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Managing Ethics

It was assumed tin most companies; ethics was a matter of individual conscience. But the scenario has changed. Some of the managerial interventions to ensure ethical conduct are explained below.

(i)Top Management.

It is the chief executive officer who should take initiative in ensuring ethical standards in his organization. It is his duty to ensure that management must avoid adapting business strategies, schedules and reward systems that place unreasonable pressure on employees.

(ii) Code of Ethics.

Code of ethics has become popular. Codes vary form book-length for-emulations to succinct statements which in one or two pages, express a general philosophy for managing confects. Nearly 95 per cent of Fortune 500 companies have codes and the trend is visible in our corporate sector also.

Industry associations too have evolved codes of conduct of their own. For example, the council for Fair Business Practices (CFBPP) established in 1966,by leading private sector industrialists in Western India, adopted the following code of fair business practices:

•    To charge only fair and reasonable prices and take every possible step to ensure that the prices
      to be charged to the consumer are brought to his notice.
•    To take every possible step to ensure that the agents or dealers..... do not change prices higher
      than fixed.
•    In times of scarcity, not to withhold or suppress stocks of goods with a view to hoarding or
•    Not to produce or trade in spurious goods of standards lower tan specified.
•    Not to adulterate foods supplied.
•    Not to publish misleading advertisements.
•    To invoice goods exported or imported at their correct prices.
•    To maintain accuracy in weights and manures of goods offered for sale.
•    Not to deal knowingly in smuggled goods.
•    Providing after-sales services what necessary or possible.
•    Honoring the fundamental rights of the consumers-Right of Safety, Right to choose, Right to
     Information and Right to be heard.
•    Discharging social responsibilities and responsibility to protect the environment and nature’s
•    Ensuring that the product-warranty is offered in simple, unambiguous and concise landmark,
     highlighting the rights of the consumer under it.

Whoever evolves the code, its purpose is to provide guidance to managers and employees when they encounter an ethical dilemma. The most effective codes are those drawn up with the cooperation and widespread participation of employees. An internal endorsement mechanism, including penalties for violating the code, adds teeth to the code.

(iii) Ethics committees.

Many companies have ethics committees to advise on ethical issuers.

Such a committee can be a high-level one comprising the board of directors, chaired by the CEO of the company.

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