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Putting Ethics First: My Experience Working in Nokia

By Amit Goel, SMPBL-10

Nokia, where I have worked for the last 18 years, is one the most ethical companies in the world. It is a seven-time winner of Ethisphere awards which honours the world’s most ethical companies. Being ethical in a corporate environment is not an easy feat to achieve. For us at Nokia, it’s a way of life and is drilled down from top to bottom within the organisation – something that cuts across all verticals and levels.

Ethics and integrity matter for us in our day-to-day work and have been embedded in our lives as someone associated with Nokia. We are committed to business integrity through robust programs and practices, which not only serve customers but also improve our long-term performance and association with them. Ethical compliances are a part of the DNA of the company.

A great example of Nokia’s commitment to ethical business practices are the annual mandatory compliance and training programs undertaken by the firm for all its employees – approximately 80,000 worldwide. Considering the global nature of the company, these are conducted in more than 10 languages to ensure absorption across the board. This is also run as an individual certification program each year for all the existing manpower.

There is an emphasis on dedication to integrity, accountability, governance, and community. There is a strong adherence to ethical principles in all aspects of product development, life cycle management, customer communication and marketing. It involves maintaining a high standard of product definitions, measurements, and customer KPIs, which are well-defined and measured throughout the product lifecycle.

Some of the key probity principles underlined in product management as exercised within the company are:

  1. 1. Accountability: New Product decisions are based on customer needs (immediate/ future forecasted), market dynamics and upcoming new technology. The Product Manager is held responsible for all their respective product decisions and actions. It is then encouraged that if mistakes or issues arise, then they should be acknowledged, corrective measures taken and learning from the experience should follow.
  2. 2. Transparency: One of the key pillars during the product sales is transparency. The product management team is expected, as a rule, to be transparent in their communication or marketing with the regional customer team and customers. This includes providing accurate and truthful information about the Nokia product, its features, and challenges or limitations (if any).
  3. 3. Integrity: Holding a strong sense of integrity by the Product Management team is encouraged and expected by making decisions based on the best interests of the customers, the company, and other stakeholders. It is discouraged to engage in deceptive practices, falsifying a customer, replicating competition, or making promises that cannot be fulfilled by the product now or in the future.
  4. 4. Customer-centricity: Customer expectations and the value our products can deliver have always been prioritised over short-term gains. If the products do not pass the stringent product test and quality requirements, the situations are openly discussed with customers. In line with the virtues of the organisation, we must always avoid practices that might harm customers or compromise their trust.
  5. 5. Compliance: Compliance is the backbone for all product development. It is imperative to ensure that the product and its development processes comply with all legal and regulatory requirements in different geographies. Specific issues in each region are handled on a case-by-case basis – such issues may range from concerns related to data privacy, safety standards, and any industry-specific regulations etc.
  6. 6. Confidentiality: Confidentiality and compliance go hand in hand. While handling customer data or developing customer products, it is crucial to protect sensitive information. That includes maintaining confidentiality about proprietary information and not disclosing confidential details to unauthorized individuals. Within the company, all documents are classified according to the nature of the information, for example, public, internal use, confidential or secret.
  7. 7. Ethical Design: All product decisions are made to ensure that the product is designed ethically, considering potential social and environmental impacts.
  8. 8. Learning: Last but not the least, continuous learning is encouraged to stay well informed about ethical considerations in product management and there is always a lookout on how to improve ethical practices.

Via the above, small, and fundamental but indispensable ways of working, the company has built trust with customers, stakeholders, and team members; thus, fostering a positive reputation for the company and its products.

At Nokia, we create technology that helps the world act together. While accelerating into the next phase of the company’s sustained long-term growth strategy, we are looking at bringing together customer and partner ecosystems with a focus on unleashing the exponential potential of networks. However, one thing that remains constant is the strong culture of integrity, which is at the foundation of everything we do.

The author is a well-known industry expert with two decades of experience in the telecommunication community with wide expertise from Product Management to Technical Support to Service Delivery and has been working with Nokia Networks for the past 18 years and currently is a key member of the Global Product Management team. He can be reached at

AUTHOR: admin
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