Professional Ethics and Responsibilities

by Justin Beach; Updated September 26, 2017

There are numerous examples to use when drafting a statement of professional ethics and responsibilities. Volumes have been written on the subject, dating back to ancient Greece and Rome, and numerous business, trade and professional associations have statements of ethics and responsibilities on their websites for anyone to read. Key areas to look at, when drafting a statement of ethics and responsibilities, include customers, employees, the community and the environment.

Customers

A statement of ethics and responsibilities toward customers, sometimes presented as a statement of "Consumer rights and responsibilities," can provide reassurance to new customers as to the level of service they can expect to receive. It can also provide a guideline to company employees as to what is expected of them when it comes to dealing with customers. For example, the University of Maryland Medical Center has a lengthy statement of consumer rights and responsibilities, available in both English and Spanish, that covers topics such as access to services, information disclosure, respect and nondiscrimination, and patients' right to choice and participation in decision making. It also lays out the process for filing a complaint if a patient feels he has been treated unfairly.

Employees

A statement of employee rights and responsibilities can go a long way to setting the tone of corporate or organizational culture and can help to bring in good employees. Many business are required by law to post workers' rights and employee safety information; however, having a statement that is specific to an organization regarding the treatment that employees can expect and the behavior that is expected of them in return can help to give new employees an idea of what to anticipate in the workplace. The Coca-Cola company has a "Workplace Rights Policy" as well as a "Human Rights Statement" to assure employees that they will be treated humanely and fairly. These policies are posted publicly so that consumers can also get an idea of how the company's employees are treated.

Social and Community Responsibility

A statement of social or community responsibility can do several things at once. From a purely practical standpoint, it is beneficial to any organization to have the support of the community in which it operates; it is also reassuring to employees and customers to show support for the community and, in the case of global organizations, social responsibility in general. Starbucks' community statement begins with "From the neighborhoods where our stores are located, to the ones where our coffee is grown -- we believe in being involved in the communities we’re a part of" and then goes on to detail the social and community commitments of the organization.

Environment

An environmental statement is frequently linked to the social responsibility statement and has many of the same ideas. A public statement of environmental responsibility lets employees and customers know that an organization is serious about building a sustainable future. Environmental statements are also not just for manufacturing or energy companies. All State Insurance has an extensive environmental statement that talks about the company's commitment to energy and water conservation, waste management, natural landscaping, eco-friendly transportation and investment in environmentally-friendly companies.

About the Author

Justin Beach has been writing for more than a decade, contributing to a variety of online publications. He has a Bachelor of Science in computer information systems and additional education in business, economics, political science, media and the arts.