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The Code of Conduct Conundrum

Carole Switzer | December 31, 2013

When's the last time you heard the question, “Do we really need a corporate code of conduct?” asked in your company, if ever?  And do you react with surprise or even a bit of annoyance as you read it here, thinking it's stupid to even ask such a thing in 2014?

Perhaps it is. Whether your company has established a code of conduct because it faced a legal requirement to have one, or to satisfy stakeholder demands, or to serve as the foundation of the organization's compliance program, the very idea of questioning the value of having a corporate code of conduct seems out-moded in today's business world.  And yet, if we slightly rephrase the question to ask, “What value can we gain from a code of conduct” we set the stage for a meaningful management discussion that takes place all too infrequently. 

The development of codes of conduct became a cottage industry for lawyers in the United States starting about two decades ago, and grew substantially following the 2004...

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