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Cracking the Code: Codes of Conduct That Actually Work

Karen Kroll | May 7, 2013

Nearly every company has a code of conduct. At some it's a commonly cited document that guides behavior at the organization. At others, it gets more use as a beverage coaster.

Security and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, for example, falls into the first category. When the company announced late last year that its board of directors had asked Vice Chairman and COO Christopher Kubasik to resign, it cited the company's code of ethics and business conduct. According to the announcement, an ethics investigation revealed that Kubasik had a close personal relationship with a subordinate, a clear violation of the code, which identifies such behavior as a potential conflict of interest.

The fact that Lockheed Martin fired a top executive for violating its code of ethics—the announcement notes that the Kubasik's actions had no effect on the company's operations or finances—is an indication of how seriously many companies are taking, or trying to take, their codes of ethics...

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