Contents of a code can be broadly segregated into three segments based on the content.
- Inspirational: The inspirational content of a Code should necessarily be idealistic and relate most clearly to the organization’s mission, vision, values and long-term goals.
- Descriptive: The descriptive content of the Code is to outline the specific behaviour sought by the organization in areas such as communication during meetings, handling conflicts of interest, and other similar areas where the organization seeks to establish a firm and valid stance. The descriptive content would be silent regarding sanctions for violation of specific codes.
- Proscriptive: The proscriptive content of a Code clearly spells out what the organization prohibits.
Such content would improve the clarity of the Code and addresses behaviours that, although legally permissible, are unacceptable to the organization.
Organizations will be truly benefitted when the significance and implications of each category to be stated is clearly understood prior to drafting the Code.