How to put together a code of ethics in a sporting environment

Fitness & Sport Management Blog

A code of ethics is a formal document outlining the standards and values that a sporting organisation intends to abide by. The code of ethics provides an indication of the type of behaviour that:

  • Employees in the sporting organisation are expected to follow when carrying out the operation of the organisation.
  • Customers and other sporting organisations can expect when dealing with the organisation.

Examples of topics that are usually addressed by codes of conduct are:

  • Preferred style of dress
  • Avoiding illegal drugs
  • Following instructions of superiors
  • Being reliable and prompt
  • Maintaining confidentiality
  • Not accepting personal gifts from stakeholders
  • Avoiding racial or sexual discrimination
  • Avoiding conflict of interest
  • Complying with laws and regulations
  • Not using the business’ property for personal use
  • Not discriminating against race or age or sexual orientation
  • Reporting illegal or questionable activity

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The importance of values in the sporting organisation

Values are important to the study of organisational behaviour because they lay the foundation for the comprehension of attitudes and motivation as well as because they influence our perceptions, our attitudes and behaviour. If our values are not aligned to the prevailing culture within the sporting organisation we can experience job dissatisfaction and lack of motivation.

When staff buys into and pursue the mission of the sporting organisation, their behaviours and practices will reflect the values of the organisation. Let us say that the stated values of the organisation are also respect, fairness and excellence. Then staff behaviour will be characterised by:

Respect for others:

  • Acknowledgement of cultural, gender and occupational differences
  • Professional and ethical behaviour
  • Consultation with staff on issues which have an impact on their work or career
  • Treating others at all time with dignity


  • Consistent and fair treatment of staff in similar circumstances
  • Clear and consistent application of merit principles in recruitment and advancement
  • The belief that everyone has a right to be heard


  • Excellence is rewarded
  • Staff are encouraged to learn and to develop
  • Success is affirmed and celebrated
  • Staff are encouraged to provide high-quality service and to achieve continuous improvement

When sporting organisations set values, they do so based on the ethics that they hold to be important. The values of a sporting organisation are used to indicate the manner of conduct:

  • Necessitated by employees when carrying out the operations of the sporting organisation
  • Those customers can expect from the organisation

Organisational values often cover the following areas:

  • Compliance with legislation
  • Employment of staff
  • Customer service
  • Receiving gifts from suppliers and customers
  • Giving gifts to customers
  • Discrimination in the workplace employee integrity
  • Employee privacy
  • Quality standards of products and services.

Abiding by a sporting organisation’s policies is a phenomenal way to show integrity. Cutting corners – as well as neglecting to follow workplace regulations – can lead to mistakes, problems in addition to even dangerous situations. Your readiness to properly record financial transactions, safely dispense of hazardous or toxic materials, follow the sporting organisation’s protocol for dealing with clients, perform clean-up or set-up procedures as well as properly maintaining equipment shows others that you’re not just looking for the easy way out. Setting yourself up as a trustworthy worker – who submits to company policies – shows the head of the sporting organisation and co-workers that you’ll carry out your duties.

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