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  • Donald E. Hester

Sample Ethics Policy, Academic

Ethics Project - Create a Sample Ethics Policy - American Military University, Criminal Justice Department

Global Bank ABC

We[1] the employees, board of directors and shareholders of Global Bank ABC, in order to form a collective ethics program, have come together to create this ethics policy. We believe that this company is a part of society and cannot exist apart from society. We further believe that the company exists to serve society. We exist to fulfill the fair business needs and to satisfy the banking needs of society, the communities, and individuals around the world.[2]

Company Ethics Program

This ethics policy shall be kept in accordance with our policy-change management process. The Vice-President of ethics shall be responsible for maintenance of this policy and program. We will form an ethics committee to assist in formation of the program and give each employee a voice in the creation of this program. We will have the board of directors approve all changes to the policy before implementation.

The Ethics Committee

The ethics committee will be formed by a representative from each business unit. We understand that the Information Systems Department has different ethical considerations than that of the Human Resources Department and that the Business Banking Department has different considerations than the Finance Department. This will ensure that the unique needs of each business unit are adequately represented. The ethics committee will also have directors from each country in which the company does business. This will help ensure that each culture we interact with will also be represented. This committee will meet annually to review any needed changes in this program.

Employees will also be allowed to contact the Vice-President in charge of ethics with any questions or concerns we have about business practices, ethical behavior and acceptable conduct.[3] We believe that all employees should be able to question, within reason, the conduct of superiors within Global Bank ABC.

In order for this ethics program to be effective and have a life outside this document, we believe that there must be a constant dialog and a prominence throughout Global Bank ABC. We shall meet this goal by having training, awards, and newsletters.

Ethics Training

We will have biannual ethics training for all employees. The training will be hosted by the Vice-President in charge of ethics. Open sessions will be held at least twice a year within a geographic region and we will make every effort to attend two sessions locally. These open sessions will be held at all major locations within Global Bank ABC. If an employee misses a local open session they will attend the next nearest open session or attend one via web conference. Failure to attend two open sessions in a calendar year will adversely affect promotions, bonuses, and raises.

Ethics Awareness Program[4]

We believe that employees who uphold the ethical standards we agree upon shall be rewarded for promoting an ethical work environment. Rewards, monetary and otherwise, shall be administered by the Vice-President in charge of ethics.

Ethics Newsletter

Given the widespread use and availability of email, we shall have an ethics newsletter. At least biweekly, an ethics awareness newsletter shall be emailed to all employees. The newsletter shall be administrated and maintained by the Vice-President in charge of ethics.

Code of Conduct

We agree that our behavior will;

1. Be in the best interest of society.

2. Be honorable, honest, just, responsible and legal.

3. Be diligent and competent to Global Bank ABC, its clients and its employees.[5]

Philosophy and Policy regarding treatment of people

1. Focus on the situation, issue, or behavior, not on the individual.

2. Maintain the self-confidence and self-esteem of others.

3. Maintain a constructive relationship with your peers, managers and staff.

4. Take initiative to make things better.

5. Lead by example.

We believe that all people are equal. We therefore agree that all people; regardless of their race, national origin, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, social status, job description or any other factor, shall be treated as equals, with full fairness and without thought of gaining an advantage of any kind or for any reason.[6] This fairness and equality includes clients, employees and all people we interact with.[7]

Global Bank ABC exists to help our clients succeed and provides a valuable service to society and the world at large.[8] This means we will put our clients’ interests above our own and maintain a fiduciary responsibility to the world as a whole.[9]

As a part of our trust relationship that we have with all of our clients, we shall maintain our clients’ privacy at all times. This means it is all of our jobs to protect the confidentiality of all our clients’ information no matter what form it may be in, be it electronic or in paper form.[10]

Communication in a Global Environment

In order for a group of people or organization to survive in a diverse global environment, communication is the key to success. This means we will need an open dialog concerning cultural differences in perspectives in ethics.

In order to have a strong foundation for communication, we must consider the beliefs and attitudes, cultural values, communications styles and the level of trust that all parties have. We must assume that we have are made or making assumptions about other cultures. We will learn about cultures that we will interact with and identify cultural norms and identify taboo subjects before we interact within those cultures.[11]

Getting to know the people with whom we will be dealing is fundamental to successfully launching and concluding business dealings globally. Polite questions about culture, society, family, likes and dislikes are important to starting business in many areas around the world. This will help build a relationship of trust between people of different cultures. One means of building trust and getting to know each other is to share some information about ourselves with those whom we wish to build trust.

It is important that our clients, employees, and business partners trust us. It is also important that we trust our business partners and that they have similar values and ethics as Global Bank ABC. If business partners, clients or employees engage in unethical or illegal activities, we will sever all ties with them. All business contracts will have an ethics clause that will enable Global Bank ABC to break the contract if a client, business partner or employee is found to engage in such behavior.

Given that natural resources are depleting, environmental issues which are vital to human survival environmental issues and issues regarding animal welfare are given special consideration. Some natural resources are limited and some are nearly gone. Global Bank ABC shall set aside a portion of profit to deal with the growing number of concerns about the world we live in. We will view ourselves as stewards of this planet and leave it better than we found it for future generations.

How to addressing unique and specific ethical dilemmas

While addressing ethical issues within Global Bank ABC, each specific issue that arises will be documented from three perspectives[12]. The first perspective will be the individual’s perspective and will address what an individual feels is ethical and unethical. This perspective can document the individual perspective of opposing individuals on that specific issue and other moderate individual perspectives.

