Culture and Ethics

The Board sets the tone for ethical and responsible decision-making throughout the organisation. Codes of conduct are one way of agreeing to setting out expected standards of behaviour and ethical conduct.

The board and its members have a leading role in promoting a healthy culture for the organisation they serve. Culture included shared values, norms practices and core beliefs which shape ‘the way we do things around here.’

The actions, conduct and behaviour of the Board, as the head of the organisation, will influence its culture and its reputation. Not for profit organisations usually start with a good reputation, after all they are acting for the benefit and interests of others.

Reputations are based on perceptions and opinions that people have, based on past behaviour or character.  Boards are ultimately responsible for the development and enhancement of the organisation’s reputation.

Board conduct and ability affects the organisation’s reputation, whether it delivers on its purpose, staff morale, ability to attract and retain staff and volunteers, level of risk taking, and potential exposure to legal or regulatory action against it.

Codes of conduct are one way boards set out expected standards of behaviour and ethical conduct for their members.

Often desirable and expected behaviour is unwritten and includes:

  • Reading board related documents before the meeting.
  • Arriving on time and staying until the end of meetings.
  • Not monopolizing discussion or talking over others.
  • Responding to emails and other board communication.
  • Giving each board member the opportunity to speak.
  • Asking questions is not discouraged or belittled.
  • Board issues are dealt with in the board room meeting and not in private conversations.





Migrant settlement network 2019

Kaupapa Māori Governance

For more information about Kāupapa Maori Governance refer back to extra Dimensions for Māori Organisations about Governance in the Introduction section. Plus the following document gives interviews and views on Kāupapa Maori Governance


Drawing up a code of ethics

 Patrick Moriarty’s tips on creating a healthy organisational culture – Institute of Community Directors Australia executive director and head trainer Patrick Moriarty explains how to spot if your organisational culture is turning sour, and how to turn things around.

 Institute of Community Directors Australia – People talking about organisational culture

 SportTutor learning platform’s New Governance 101 course has a module

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