Ethics and Professional Framework

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Even though the business world is becoming global, many organizations do not offer international Learning and Development. Dowling et al (2012) report that ‘a small proportion of European organizations provide a cross-cultural training to expatriates, and only around half offer briefings for potentially problematic international placements.’ Brownell (2006); Swart et al (2007) says that ‘many of the skills required for the international arena are generic but intercultural skills (cultural sensitivity, cultural intelligence and a global mindset) are critical to the international context’. Global mindset is the capability to connect and work within diverse cultures, to cope with uncertainty and global complexity.

Complexity comprises environmental concerns that vary widely from one region or country, such as the economic, social, political, religious and legal influences. Working globally entails an improvement of political skills and the capability to build up and endure relationships and networks McDonnell and Collings (2011).

As with other programmes of management development,

  • one needs to assess what global leaders do that differentiate their work from that of domestic managers
  • identify the behaviors associated with the roles in order to determine behaviorally linked competencies

According to Pinnington et al (2014), development openings for global leaders include:

  • international assignments
  • membership of international/global teams
  • travel overseas
  • action learning
  • attendance at international meeting and forums
  • L&D focused on international issues

The development needs of expatriates and their families are very important and different from those of global leaders. They act as representatives for knowledge transfer across geographical borders and many organizations rely on pre-departure training programmes which includes Pinnington et al (2014).

  • ‘Expatriates training tailored to individuals and their destination
  • Short – term overseas assignments
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Assessment centres
  • Personal security (health and safety, terrorist threats)’
  • E-learning
  • International job rotation.

Managing knowledge

Employees are recruited because of their ability to apply knowledge through their experience and skills development. This makes it necessary for organizations to know how to identify, harness, manipulate and incorporate into its structures and norms. Knowledge is either Explicit or Tacit. Explicit knowledge can be accessed since its expressed in written materials and is easily transferable from one person to another.

Tacit knowledge is normally known as ‘know how’ and is attained through experience, making it difficult to specify, quantify, capture and transfer. Tacit knowledge is critical to competitive advantage and can create high performance and is unique to individuals within specific organizations. Swart (2007) describes knowledge workers as ‘employees who apply their valuable knowledge and skills (developed through experience) to complex, novel and abstract problems in environments that provide rich collective knowledge and relational resources’. Further, she proposes that knowledge workers are found in vigorous, swift, unsteady environments, with new structures, dealing with unclear client demands, compared with more traditional, slow-growing organizations.

Assessing global leadership competencies

Assessing and measuring leadership competencies effectively is key to organizations operating in a global environment. Most of the tools used are questionnaires tests used to measure personality or attitudinal competency components with limited research on their criterion-related validity Bird and Stevens (2013). However, though more exploration is needed, on the assessment centres approach, it is proved to be the ‘best practice’ measurement tool because it assesses all the competency components – job specifics, behaviors and skills as well as personality and attitudinal dimensions of global leadership competencies Povah and Thornton (2011).

Generally, performance management, competency-based selection and leadership development programmes are known for their ability to enhance firm-specific expertise and skills as well as being adopted widely by HR professionals and those concerned with global leadership assessment and development Bird (2013); Brownell (2006).

It is challenging to identify global leadership competencies such as aptitudes, personal characteristics, knowledge and skills needed for success in global leadership positions Brake (1997); Felicio, Caldeirinha, and Rodrigues (2012).

It is important to use a separate competency framework for talent management of global leaders from that of global managers which measures different competencies related to global leadership skills in reading and responding appropriately to cross-section cues, norms and working in a diversity of cultural contexts to influence others to attain organizational goals. Identification and assessment of leaders’ competencies for development is essential. Difficult assessment of these competencies serves as the foundation of effective talent management practices for global leaders Conger and O’Neill (2012).

Effective assessment practices are essential for the selection and identification of current and potential global leadership talent like for succession and career planning purposes. It is also critical for the development and retention of global leadership talent which require a well-informed and deliberate commitment to organizational resources.

Ethical and professional frameworks and codes of practice

Professional ethics are doctrines that manage the behaviour of a person in a corporate environment. Like values, they offer a set of rules on or how a person group should act towards other people and business in such an environment. Ethics enlighten the important ground rules by which we live our lives and are directly linked to the values such as (respect, honesty, fairness, compassion, responsibility etc) which direct us how we believe and should behave.

Codes of conduct and ethics set out the important standards to guide performance. They help ensure the business is effective, open and responsible. Managing ethics in the workplace involves identifying and prioritising values to guide behaviours in the business. This is achievable through the development of codes of ethics and conduct and related policies and procedures.

Ethical principles may differ subject on the type of profession though there are some ethical principles that are cross-cutting. Ethics are referred to as a division of moral enquiry that relates to ‘choices made and the actions undertaken by the individual and how these impact on wider society’ McMenemy, Poulter and Burton (2007).

A code of conduct is a clear-cut of expected standards of behaviour and expectations. It specifies actions in the organization, while a code of ethics is a general guide to decisions about those actions.

