AT&T Inc. Code of Ethical Conduct and the Telecommunications Industry
Over centuries, one of the most challenging circumstances for pronounced businesses has been on the "management of global organizations." Many companies have recognized these challenges and relate them to the creation of long-term sustainability developments. Companies also relate the challenges to market growths, technological advancements, resource utilization, as well as human rights and resource management. Their basic assumptions and experiences have centered on the increment of their competitiveness and attractiveness, through integration of sustainability efforts in order to construct a firm base for best financial outcomes. Several researches conducted by economic analysts reveal that such challenges are majorly triggered by unethical business practices, taut competition among businesses, and failure in embracement of technological advancements. This paper closely analyses the AT&T's code of ethical conduct as one of the strategies put forth to help deal with the existing global challenges, as well as unethical business practices, which could otherwise result into the business' failure. In close relations, it also compares the organization's code of ethical conduct to other two allied companies within the industry of telecommunications.
AT&T Inc. is an American cosmopolitan telecommunications conglomerate, headquartered at downtown Dallas- Texas (Victor, 2009). It is the largest benefactor of both fixed telephony and mobile telephony in America. AT&T is a holding company (Sonny, 1981), and a benefactor of telecommunication services within the United States, and the rest of the world. Its services include local exchange services, wireless communications, internet and data/broadband services, long-distance communication services, telecommunication equipment, video services, wholesale services and managed networking. AT&T Inc. operates in four subdivisions: Wire-line, Wireless, Advertising Solutions, and Other. The Wireless subsidiary offers both data communications and wireless voice services across the U.S., and through the roaming agreements with an extensive number of foreign nations. On the other hand, the Wire-line subsidiary primarily provides data communication and landline voice services, high speed voice and broadband services (U-verse), AT&T U-verse TV and managed networking services to business' customers (Sonny, 1981). Moreover, the Advertising solutions subsidiary are responsible for internet-based advertising, publishing the White and Yellow Pages directories, sells directory advertisements, and performs local researches. The other segment of AT&T encompasses operator services (customers' information services), corporate, as well as other operations. For more information, AT&T recently in December 2013, announced its transaction closure in order to lease rights to about nine thousand of its wireless towers to CCIC (crown castle international corporation), and sold approximately six thousand AT&T towers (Sonny, 1981).
In conformity with the New York stock exchange, plus the Securities and Exchange Commission, the AT&T's Board of Directors together with its subsidiaries has adopted a code of ethical conduct. This code purposes to: (i) encourage honesty and ethical conduct, as well as fair handling and dealing with conflicts of interest, (ii) encourage compliance with related laws, governmental regulations and rules, (ii) embolden fair, full, timely, understandable, and accurate disclosure, (iii) discourage wrong doing, and (iv) safeguard the protection of the company's sincere business interest, together with assets, confidential information, and corporate opportunities. All the corporation's employees, officers, alongside the directors have an obligation of being acquainted with the Code, and adhering to its procedures and principles set forth within the Code.
The most pronounced and essential set of issues tackled within the code include (i) honest and ethical conduct, (ii) conflicts of interest, and (iii) reporting and accountability.
First, the "honest and ethical conduct" issue outlines that every employee, officer, and director owe the company a duty or responsibility to act honestly and ethically in order to achieve the anticipated integrity. This integrity majorly necessitates, among other basic acts, being ethical and honest. It involves the ethical handling of apparent or actual conflicts of interest concerning professional and personal relationships. Here, the subservience and deceitfulness of the principles are inconsistent with the integrity. Every employee, officer, and director must act with lots of integrity, including being ethical and honest while upholding the information confidentiality where necessary, and in consistency with policies of the company.
