Most companies have corporate policies relating to subjects such as business principles such as ethics, racial discrimination and whistle-blowing. Nestlé offers some good examples and there is a list of categories for these policies on Wikipedia. Very rarely is there a policy towards managing information as a corporate asset. Set out below is a suggestion for a set of information ethics. It was originally developed for a presentation to a major pharmaceutical company. Each commitment was presented on its own, and all the senior managers accepted that they could support the commitment. At the end of the presentation all the commitments were presented together, and then there was less enthusiasm as they appreciated the resources required to meet these commitments.
The eight commitments state that employees in the organisation can:
1. Find the internal and external information they need to make effective business decisions that reduce corporate risk, enhance the achievement of strategic and operational objectives and enable them to develop their careers
2. Trust that information they find to be the best and most current available
3. Publish information so that it can be used by other employees both as quickly as is appropriate.
4. Locate and take advantage of the expertise and experience of other employees
5. Link to internal and external social and business networks
6. Be confident that the roles and responsibilities of their manager include ensuring that their information requirements are recognised and addressed appropriately
7. Be assured that the organisation complies with all legal and regulatory requirements for the retention, use and transmission of information
8. Take advantage of training in how to be effective users and managers of information resources
Although all are equally important perhaps #6 needs to be highlighted. In job evaluations it is very uncommon for there to be an opportunity for an employee to discuss with their manager as to whether they are overloaded with information, do not have all the information they need to deliver on their responsibilities or have doubts about the quality of the information they are presented with.