Posted: November 30th, 2013
Evaluation of Business Code of Ethics
Evaluation of Business Code of Ethics
The systems inquiry in this paper will focus on Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser Permanente is a company whose main purpose is to offer managed care. The company’s mission statement promises to provide quality and affordable care for its members and their families (Compliance Fact Sheet, 2007). The Kaiser Permanente Company also aims at contributing to the well being of the community. The company’s code of ethics mirrors its aim of providing excellent quality medical care efficiently and consistently without fail. The company’s code of ethics enables employees to operate within institutional parameters that make it possible for them to serve members, their families and the community effectively. However, Kaiser Permanente recognizes that a good statement of purpose and strong, ethical code are not enough for the stakeholders. It is crucial for the company act on it to ensure that whatever they promise within their ethical code of conduct can be delivered.
The ethical system in Kaiser Permanente addresses five key guiding principles that form the basis of the code of conduct. These include, improving members’ health and the nation’s health care, excel and innovation in profession, respect for members, patients, customers and one another, fairness and honesty in all business deals, and finally, employees must demonstrate commitment to compliance and ethics (Compliance Fact Sheet, 2007). The Ethical system of Kaiser Permanente is duty driven, where the employees have the duty of delivering all the promises in the code of ethics that define the company’s principle of responsibility. The five ethical principles have been used to develop a system of inquiry to be employed in accessing decision-making, problem solving, and the behavior is the organizational setting.
The employees’ role in the company and their responsibility to the ethical code should be made clear before any decision-making process takes root. The employee, middle management and the executive arm have a role to play in decision-making. The code of conduct, for example, stipulates that the interaction between suppliers and the company administration should always be based on merit. The decisions made on who is to supply the company must be fair and objective oriented, meaning that the decisions should factor in the well-being of the patients and the overall implication to the organization. Management should therefore, be at the forefront to ensure that the company’s reputation is upheld.
When employees are conducting themselves in an unacceptable manner, there is likely to be a conflict of interests and problems may arise (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell, 2010). The code of ethics should provide for measures within which such problems can be effectively handled. The Kaiser Permanente code of ethics provide for a non-retaliatory policy. This policy encourages every member of the staff to maintain an environment where people can speak freely about their concerns, and reserve the right to report any misconduct as prohibited by the code of ethics. The clause further stipulates that management and middle management have the primary of ensuring the employees reserve the right to express their own opinions.
As a measure of problem solving, the code indicates that employees must safeguard assets and use them appropriately. The assets must be used for business purposes only, and never for personal needs (Compliance Fact Sheet, 2007). All employees including the executives, the managerial staff and other employees must be responsible for company assets against improper use, damage, theft, loss, waste, and impairment. This clause ensures that the problems arising from waste of resources, damage among other things are minimized to reduce organizational cost. For example, it is crucial for management to devise proper ways of documenting how resources are used and assigning responsibility over assets to employees. This will ensure that an employee is held accountable for any problems emanating from their assigned responsibilities.
The employee code of conduct is beneficial because it governs how employees should behave (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2010). One of the principles especially emphasizes the need for skilled behavior at the work place. The principle states that employees should respect the company members, patients, customers and each other. The code of ethics recommends this so that the company can be able to focus its services toward the customer. Several clauses in the code of conduct echo this principle. For example, a clause states that an employee should respect the confidentiality and privacy of the patient. The employee must ensure that information is always protected and that information should only be protected when they need. The code enhances desirable activities by the employees enhancing positive organizational culture.
The employees are also expected to be honest. The employees must ensure that the data they input in records is accurate. An employee cannot change the document content or leave out important information for any reason (Compliance Fact Sheet, 2007). The employees must ensure they follow the regulations of the federal government and state regarding medical records and communications. This code is to ensure that the employee is always honest in giving recording information. Falsified documents may have catastrophic consequences especially when dealing with patient records and treatment procedures.
Modifications in Code of Conduct
So far, the code of ethics for Kaiser Permanente ensures that the employees act in accordance to the company’s mission statement. However, more could be added to the code to enhance the service driven mission of the company. In adherence to the principle that expects employees to improve members’ healthcare and that of the community at large, it is expected that the employees should take up any other employment in the time they are with Kaiser Permanente.
The employees, supervisors and managers, may be outraged since the company maybe locking them out from other employment opportunities. Such a move should be backed up by monetary compensation to supplement any side jobs the employees may have had. The organization considers the customers, members and patients as their main concern. This should be true for the employees too. The employees must be dedicated fully to the hospital and the people it helps. The organization will be fully service oriented which will positively influence organizational culture (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2010). A fully dedicated staff will make the organization efficient in their operations.
Kaiser Permanente’s mission statement promises to provide quality and affordable care for its members and their families. This can only be achieved by an effective, ethical code of conduct. The code of ethics from the analysis has provided the company employees and management an acceptable environment within which they could carry out their mandate as stated in the company mission. The employees are expected to be people of integrity with the drive to serves selflessly to the satisfaction of relevant stakeholders.
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