Establishing a Code of Ethics

Establishing a Code of Ethics

What problem does it solve? In a positive organizational climate, employees will have confidence and stability to serve clients more effectively, there will be less staffing turnover, and this climate will endure even as people come and go from the organization. Ideally, this will allow leadership to effectively deal with new problems, challenges and goals. What is your solution and who does it apply to? A new policy is needed that will aim to move the organization from a compliance driven organizational climate to a positive climate that places high priority on integrity and ethical behavior. Leaders will improve organizational climate by adopting an extensive written Code of Ethics; increasing clarity of agency goals and encouraging employees to adopt a commitment to these goals; setting high standards and helping employees to meet them; holding employees responsible for their work by empowering them and providing recognition. A Code of Ethics should be implemented or adopted by the organization to describe the organization’s ethical stance to employees and constituents, to improve the organization’s image while providing protection from lawsuits and other regulation, to encourage followers and leaders to behave ethically, and to ensure there is a written document that has a direct and positive impact on ethical behavior. What is the anticipated impact? The organization must make ethics a priority in order to develop a healthy ethical climate. A healthy ethical climate does not allow for destructive behaviors, insists on integrity, is concerned with process and product, uses structural reinforcement, and insists on social responsibility. To build an ethical organizational climate, you need shared values, a code of ethics, and continuous ethical improvement. Ethical leaders must ensure that ethics messages are prioritized over messages about tasks and mandates by frequently communicating about values, mission, corporate standards and the importance of behaving ethically. There needs to be less focus on compliance with meeting the mandates of the settlement agreement and more focus on ethical behavior and positive societal impact.


A good start would be to remove the bullies that wield much too much power over career staff.

A Uniform Ethics Code already exists for NJ:

I have worked for the State for 15 years and have never seen this code. Perhaps this or some version of this should be more widely publicized, referenced and discussed during the mandatory ethics trainings.

Janet, I totally agree. Unfortunately, it is up to each agency to notify their employees. We at DEP are notified but I'm not sure about other agencies.

Back to group

This content is created by the open source Your Priorities citizen engagement platform designed by the non profit Citizens Foundation

Your Priorities on GitHub

Check out the Citizens Foundation website for more information