158). These five life cycles are described further in Table 1 below.
Five Life Cycle Model for Reviewing and Improving Ethics Programs in NPO Consultancies
Life Cycle Stage
This stage is primarily concerned with identifying the goals and the means. Key components of this stage are identifying needs and intended uses for outcomes assessment results, identifying key audiences and obtaining their support, shifting modes of thinking from input measures to output measures, reexamining the mission and goals/objectives of ethics training, and developing a general mission for the outcomes assessment effort. This stage also includes the identification of one individual or group who is responsible for managing the assessment.
This stage focuses more closely on the execution of the assessment effort. Who initiated the effort? Who is interested in the results? What will be assessed? How will the assessment be carried out? Cooperation and support so essential to a successful assessment effort are jeopardized if interested and affected parties are not included in the assessment process.
This stage is essential to the development of formal assessment procedures, such as setting the time schedule for the outcomes assessment effort, selection of appropriate assessment instruments, and collection and analysis of data. If the results are to be persuasive, it is important to have agreement and discussion when these design decisions are made.
This stage emphasizes the dissemination and incorporation of assessment results into the decision-making process in the ethics training program. This stage is critical to establishing the link between outcomes assessment of ethics training data as a reflection of program (and particular module) quality. It is important at this stage to make sure that all recipients of the data have the knowledge required to successfully interpret the results.
Renewal or decline
The final stage is highly dependent on the use and evaluation of the outcomes assessment results in the elaboration stage. Renewal or decline depends on if and how the feedback is used. Renewal typically is accompanied by a redesigning and streamlining of the ethics training efforts. Decline suggests that experiential ethics training will probably disappear and that external demands for ethics training may be perfunctorily satisfied with rule-based drills on topics such as mastering the organization's code of ethics.
Source: Sims, 1999, p. 159.
This general framework will be used in administering the overall improvement plan for the NPO consultancy following the steps described further below.
Frequency of plan review for improvement. Periodic review of the NPO consultancy's code of ethics is an essential element in ensuring it remains timely and effective and for identifying opportunities for improvement. For instance, according to Myers (2003), "Regular refresher courses are important because ethics training is perishable -- people forget" (p. 28). Likewise, Sims (1999) emphasizes that, "Assessment of ethics training efforts is not complete without a follow-up plan for its improvement" (p. 160). Therefore, the noncompliance investigation team will provide a report of violations of the firm's ethical standards and practices to the chief executive officer each month as well as immediately, depending on the severity and type of violation involved.
Responsibilities for determining changes to the policy.
It will be the responsibility of the chief executive officer to determine when and what changes are required to the firm's ethical standards and practices, but the above-described noncompliance investigating team may provide recommendations for the purpose based on the results of the trended data concerning types and severity of violations.
Criteria to be used to determine the areas that require improvement.
Based on the trended and weighted results provided by the noncompliance investigating team, problem areas will be identified and specialized or refresher training will be provided to the individual(s) responsible for violations. In addition, individual counseling may be required.
Techniques for communicating changes/improvements to employees.
The noncompliance investigating team will draft a memorandum each month for the chief executive officer's review and signature indicating recent trends in violations of the firm's ethical standards and practices and what steps have been taken to resolve them, including training scheduled, reminders to staff and other remedial actions taken.
Kelly, K.S. (1998). Effective fund-raising management. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Myers, R. (2003). Ensuring ethical effectiveness: New rules mean virtually every company will need a code of ethics. Journal of Accountancy, 195(2), 28-29.