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 sources.