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4 Examples of an Honor System

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An honor system is a rule that isn't enforced by controls such as supervision. People are expected to follow the rule due to their personal sense of honesty, integrity and/or loyalty to a nation, culture, organization, institution or social group. An honor system communicates that people are trusted and can lead to a positive culture. The following are illustrative examples.


Payment for products and services that isn't enforced by supervision. For example, in some countries it is common to find unattended fruit stands in the countryside whereby customers leave payment in a box or container.


Schools that explain to students that they are trusted to live up to a code of honor. This trust is demonstrated with techniques such as unsupervised tests or giving students responsibilities they are trusted to perform. Violations of the code may be taken quite seriously, even amongst the students themselves.


An organization that establishes a set of norms and expectations that are largely self or socially enforced as opposed to enforced by authority and controls. Such trust may allow for creativity, productivity and engagement.


Customer service policies such as the customer is always right that take customers at their word. For example, an ecommerce company that never challenges a customer's stated reasons for returning an item.
Overview: Honor System
A rule that isn't enforced by authority or controls.
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