Components of a Corporate Code of Ethics

In its core fundamental form, I agree with the statement of code of ethics by which Intel operates: Conduct business with honesty and integrity, Follow the letter and spirit of the law, Treat each other fairly, Act in the best interests of Intel and avoid conflicts of interest, Protect the company’s assets and confidential information (Lussier and Hendon 2022: pp. 548-549).  Case Study 15.2 is Intel’s Code of Conduct and Ethics and it is about the Code of Ethics that guides Intel which now has grown to over 100,000 employees since its beginnings in 1968 (p. 548).  Ethics are a distillation of the trend in how a group wants its members to behave and it is a formalization and formulization of principles to follow in different umbrella sets of situations so as to uphold the shared values of a group.

Cultures endorse ethical ways to live, and organizations codify their values or basic concepts of good and bad/right and wrong into Codes of Ethics which must be followed and supported by management and leadership in a company that is committed to leveraging its human resource to its fullest.  Values come from society and culture and the culture of a business has its specific focuses as a business which exists in its overall society and therefore have their own organization specific Codes of Ethics (GreggU, YouTube).  Value based components of the principles that are built into a company’s code of ethics have to also connect properly with logical expectations so that an organization can enforce its standards by giving its employees a delineated and clear path to follow and conversely know they are not following when that is the case (Gallo, Online Article).

Businesses extract principles out of their values and then apply these principles to different situations to determine ethical actions in those situations.  Employees are held responsible for following the organization’s Code of Ethics by superiors and by each other inside of an organization and this gives the organization the standards and patterns by which coaching and counseling occurs, and progressive discipline occurs and keeps the whole organization on track.  Compliance with legal regulations weighs heavily into creating the Code of Ethics out of the value-based principles that an organization codifies for employees to follow.  Management must always behave ethically, or the result will be non-performing employees (GreggU, YouTube).  The tone has to be set at the top because a Code of Ethics is a codification of a specific set of extracted value based principles that are specific to the way a company needs to perform in order to be operational and successful and though these principles are extracted from larger societal principles, management must model the specific Code of Ethics itself in their behavior or people will not model themselves after a proper interpretation of the nuanced lines of delineation between acceptable and unacceptable behavior (Gallo, Online Article).

Specifically, the summarization of Intel’s Code of Ethics in Case 15.2 (Lussier and Hendon 2022: pp. 548-549) are a good example of how a multinational technology-based business must operate philosophically in order to balance all of the business demands that are placed upon it by the very nature of its size and scope of operations.  Conduct business with honesty and integrity (p. 548) is a solid universal basic ethics stance and it is expanded to include professionalism and to expand dealings to cover customers, suppliers, distributors, and all others.  Follow the letter and spirit of the law (p. 548) is also another solid universal basic ethics stance and though simple in its verbiage, its mandate to comply with all applicable laws and regulations of the many countries in which Intel does business makes it the jumping off point into the most complex set of potential activities within the discipline of International Business Law.  Treat each other fairly (p. 548) is simple and straightforward with an emphasis of teamwork respect and trust.  Act in the best interests of Intel and avoid conflicts of interest (p. 548) has a focus of thinking of the necessity for making sound business decisions with the best interest of Intel in mind.  Protect the company’s assets and confidential information (p. 549) is simple and straightforward and extends confidentiality and protection on the part of the employee out to cover customers, suppliers and employees as well.

All in all, the Intel Code of Ethics has some solid umbrella principles based on proper values of honesty, integrity and vigilance in protecting the interests of the company, associates and clients.  Something like a code of ethics can be expanded almost ad infinitum because one can always find an interesting nuance to add to the categories as they are first created.  I think it is a good thing for a technology company to focus on the overlap of international laws and regulations, confidentiality and honesty and integrity the way Intel has in their Code of Ethics.  These are proper categories that can be starting points for employee and management philosophical wrestling with the daily business ethical issues that arise in any international technology business.


Lussier and Hendon (2022). Human Resource Management, Functions, Applications, and Skill Development (4th ed., pp. 548-549). Sage.

Gallo, G. (2023). What Should Your Company Code of Ethics Contain. HR Daily Advisor.

GreggU. (2020, March 25). Introduction to Human Resource Management: Code of Ethics [Video]. YouTube.