How to Write a Code of Conduct

According to Mount Holyoke College, a code of conduct is “a formal statement that includes values and principles practiced by a business, corporation or organization.” When you write a code of conduct for your organization, it is important to know the essential elements that will help foster understanding and compliance in your members.

Write a statement explaining your organization’s dedication to ethics and responsible conduct. Express your organization’s intention to follow relevant laws. Briefly summarize the consequences to members who fail to comply with the code of conduct.

Write your code of conduct in concise language that is easy for anyone to understand. Use brief sentences to explain what kinds of conduct are expected and what kinds of conduct are unacceptable in your organization. Explain the confidentiality agreement. Also detail the responsibilities the organization has to its members.

Create examples of relevant situations. Use the examples to help members reach a deeper understanding of the organization’s rules. Develop a series of hypothetical situations that correspond to points in your code of conduct. Explain how the organization expects these situations to be handled. This gives members a practical guide to reference for appropriate behavior.

Outline the reporting structure for code of conduct issues. Tell members of your organization how they should report code violations and who to contact when they are uncertain of their own expected conduct. Explain the consultation process and whether the consultation will be confidential.

Tips

  • Encourage your members to read the code of conduct carefully and to adhere to the stated guidelines. Consider bulleted lists for broad points of the code of conduct for easy accessibility.

References

About the Author

Melissa Hopkins began writing for the Southern Illinois University newspaper in 2000, where she won several awards. After completing her Bachelor of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Hopkins moved to San Diego, where she worked as a stringer for various publications with the Pomerado Newspaper Group.