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The SIETAR USA Living Code of Ethical Behavior Has been Updated!

27 Jul 2021 5:51 PM | Emily Kawasaki (Administrator)

At the instigation of Cheryl Woehr, the SIETAR USA Professional Development Director, the group assigned to do the task has completed its first revision, revised the revision, tweaked it some more and are ready to get feedback from the membership. Under the supervision of the Ethics Committee Chair Kurt Nemes, the Ethics Committee: Alan Richter, Cheryl Woehr, Bettina Byrd-Giles, Luby Ismail, and Sandy Fowler took a hard look at the Living Code (called that because it is expected to grow and change with the times). They used a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lens to ensure that DEI was represented in the items, the sentiment, and the language. The group also took into consideration the ethical codes from other organizations such as SIETAR Poland.

The code was streamlined and made more readable. A process has been added for transparency regarding complaints of ethical misbehavior. This living document is something to be proud of by every SIETAR USA member. Not all similar professional associations of SIETAR USA’s size have such important statements underlying our work as Intercultural and DEI practitioners.

The revised Code was sent to a group of reviewers and their suggestions were discussed and integrated. Following feedback from a session at the Omaha conference in which the revised Ethical Code will be presented and discussed, the Code will be published in The Interculturalist: A Periodical of SIETAR USA requesting feedback from the entire membership within a time limit. The final version will be published when all responses are reviewed and changes made as determined by the Ethics Committee.

The group found that some items in the revised code were easily accepted without question. However, others generated lively debate. During the conference session participants will be invited to contribute to some of the more challenging discussions the committee had regarding controversial items within the Code, such as:

I will speak up if I witness unethical behavior and intervene if safe to do so. Have you ever encountered a situation in the course of your work where you feel it would be important to speak up? Did you speak up? If yes: What happened? If no: What might have happened? What are the barriers to speaking up that you and others face? How might you and others overcome them?

I will withdraw from a project when I believe that the organization with which I am engaged behaves in an unprofessional/unethical manner. How are organizations that engage in unprofessional/unethical behavior going to improve if no one helps them?  What are alternatives to withdrawal? Have you ever been in a situation where you thought the organization was engaged in unethical behavior? How did you handle it? What were the lessons learned? What kinds of organizations might you never work for, if any? And why?

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