Code of Ethics

Perhaps it has been a while since you benchmarked your institutional code of ethics against others in your industry, or since you compared your code’s content and implementation plan to those recommended for an effective code of conduct.

Of the many tools available to help you develop and maintain an effective code, a particularly wide-ranging one is offered by The Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (CSEP) at the Illinois Institute of Technology.  CSEP has compiled a large collection of print and online codes of ethics, it offers tips on using codes of ethics and on writing codes of ethics, it provides a bibliography of related materials, and it provides links to other online sources.


The collection contains over 850 codes of ethics, some of which are available online; copies of the others can be ordered.

Using codes of conduct:

In this guide CSEP lists a number of questions to ask when reviewing a code of ethics.  The guide also encourages the use of case studies to help people understand the real-world implications and provides links to sources of case studies.

Writing codes of conduct:

This guide is more than 15 years old, but still relevant.  Among other things, it identifies five questions to consider when deciding what to include in a code (or in reviewing an existing code):  1) Who are the persons or groups of persons affected by your organization or the members of your organization, and how are they prioritized?  2) What are your organization’s main areas of action?  3) What unethical decisions and actions would your organization like to prevent, and how could they be prevented? 4) What type of ethical problems are members of your organization most likely to encounter? 5) How can conflicting principles be resolved?


This list of print and on-line resources covers four broad topics: the use and purpose of codes of ethics, articles on writing or revising a code of ethics, how to use codes of ethics in the classroom, and a list of publications that includes ethics case studies.

Other online sources:

CSEP rounds out its information by providing links to other codes of ethics collections from around the world.  The entire resource may be a good addition to your code of ethics toolkit.

Ethical Advocate has addressed the topic of developing an effective code of conduct in the past. Contact us to learn more.