In addition to the individual perspectives we will document the overall organizational perspective on ethics. This perspective will be based on our code of conduct and passed decisions on other dilemmas. This perspective shall be given the most weight in decisions within the dilemma.

The final perspective to be documented shall be that of the culture that the dilemma takes place in; in addition this will take in to consideration the global perspective on the subject. This perspective will look at religious and cultural norms and customs. We realize that we are a global bank and that we must consider the diverse perspectives around the world.

Degrees of interpretation on ethical issues

All ethical issues can be viewed by the severity of the issues. These four degrees starting with the most severe are illegal, unethical, unfair and inappropriate. It is important to address the degree of the specific issue to determine what level of punishment or control should be put in place.

For illegal conduct, we will adopt the most restrictive laws as a general practice. Given the multitude of countries and legal regulations of all the countries we do business in, we will address them in the terms that the most restrictive will become our global policy. In certain circumstances, issues that seem to contradict the laws of other nations, precedence will be shown for US law followed, by European regulations. In these instances, the legal department will be consulted for interpretation and clarification.

Employees of Global Bank ABC will always follow the laws of the country in which they are located. Failure to follow legal and regulatory statutes may result in immediate termination. If anyone has a question on issues of law, consult your local or regional legal department representative.

Unethical behavior consists of actions that violate our code of conduct. Special consideration must be given to those who may have different points of view based on their cultural background. This means that some people may have a different idea on the very same concept and that must also be taken into consideration.

The next level of interpretation on ethical issues is fairness. We all believe that we want people to treat us justly and with fairness. In turn, we will treat everyone one with the same level of fairness and justice that we expect for ourselves. This attitude of fairness and justice will be directed at all people at all times.

Specific Consideration of Fairness

We agree that facilitating payments, while customary in some cultures, create an unfair advantage over the competition. We will not engage in any type of bribery or facilitation payment directly or indirectly. The world market will not be a fair a just place of business until all businesses take this stand.[13]

The final, and most difficult level to address, is that of inappropriate behavior. Given the diverse backgrounds in Global Bank ABC, what is appropriate for one individual in one culture may not be appropriate in another. This is one of the reasons we have created this program to stimulate a dialog between people of different backgrounds to try and find a common ground that we can agree upon.

Specific Consideration on Inappropriate Behavior

Specifically, we have agreed the all people will be treated fairly regardless of their sex. This means that we shall treat woman as equals to men at every level of this organization. This means that they will not be subjected to speech or actions that may be interpreted by them as sexual in nature. We will not tolerate sexual harassment in any form at Global Bank ABC.


American Society for Industrial Security “Code of Ethics” available online at

Carrison, Dan & Walsh, Rod, Semper Fi; Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way, (New York: AMACOM, American Management Association, 1999)

Dabady, Marilyn; Hinshaw, Joann; & Naughton, Chritina, “Cross Cultural Coaching Tips” Online Article accessed June 23, 2003, available at

Drucker, Peter F., The Essential Drucker, (New York: Harper Business, 2001)

Freedman, Davis H., Corps Business; The 30 Management Principles of the U. S. Marines, (New York, Harper Collins, 2000)

International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2, “Code of Ethics” available online at

Julian, Larry, God is My CEO, (Avon: Adams Media Corp., 2001)

Morgan, Eleen, Navigating Cross-Cultural Ethics, (Boston, Butterworth Heinemann, 1998)

Reynolds, George, Ethics in Information Technology, (Boston: Course Technology, 2003)

Vogal, Frank, “Facilitating Payments in International Commerce”, (online article) Accessed June 2003, available at

Woolfe, Lorin, Leadership Secrets from the Bible, (New York, Barns & Noble Books, 2002)


[1] I have chosen to write this paper in the collective voice as a means to help as Peter Drunker wrote “Every enterprise requires a commitment to common goals and shared values. Without such commitment, there is no enterprise; there is only a mob. The enterprise must have simple, clear, and unifying objectives.” This is similar to the Marine Corps Management Principle written by Davis H. Freedman to establish a core identity. Everyone in the organization should feel they’re performing an aspect of the same job. I want each employee to feel as if this is their own policy.

[2] Drucker, Peter F., The Essential Drucker, (New York: Harper Business, 2001) Chapter 3

[3] This will give the employees a means to raise questions or objections outside of the change of command.

[4] In order for any program to be successful we have to have it in front of the employee all of the time.

[5] This is not identical to but similar to the code of ethics for (ISC)2.

[6] Woolfe, Lorin, Leadership Secrets from the Bible, (New York, Barns & Noble Books, 2002) pg 175. Here I address the fairness in treatment for all people.

[7] This paragraph is here to bring the global organization to the level that meets or exceeds that of US labor law.

[8] This paragraph is here to tie in Global Bank ABC’s vision in with the ethics statement and use the ethics program as a means for Global Bank ABC to reach its mission statement. This also has a hint of the golden rule in it.

[9] It is important to realize that we have responsibility to society and here collectively they agree to that. Drucker, Peter F., The Essential Drucker, (New York: Harper Business, 2001) Chapter 2

[10] Reynolds, George, Ethics in Information Technology, (Boston: Course Technology, 2003) pg 83-92

[11] Dabady, Marilyn; Hinshaw, Joann; & Naughton, Chritina, “Cross Cultural Coaching Tips” Online Article accessed June 23, 2003, available at

[12] Morgan, Eleen, Navigating Cross-Cultural Ethics, (Boston, Butterworth Heinemann, 1998) pg 83-84

[13] Vogal, Frank, “Facilitating Payments in International Commerce”, (online article) Accessed June 2003, available at


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