Written report on a business or not-for-profit organization, investigate their ethics
policies and practices, and preparing a written report to address the
questions that follow below.
Questions to Address:
- Does org
have a mission or values statement? What ethical values are reflected
in their mission or values statement? What is your critical appraisal?
Is statement complete? Any important elements missing?
- Does the organization have a code of ethics or formal statement of
ethical policy? If so, how is it framed? How, if at all, does it go
beyond compliance with the law? Is it complete? If not, what is missing?
Does it flow from the mission or values statement?
- Does the organization have a formal structure and dedicated
personnel to handle ethical issues? For example, is there an ombudsman,
compliance officer, ethics trainer, an ethicist on the board, etc?
- What does the organization offer in the way of ethics training for
employees? If you can ascertain it, what is the general sentiment of
employees regarding such training? Is it a good program? Is it regarded
as a waste of time? Does the content go beyond teaching “rules” and
telling employees not to break them?
- How are the organization’s ethical values transmitted to employees? How is ethical compliance monitored?
- What are the procedures for reporting ethical violations within
the company? Does the system provide protection for “whistle blowers?”
- How are the organization’s ethical values communicated to
customers and prospective customers? For example, does their promotional
communication reflect their values?
- Has the organization gotten into trouble for legal violations or
gotten any bad press / negative publicity for something they have done?
What has the company done to redress the situation?
- Identify gaps (if any) between principles, policies, and practice.
- Are the organization’s ethical values mere ideals, or are they a living reality?
Other Criteria to Include:
- In summation of your final “ethics audit” paper, how would you
advise this organization? What improvements can they make in their
ethics policies, in how they are communicated to employees, in how they
handle infractions, etc?
- You are welcome to address other ethics-related questions in your
report as may be appropriate to the specific organization you are
auditing. Please try to keep your report to no more than 10-12 pages of
text (12 pt font, 1 inch margins, 1.5 spacing preferred). Less is okay,
more is discouraged. Appendices containing press clippings, mission
statements, training materials, etc., are encouraged and do not count
against the page total. Your report should have a cover sheet with title
(“Marketing Ethics Audit: [organization name]”), your name, course
number, and date. This should be followed by a one page executive
summary with an overview of the organization, its ethical policies and
practices, your critical assessment (“grade?”) and main recommendations.
The body of the text that follows should address the above questions in
some detail, ending with a “Recommendations” section. References (any
style) and appendices should follow. As you conduct your audit, be very
careful to avoid cut-and-paste plagiarism from on-line sources. Use
quotation marks around direct quotations (e.g., organization’s
Mission/Values Statement), cite the source, and list it among the
references. In auditing the organization, you can consult any resources
available to you, including published materials, interviews, personal
experience, etc. But you are expected to do research and to cite your