Ethical and legal issues may overlap. However, the variance is that ethics are imposed by the entity’s own morality, while laws are applied by the powers of the government and its agencies. An example is the work of Liberians which involves offering needed information to different people from various libraries. Access to information is an essential element of a country’s development into a knowledge economy. Library associations show a vital role to activist on the ethical extents of professional matters and to fight for the ethical values that have traditionally guided the profession. Professional codes of ethics symbolize a set of principles for librarians to consider. A library association can develop effective approaches to allow library and information professionals to jointly support and promote society’s values. methods of self-assessment and self-development for management development practitioners;

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Assessment or evaluation can be defined as the action of determining the worth of something and making suitable judgements on issues. Likewise, self-assessment is the capacity to scrutinize yourself to find out how much development you have made.

Ethical and skills needed in Consulting practices

The field of Human Relations training is developing rapidly likewise the increase of human relations consultants and group facilitators, making it more important to reflect what is ethical and not ethical and what may be ethical but imprudent, unprofessional and irresponsible. More concern is with the responsibilities of practical, competent professional consultants. This has been separated in to four areas of thought linking to: -

  • (1) self and colleagues,
  • (2) individual clients,
  • (3) training groups, and
  • (4) organizations.

Self and Colleagues

The major ethical concern for a consultant is the presentation of professional qualifications. The consultant has an ethical responsibility to clear all the implied inaccuracies in regard to his qualifications ones misrepresented or introduced wrongly.

Therefore, it is important for organizers to be careful when presenting their consultants to avoid eroding their confidence. They should always try to balance the representation of their professional competence giving equal weight to both their strengths and limitations.

Consultants ought to request what they are worth of and provide what their client pays for. It is their accountability to ensure that their agreement with the client is clear in terms of professional fee and agreed up expenses.

Consultants are responsible for monitoring their both physical and mental health because they are working with other people. It is immoral for a professional to criticize another professional either to another colleague or to the general public.

Never talk or show a negative non-verbal sign to consultants. Always say what you can in their presence. This way, you will have passed the test.


Never fail to confront the consultant in case you have reservations in their competence or behaviour of another consultant. You should approach the person directly and let him know what unethical behaviour you mean since you are ethically responsible. Normally, consultants cannot stand their effectiveness to be underpinned by somebody else’s incompetence or behaviour. This seems to be a serious problem hence, its best to collude. However, failing to confront when necessary can be irresponsible and ‘not to decide is to decide’. Again, as professionals, we must try to regulate ourselves as bars and medical associations do.

Individual Clients

Individual relationships also have ethical issues. Consultants are obliged to act in a responsible and professional way with those who are relying on their expertise. In case the consultant conducts a training with an aim of evaluating people, the ‘assessment center’ method can be ethical when everyone understands the rule. If he can be requested how a particular individual performed, the only ethical defensible response is to refer the inquirer to openly dialogue with the individual concerned. It is unethical for a consultant to reveal any information without previous clear understanding between him and the individual to the supervisor.


When requested to keep information private, you agree and fail to do so, you behave unethically. Reviewing confidential data is an obvious breach because it can affect the situation. If someone wants to give you confidential information as a consultant, you can say that you do not accept confidential material and explain why. You can explain that you wish to keep the information secret. This makes it easier for the consultant to deal with.


Consultants or any kind of facilitator should never use their role to establish a sexual relationship with their participants because they would be violating the standards of ethical behaviour. The act leaves a consultant in a situation where he cannot distinguish accurately between the personal appeal and his role influence.

The truth is: if you are seriously involved individually with a participant (either sexually or emotionally), you are

  • less able to attend to your professional commitments and
  • less available to be responsive to other participants.

Majority of participants notice if there is a special relationship between the facilitator and a participant. Such a state time and again generates counterproductive energy that is knowledgeable as jealousy and resentment. A real world solution is to take sufficient time of about three to six months before getting involved in a sexual relationship with a participant since this can distract one’s work. Consultants commitment has to be the contract with the client, and anything unethical has to be avoided.

Training Groups

Consultants must explain clearly the training techniques to the participants to avoid surprises. They have to be sensitive to the norms of the setting in which the training takes place and not use techniques that swerve evidently from participants’ behaviour expectations.

When conducting training, consultants must pay attention to its application and content. Participants also must be responsive for its effectiveness.


It’s important for consultants to check the values of an organization before they get engaged for acceptability. Their role is to assist leaders to realize their objectives. They use ‘value free’ techniques to know whether they are ethical. When consultants engage in secret actions which are not linked to the organizational objectives, they become unethical in behaviour. Live example is that when an RRA staff reveal information to a taxpayer regarding measures to be taken against him in regard to fraud beforehand, he acts unethically.

Assessing outcomes

It is important to evaluate interventions to identify the impact of work done and what could be further needed. It is good practice to assess consultants’ work because it is normally affected by either internal or external factors and leadership pressures. The results of their services may not be realized immediately and that’s why their work need to be evaluated to identify improvement difference. It is crucial to get the participants’ improvement feedback as one tool of measurement.


It is unfortunate to know that nowadays human relations training on ethic is not very clear. However, understanding ethics is embedded in words like: Power, sensitivity, responsibility, motivation and caring. Trainers or consultants are in a position of power due to their roles. They should be sensitive because people have high and different expectations and need to be clearly aware of their responsibilities. Facilitators monitor the working environment with openness to gain other people’s trust for exploration given that there is adequate room for group learning to take place.

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Ethics and Professional Framework. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
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