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Essentials of Business Ethics: Creating an Organization of High Integrity and Superior Performance



Essentials of Business Ethics: Creating an Organization of High Integrity and Superior Performance

Denis Collins

ISBN: 978-0-470-48623-8 April 2009 208 Pages


The essential guide to creating an organization ofhigh integrity and superior performance

With the high-profile corporate scandals that have taken place in recent years, corporate ethics are more important to a business than ever before. The failure of ethical leadership in an organization is very destructive-it demoralizes the workforce, breeds public distrust, and ultimately results in organizational decay.

Based on more than two decades of consulting, teaching, and research, Denis Collins's Essentials of Business Ethics is designed with appreciation for your demanding professional obligations, with easy-to-find, at-your-fingertips information. Its nuts-and-bolts presentation provides you with practical "how-to" examples and best practices on every area of managing ethics inside your organization in a handy, concise format.

This brief yet powerful guide presents executives and leaders with timely discussion on:

  • Human nature and unethical behavior in organizations
  • Determining the ethics of job candidates
  • The differences between a Code of Ethics and a Code of Conduct
  • The best practices for managing diversity
  • Using Management-by-Objectives to establish work goals that encourage ethical behavior
  • Performance appraisals that reward ethical behaviors
  • Aligning community outreach with the company's mission and assets
  • Handling the environmental change process
  • How to manage three internal communication mechanisms for employees to report potentially unethical or illegal behaviors: an Ethics & Compliance Office, Ombudsman, and Ethics Hotlines

Providing a five-step ethics job-screen process and an ethical decision-making framework, as well as guidelines for conducting a variety of business ethics workshops, Essentials of Business Ethics is the only guide you will need containing all the relevant facts on business ethics, all in one place.



About the Web Site.


PART 1 Background.

1 Human Nature and Unethical Behavior in Organizations.

Daily Occurrence of Ethical Dilemmas.

Competitive Advantages of Ethical Organizations.

Managing Morally Imperfect People.

What Is the Extent of Unethical Behaviors at Work?

What Types of Organizations and Operational Areas Have Ethical Problems?

Why Do Good People Behave Unethically?

What Are the Costs of Unethical Behaviors?

What Is Human Nature?



2 The Ethical Foundation of Capitalism and the Optimal Ethics Systems Model.

Adam Smith’s Capitalism and Business Ethics.

Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The Optimal Ethics Systems Model.



PART 2 Getting Everyone on Board.

3 Hiring Ethical People.

The Five-Step Ethics Job Screen Process.



4 Codes of Ethics and Codes of Conduct.

Difference Between a Code of Ethics and a Code of Conduct.

Importance of Code Expectations and Awareness.

Prevalence of Codes of Ethics and Conduct.

Code of Ethics Content.

Code of Conduct Content.

Effective Codes.

Annual Code of Ethics Assessment.



5 Ethical Decision-Making Framework.

Rotary International’s Four-Way Test.

Raytheon’s Ethics Quick Test.

The Ethics Decision-Making Framework.

The Five Ethical Theories.

Persuading Others.

Ten "Ethical Hazard Approaching" Signs.



6 Ethics Training.

Extent of Ethics Training.

Who to Train.

Web-Based Ethics Training.

Facilitating an Ethics Discussion.

Ethics Training Options.

Assessing the Ethics Training Workshops.



7 Respecting Employee Diversity.

Competitive Advantages of Diversity Management.

Four Layers of Diversity.

Implementing a Diversity Initiative.

Best Operational Practices for Managing Diversity.

Diversity Training Problems and Solutions.

Diversity Discussion Guidelines.

Diversity Training Exercises.



PART 3 Daily Internal Operations.

8 Ethics Reporting Systems.

Undesirable Employee Reactions to Ethical Issues.

Ethics & Compliance Officer (ECO).


Assist Lines.




9 Ethical Leadership, Work Goals, and Performance Appraisals.

Managers as Ethical Role Models.

Great Place to Work® Dimensions.

Virtues and Leadership Practices.

Work Goals.

Performance Appraisals.

Collection and Evaluation Issues.

Performance Appraisal Feedback.

Disciplining Work Rule Violations.




10 Empowering Ethical Employees.

Go-Getters, Fence-Sitters, and Adversarials.

Effective Teams.

Systematic Team Problem-Solving Process.

Connecting Employees to the Mission—Appreciative Inquiry.

Daily Performance Reflections.

Scanlon-Type Gainsharing Plans.

Open Book Management.

Profit Sharing.

Stock Options.

Employee Stock Option Plans (ESOPs).




PART 4 Being a Good Citizen.

11 Environmental Management.

Competitive Advantages of Being Eco-Friendly.

Managing the Environmental Change Process.

Environmental Management System (EMS).

Environmental Risk Assessment.

The Natural Step (TNS) Framework and Cost Reductions.

Product Packaging and Design.

Green Buildings.

Environmental Performance Indicators.

Sustainability Reporting.



12 Community Outreach and Respect.

Business Case for Community Involvement.

What to Give.

Giving to Whom?

Team Building and Project Management Training Opportunities.

Community Involvement Management Process.

Community Reputation Assessment.

Social Performance Reporting.




"This book provides a practical guide to business ethics and harnessing ethics to improve business performance. It is part of the 'Essentials Series', which is intended to enable busy business advisory and corporate professionals to achieve rapid knowledge and skills in key business areas. The book is thus designed as "a managerial 'how-to manual' on business ethics for executives and leaders. The book presents a wealth of practical suggestions and initiatives accompanied by examples. Collins does an excellent job of trying to inspire professionals to be proactive in approaching ethical matters and seize the bull by the horns." (The Marketing Review, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 2)

"Essentials of Business Ethics, adheres to the notion that ethics can be taught, that ethics can always be improved, and that in business it is crucial for leaders to set a strong example. This book aims to help all those involved in the ethics process, beginning with business owners and managers and including ethics and compliance officers, as well as ombudsmen who guide employees. The how-to format of the book makes it an easy-to-use resource." (The CPA Journal, March 2010)

"Full of practical examples for managing ethics, this brief book offers critical advice on issues ranging from ethical decision making and ethics training to environmental management and community outreach. A great "nuts and bolts" overview." (, 2009)

"Full of practical examples...A great "nuts and bolts" overview."(Ethical Corporation Magazine, March 2009)