The IBE 9 Step Model for developing and implementing a code

As well as its content and format, the process for developing and implementing a code of ethics is critical in maximising its influence on business behaviour at all levels and in all functions. The IBE 9 Step Model lays out the steps to do this effectively 

1. Understand your context
At the outset, it is necessary to understand the catalyst for the code. Knowledge of this will help you create an appropriate framework to develop your code.

2. Establish board level support
Corporate values, ethics and culture are matters of governance. Without senior leadership endorsement, embedding a code of business ethics is unlikely to be effective.
3. Articulate your core (ethical) values
Ensure that your organisation has articulated its core values. Ethical values in particular should form the basis of the code and guide employee decision-making through ethical dilemmas.
4. Find out what bothers people
It is important to find out what issues are of particular relevance to your employees and sector, so copying the code of another organisation is not the way to proceed.
5. Choose your approach
Codes can be structured according to stakeholders, issues, values or in a 'hybrid' way. Each organisation will need to choose which model best suits its individual requirements.
6. Draft your code
The drafting of the code should produce a document which is clear, inclusive and accessible. It should be principles-based, give guidance to staff and detail who to ask when unsure of the right way forward.
7. Test it
To ensure your code is fit for purpose, it needs to be piloted with a cross-section pf employees drawn from different locations and levels of employment.
8. Launch it 
The launch event of a new or revised code should be memorable, engage employees and raise their awareness of the importance of doing business ethically.
 9. Monitor it
The launch of the code is just the beginning of the journey. Ongoing monitoring, training on its use and rewarding those who demonstrate ethical leadership are also required. 

How to ...

Ethical values & codes

The core element of an ethics programme will be a Code of Ethics.

Nine steps to preparing a code

The process for drawing up a code of ethics is critical in maximising its effectiveness.

Communicating ethical values

A communications strategy for the ethics programme aims to raise awareness of the organisation’s values.


Ethics training raises awareness around the code, what is acceptable business practice and where support can be found.

More elements of an effective ethics programme

Additional tools and mechanisms to keep the code alive and support staff to apply ethical values to the work they do.

Monitoring & accountability

The board needs to establish a programme of assurance to understand whether the organisation is living up to its ethical values.

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