Second, a conflict of interest may arise whenever an individual's personal interest interrupts or appears to interrupt the company's set of interests. It may arise when an employee, officer or director takes actions in favor of their personal interest. This makes it extremely difficult to perform their company objectives in an effective manner. For instance, a conflict of interest may arise if one of the above entities or their family member receives an improper or un-proportional benefit resulting from the company's transactions or profitable performances. Other companies' interests, including suppliers and potential competitors, which purely purposes for investment are not essential to individual and exclude management involvement of other entities, or wherever a questionable relationship is unveiled to the Board followed by a possible and necessary action that ensures no effect on AT&T, are never regarded as conflicts unless otherwise confirmed by the Board.
Third is the reporting and accountability where the Audit Committee holds the powers to interpret the code in any indispensable situation. Any employee, director, or officer who receives any information about the violation of the company's code of ethics confronts the obligation of promptly notifying the Code of Ethics Contacts. Any personal discontent regarding the interpretation or application of the AT&T policies should be reported to the Code of Ethics Contact or the Legal Department. The Code of Ethics Contact or the Legal Department, through Section II of the company's code, has the obligation to discuss any issue relating to AT&T's transactions (Sonny, 1981), as well as inter-personal relationships that may give rise to conflict of interest. Every employee, director or officermust not retaliate against other employees, officers, or directors for reporting a potential violation. They must make appropriate notifications to the code of ethics contact about any potential or existing violation of the company's code.
In the other dimensions, L-3 Communications and Verizon Communications are some of the related companies within the industry of telecommunications, which share may share similar issues contained within the codes of ethics. Verizon Communications is a U.S. telecommunications and broadband company (Leyden, 2009), and a corporate constituent of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, with its headquarters in the New York City- 1095 Avenue. According to Jefferson (2011), L-3 is also an American holding company, which supplies intelligence and surveillance services, command and control, communications, reconnaissance products and systems, ocean products, avionics, instrumentation, space and navigation products, and training devices and services.
Through its profound code ethical conduct, L-3 Communications' commitment to integrity, honesty, accountability, and respect has earned it a great name as one of the defense and aerospace contractors worldwide (Jefferson, 2011). The company's code applies to every individual who operates a business on behalf of L-3 Communications, including Board members, officers, and employees. Abidance by the code is obligatory due to its essentiality to the company's success. Whoever deliberately fails to report any violation, directly involves in a violation, or goes against the authority may be a subject to disciplinary actions. Additionally, all the company's shareholders believe in acting towards the best interests of the company (Jefferson, 2011). This is majorly to eradicate the occurrence of conflicts of interest. Failure to address this issue would result into conflicts of interest, which are commonly not fit for the success of a company or any other organization.
Leyden (2009) elicits that the Verizon Communications' code of conduct requires all its employees, officers and directors to use their fair judgments in order to establish accountability in their actions, and conduct business with a lot of integrity. Issues relating to complaints and reports must be kept confidential to a permitted extent by law. This is until the company's committee of ethical conduct properly investigates into the issue; however this strategy is so delicate to the extent that a simple delay in situation investigation may result to a serious violation of the code principles (Leyden, 2009). Maintenance of fairness and integrity within the workplace is the company's strategy towards avoiding conflicts of interest. Verizon's reputation entirely depends firmly on the integrity and actions by its employees. Everyone must make a sound, objective oriented, and impartial decisions on the company's behalf. In order to ensure that an individual's actions are in favor of the company's interest, every participant must disclose any actual or potential conflict, which may result into conflicts of interest, to the Compliance Guidelines (Leyden, 2009).
With the aim of ensuring that its code of conduct remains intact and relevant throughout the fluctuating years of economic, social, political, technological and cultural forces on the business, AT&T's daily interactions begin and end with integrity and honesty. The company's employees, directors, and officials hold themselves to high standards of ethical behaviors. According to Sonny (1981), the company's customers, shareholders, communities, public authorities, as well as the suppliers are thereby able to trust its performance and whichever information it supplies. In order to manage its environmental issues, all the company's directors, officers and directors have an obligation to bring divergent viewpoints…