Module 4 discussion 1-ethical leadership | ethical leadership in business | Middle Tennessee State University


I posted several codes of conduct. Which of these do you believe does the best job in guiding an employee’s behavior? Why do you think so? Which of these is the most ineffective? Why do you think so? You may find other examples if you would like to do so.


I believe that Starbucks does the best at guiding an employee’s behavior because their code of conduct is short and sweet, like an order of a “tall” coffee from their establishment. Many of the other companies had long codes of conduct that were easy to get lost in. By having a straightforward code of conduct with a reasonable amount of rules to follow, it is easier to remember. They have four codes for their employees to follow (in addition to other standards), and they are the following: You Are Empowered, You Have Responsibility, You Have Help, You Have A Voice. Additionally, Starbucks lists why they have a code of conduct instead of just telling their employees something along the lines of, “Here is our code of conduct, you have to follow this now.” As I have learned in my leadership courses, it shows respect for your employees and team members when you tell them why you are doing something or following a specific set of rules. Lastly, their code of conduct is reasonable and empowers their employees to do the right thing, which makes it easier to follow. Overall, Starbucks has set the example for how to write codes of conduct that are easy to follow for all of their employees. As for the one that I believe is the most ineffective, I would say that is the Alphabet/Google code of conduct. While reading through their codes of conduct, I felt as if the wording allowed for some loopholes in their codes because of how the codes were worded, not necessarily the rules themselves. Additionally, because there are lots of writing for their codes of conduct, it would be easy for employees to forget the core ideas of the practices listed in the codes. Therefore, if their employees forget all the core ideas and the details, then their employees would probably have a harder time following the code of conduct. Those are the reasons why I believe Alphabet and Google’s codes of conduct are the most ineffective.

Disney’s codes of conduct, or what they call “Standards of Business Conduct,” is extremely impressive and seemingly effective because of how encompassing and detailed it is. It is almost a 50 page document detailing everything from their prioritized virtues to legalities and privacy. Starbucks, on the other hand, seems to be lacking in the quality of their codes of conduct. Their “Living Our Values” and “Ethics and Compliance” statements are vague and not believable in the context of the unionizing of “partners” over the past year. Vox summarizes the situation well in the article linked below, but essentially Starbucks workers reached a breaking point during the pandemic and now realize they deserve better treatment. Starbucks says in their standards, “You have a voice: When you think something isn’t right, speak up and share your concerns.” Baristas are doing exactly that calling for everything from increasing benefits to simply better hours.

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