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The Living Code

Embedding Ethics into the Corporate DNA

Of the 200 largest organizations in the world, more than 80% currently have a corporate code of conduct. An ever larger number of smaller organizations also have a code or are in the process of developing one. While in the 1970s and 1980s companies had to explain why they had a code, today they are cross-examined if they don't have one. A company has to have very good arguments to convince stakeholders that they can do without a code.

A business code is a measure for success: success as manager, employee, team and for the organization as a whole. Unfortunately, many codes are underutilized. And many simply fail, with serious repercussions for the organization.

This short and accessible book presents a model to create, develop and embed business codes. The validated model enables managers and organizations to better manage their codes as well as their performance. The author articulates why a code of conduct is necessary, what it should cover, as well as demonstrating through practical tips and examples how to make full use of it. What is required to breathe life into a code and keep it that way? How can you live your code? Illustrated with results from an empirical study of the "Fortune" Global 200, the ideas developed are based on the worldwide experience of the consultancy firm KPMG. The author works in the field of developing, implementing and monitoring of codes, as well as conducting intensive academic research in the last 15 years in his capacity as (associate) professor of business ethics.

The Living Code is a unique book and will be essential reading for those that want to make a success of their code or are considering developing one. Readers will learn just how rich and threatening a code is and what it could mean for their organization, their team and themselves.

1. What does a code say?

2. The code pyramid

3. Thou shalt have a code

4. The multifaceted code

5. The excellent code

6. The nightmare code

7. The code star

8. Leadership, leadership and leadership again

9. Measures and activities to keep a code alive

10. How effective is our code?

11. Personal accounts

12. Leadership once more

MUEL KAPTEIN has been active as a consultant and researcher in business ethics, integrity and compliance management since the 1990s. He assists organizations in developing, implementing and monitoring business codes.

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