics: Business: - Internal to a business (Magna) - Industry-Wide (Forestry) Professional: - More serious, more detailed - Consequences for violation - Disciplinary process - Legalized, formalized Properties of Code of Ethics: - Deontological + Rules (Duty-based + Results) - Consequentialist Example: Code of Ethics and Conduct for Stock Brokers. Insider Trading: When corporate executives trade the stocks of their own company. (When it comes to the stock market, government wants it to be as fair and transparent as possible) Example: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario: Rules of Professional Conduct. “Puffery”: Self-promotion through advertising to “puff yourself up”. Canadian lawyers are forbidden from making TV ads to promote themselves, in contrast to US TV networks. Example: Professional Engineers Act (Must pass technical tests, ethics test, prove good character) The Takeaway: Code of Ethics are often detailed and lengthy Code of Ethics (Common Elements) *Note*: Use these as the duties for deontology argument on the exams. 1. Obey all relevant laws 2. No disgracing the business, organization or profession 3. Competence & Non-impairment 4. Diligence / Hard-working-ness 5. Honesty & Full Disclosure 6. No Conflicts of Interest (Unless full disclosure & universal consent of “stake-holders”) 7. Trustworthiness & Confidentiality 8. Respect / Collegiality towards colleagues, peers & clients (Professionals Codes also have:) 9. Some Reference to Upholding a Public Good (e.g. lawyers -> justice, doctors -> health, engineers -> public safety) 10. “Advance the Profession”: i.e., A) Mentor & develop juniors and B) Take advantage of opportunities to enhance public esteem of profession 11. Reference to a Disciplinary Mechanism & Duty to Report all Ethical Violations to such. Aside: Shareholder vs. Stakeholder: - Shareholder: people who hold shares in the company - Stakeholder: anyone who are affected by decisions made by the company Disciplinary Mechanisms: Very different between the business side and profession side Business: - Informal: - H.R. - In-house legal counsel - recommend to CEO - take an ethics course - pay a fine - in some cases, termination of employment - Not all businesses have codes of ethics (Though all large public companies have them) Profession: - Formal / Quasi-Legal - “Self-Regulating”: (because engineers should know how to govern engineers, but not doctors) - Bodies of Expertise that determines detailed ethics (C.M.A., P.E.O., L.S.U.C) - Exams a code of ethics - Grant / revoke license (Generally a criminal record would fail the good character test) - Ethics Committee: 9 Senior members: 1. Initiated by some complaint 2. Fact-Finding Session (without players, dismissed if no grounds are found) 3. “Trial”: Lawyers are present 4. “Sentencing Phase” → Dismiss 5. Options & Punishment (e.g. rewrite ethics exam, pay for the cost of the “trial”, temporary / permanent suspension of license) Pros & Cons of Codes of Ethics (CoE): CONs -> LADD PROs 1. “Rigid Rule-Worship” 1. May not always be crystal-clear or 2. Serious Problem Interpreting Rules: motivating, but sometimes it might be; Vagueness (e.g. “personal honour”, “treat therefore still worthwhile. everyone with respect”) 2. Floor / Ceiling: CoE can articulate the 3. CoE doesn’t contain anything that’s not ideals & expectations of a business / already in ordinary morality. profession (which is inspiring / motivating). 4. Purpose of CoE? LADD: “These things Floor - minimum expectations; Ceiling - are exercises of public relations, done in the maximal inspiration. interest of the business / profession” (KPMG: 3. Give self-regulating bodies a way to kick Over 85% of CEOs said they adopted CoE for people out business interest) 4. Communication: Convey to outsiders what 5. Codes of Ethics are useless: A) ethical they can expect from insiders. people don’t need a code of ethics to know 5. (Response to CON#3) Crucial thing that what to do, B) unethical people won’t follow CoE do is to capture additional obligations CoE anyway.
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