Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct

By Sudheer Kumar K|Updated : November 17th, 2020

This article covers the difference between Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct is included in UPSC IAS Mains GS Paper 4 (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude).

Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct

Both Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct are similar in encouraging specific forms of behaviour by employees. Ethical guidelines provide guidance about values and choices to influence decision making. Conduct rules assert that some specific actions are appropriate, others inappropriate. Let us see the differences in detail:

Code of EthicsCode of Conduct

Code of ethics is a set of guidelines issued by an organisation to its employee to guide their conduct in accordance with its values and ethical standards. 

Code of conduct is a set of rules, outlining expected behaviour from employees of an organisation. 

It is a set of principles that influence the judgement. In case an employee faced with ethical dilemmas, it helps guide his decision making.

It is a set of guidelines that influence an employee's actions. It ensures inclusive behaviour, decency and professionalism among employees.
Code of ethics includes the principle of honesty, objectivity, integrity, accountability, impartiality and commitment to public service, etc. Code of Conduct includes forbidding inappropriate actions like sexual harassment or racial intimidation etc. 
Nolan Committee has recommended seven principles to improve standards of behaviour in public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.Code of Conduct is specific to organisations. It majorly includes norms, rules, and responsibilities or proper practices of an individual or an organisation.

For Example, All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968:

Every member of the Service shall maintain:-
(i) high ethical standards, integrity and honesty;
(ii) political neutrality;
(iii) promoting the principles of merit, fairness and impartiality
in the discharge of duties;
(iv) accountability and transparency;
(v) responsiveness to the public, particularly to the weaker
(vi) courtesy and good behaviour with the public

For example, the Model Code of Conduct during Elections for the conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, portfolios, election manifestos, processions and general conduct.

Code of Conduct for Civil Servants suggests dos and don'ts of being an officer. 

For example, Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964 says 'no officer should criticise the Government or its decision through any medium or speech.'

 Code of Ethics is broader in perspectiveCode of Conduct is narrower in view.




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