Code of Conduct (COC): Business Ethics Project
Last Update: July 14, 2020
Telos: Create a Code of Conduct for your dream company or current company that incorporates many of the different elements of the course.
8 – 15 pages. Single-spaced with section headings and well-formed paragraphs. Cite sources Chicago-style.
You have the freedom to organize your COC any way you want and put the following sections in any order you want.
Use as many of our philosophers as you can to support your work.
Philosophy of Work:
Explain the philosophy of work for all employees (regardless of role—keep in mind the story of JFK and the NASA custodian) and include reference to worldview issues (Origins, Meaning, Morality, Destiny) that help flesh out your philosophy. For instance, Personal Theists will argue their theology influences the position that all work and jobs in the company are valuable since God uses individuals as His/Her hands/feet in the world.
Mission Statement of Company:
Give us a tight, mission statement of your company (you will develop it more in the next section).
Broad Purpose of Company & Eudaimonia (Happiness)
Explain the purpose of your company in the world in a few paragraphs and locate it in your general philosophy of economics (draw on Karl Marx and Adam Smith to flesh out your views) in the USA. Do your best to mention some of Karl Marx’ critiques of capitalism (alienation) and how you might address some of his worries (or if you might turn over your company to the government someday).
Values and Core Moral Principles
In a few paragraphs, explain the top five “hills you die on” in terms of five to ten values or principles or commitments in your company. Draw on different philosophers we cover in the course (whether you agree or disagree with them, you can compare and contrast your views with theirs).
Virtue Ethics: Virtues and Vices of Employees
What kind of character do you expect from all employees from the lowest-paid to highest-paid? Explain what virtues are encouraged and vices are discouraged and what a virtuous employee is. In this section, choose a person or two from history with a character you want all employees to emulate (e.g. Justin Bieber, Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Harriet Tubman, Yoda, Spock, Rey Skywalker, or whomever you want).
Decision-Making Practices: Ethical Theory
Explain if you want your students to use Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics (seeking the Golden Mean), Divine Command Theory (following principles from a source of revelation like the Bible, Qur’an, Laws of Manu, Dhammapada, Doctrine and Covenants, Guru Granth, Dianetics, etc.), or Kantian Deontology (M1, U1 and testing U1 with CI-1 and CI-2), or the Hedonic Calculus of Act Utilitarians or Rule Utilitarians.
Practical Tests: Individual Responsibility and Virtue
Review from the practical tests mentioned in our readings (or from your own company or reading) for difficult cases. For instance, you might have employees in a country where bribery of government officials is a common practice, or employees overseeing a factory in another country with very lax environmental standards or a very low minimum wage. Do you want to have your employees do the “newspaper test” or “mirror test” or another thought experiment, or do you want them to use the Rae Model for Moral Decision-Making, or something else? Explain in a few paragraphs addressing cases like bribery and environmental and human rights issues.
(Issues we covered) Social Responsibility, Minimum/Maximum Wage,
Bring up many of the issues we discussed this semester in well-developed paragraphs (no lists like the following):
1) Social Responsibility: After reading the Milton Friedman article, let us know your company philosophy about engaging in social justice, or if this is only up to individuals (you and your employees) on their own time and dime. Give us quotes from the Friedman article to interact with and clarify your view.
2) Minimum or Maximum Wage: Many Progressives and Marxists want a minimum and maximum wage (for you). Give us your philosophy of a minimum and maximum wage in your company or what fair compensation is in your view.
3) Social Media Policy: What is your policy with employees and social media? Is there a “cancel culture” rule in your organization, or probationary period? Explain.
4) Taxes: Will you voluntarily pay more taxes to the U.S. Treasury to help with government programs, or simply pay the minimum of taxes? Explain. Will you encourage your employees to voluntarily pay more to the U.S. Treasury than they are taxed (as Progressives should do)? Explain your philosophy.
Other Elements of your Choice:
Lots of other things to put into your COC you might see in other companies online (look at at least three Codes of Contact from other companies that are similar to your own. For instance, look at Proctor and Gamble’s, and those of General Electric, Boeing, Pratt-Whitney, Google, Facebook, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, etc.)
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