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Ethical management is as old as the notion of trading and financial transactions. Although most businesses prefer not to articulate their codes of ethics, owners adhere to their own ethical standards. Those who play free and loose promising one thing and delivering a completely different product have a short reign in the marketplace.

     Most hotels and restaurants have some type of unwritten code of ethics \which mysteriously remain in the heads of general managers. This writer believes that  a Code of Conduct articulating the ethics of a hotel chain and/or restaurant is as important as a sound marketing plan or fine menu.

     A code of conduct is meant to encapsulate an organization’s beliefs ad values, which must be internalised and used as a guide in all training sessions., given to all new employees, and explained in detail. It is in fact part of the corporate culture. It must become the mantra of conducting business.

     Today, more than ever, people pay attention to corporate governance, and propriety of behaviour. Promises must be fulfilled; both product quality and price must correspond to those advertised. A hotel promising ocean-view rooms ands failing to deliver has acted unethically. Similarly, a restaurant menu promising wild Atlantic troll-caught salmon must deliver exactly that and not “farm-raised” salmon that has a completely inferior taste and texture, and which costs much less than the former. In a single location hotel and/or restaurant, the beliefs, values, and principles of the owner automatically get transmitted to actions. When the leader nurtures organizational values, his/her successors are most likely to sustain them for many years to come.

     When a hotel or restaurant chain expands its operation to internationally, local talent must be hired and trained with regard to: integrity, responsibility, unity, understanding, and excellence. Some Far Eastern companies adhere to the notion of not to creating a monopoly or even trying to acquire a dominant market position. Few, if any, western enterprises would even consider such a code of ethics.


     Equality of all employees with regard to human rights issues must be dealt with fairly, quickly and equitably to the satisfaction of all concerned.

     The Code of Ethics once articulated and agreed upon by the owner and/or board of directors must be made available to all employees, Seminars to department hands must be held to disseminate the contents of the document by a cascading process regionally, countrywide, and internationally.

     Likewise, a competent, responsible employee in each outlet must administer the code.

     There is a need to articulate ethical practices and there can be no sound management if they are not vigorously exercised.

     Serving others is a noble profession and can be practised in a dignified fashion with sound ethical principles to reap the benefits of growth and prosperity.

Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu


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