Professional Certificates and The Ethical Aspects

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As Project, Program and Portfolio Managers we are looking for ways to increase and validate our personal value to the organizations and clients we serve. One way to achieve this is by acquiring additional professional certifications or credentials that match the milestones in our career with the experience gained, competencies acquired and accomplishments achieved.   

Earning professional designations  not only strengthens the profession, it demonstrates initiative,  is leading by example to others  such as our stakeholders, team members and colleagues the importance of professional development for our professional credibility.    


This makes the stakes high for the hard work, demonstrated competencies and commitment to achieve these credentials.  Obviously, not all of the institutions regulating and offering these professional designations adhere to the same standards. 

The requirements,  credibility and proven  reputation of the varying organizations who award these impact the value of the credential,  The awarding organization and the practitioner  both bear the responsibility for its value  In this article, I will address the ethical role of the organizations that grant professional certificates, the role of the applicants for such certificate, and what is expected from them before and after obtaining it, ethically.


 First, let's start by the role of the organizations that grant the certificates and among these organizations, there are some that have global acceptance and a reputation gained only by following a professional code of conduct and  technical rules and also because of the mutual trust between them and the professional community. We find that successful organizations are mainly based on the four ethical values we have in the PMI's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, which are honesty, responsibility, respect and fairness.


These organizations have entrusted themselves with the responsibility of graduating graduates of high efficiency through the issuance of valuable knowledge guides in which a great number of volunteers have participate , working through a specific methodology so that they would be able to issue a certificate of great value in the labor market. These organizations have extended their full respect for the community with honesty, responsibility and fairness. They also have required their members and those who wish to obtain such professional certificates to agree to and adhere to these values of a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.  .


Therefore, and generally, they have gained the acceptance of the profession, they are serving. At the same time, there were other organizations that did not adhere nor obligated their members to follow such ethical values, which led to the collapse of these professional societies and therefore did not become credible even if their scientific content was good or acceptable.


Second, as for the applicants to obtain such professional certificates, their lack of commitment to honesty in providing their papers and experience for the certificate is a violation. There are several applicants who may have provided false information to obtain the approval of such organizations to enter the test. if they succeeded in deceiving these organizations for some time, they will be in the eyes of their colleagues, with no credibility because their colleagues know how they were able to deceive these organizations to get access to the test. However, It is difficult to pass the tests if they do not already have the experience required for such field. So, there will be another station to evaluate their ability to pass the test. Therefore, the applicant must choose the certificate which truly commensurate with his experience and abilities.


Thirdly, we may find the holders of the professional certificate, although they have obtained the certificate and have totally agreed to follow such ethical values associated with it. While we find that the clear majority apply these rules, but there are some who may not follow these rules and mislead the community by conducting such immoral acts. We conclude that the social culture may affect the certificate holders to make decisions that may conflict with the ethical values that they already have agreed to, and this leads to the loss of the profession  which they work in. and then it raises some questions to the professional organization that gave them this certificate.


Therefore, we conclude that adherence to rules and ethical values in the field of professional certificates is the main basis that leads to the success of organizations and the individual and society in general.  







Posted by Mohamed Hassan on: April 15, 2018 07:15 AM | Permalink

Comments (11)

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Thanks Mohamed for an intriguing look into certification ethics. Those applying for certifications should take the process seriously.

Credibility of certifying organization and the individual attaining the certification depends on the value it deliver to it's target market. Someone may pull off by stating fake qualification or experience but most of the time he/she will get stuck in the exam or in real life project where the situation really requires that hard earned knowledge and experience to be successful. Moreover, I think it's better not to have certain certification than to have guilt and fear to be caught or exposed.
Thanks Hassan for an interesting read.

Great article amd insights. I agree, it is both ways the organization and the candidates themselves.

Thanks for the article. Absolutely, there is a professional and social responsibility when applying for, completing, and holding credentials. As a holder, the individual is representing all others who hold the same as well as the institution.

Same goes for ones organization, university, team, etc. we should all strive for a personal and professional code of ethics

Thanks Andrew, Rami, Najam and Sante for your kind comments. I just want in this blog to touch a very important point that effects our career, organizations, and society in general.
Ethics values can keep the professional certificate valuable and strong and without ethics values has no value or meaning.
Thanks again

Ethics is a very important topic. During my career I have seen several occasions where people say "oh yes, of course I obey the code of conduct/ethic codex" and a minute later they kick over board to close a deal, get a promotion or a certification etc... Especially when I look at CVs of people who are in their mid 20ies and have experience and credentials or certifications listed which would need a lifetime to get even halfway there...

Great piece of advise, Thanks for sharing!

Thanks, ethics definitely plays a role in certification on both sides.

Thanks, Mohamed for this great piece; ethics is key to any profession, and certification doesn't carry value without ethics

Great blog post, Mohamed!
I especially liked the direct way you took on a reallys serious issue in all professions: lying on resumes or in application for certifications. Such behaviour really erodes trust, and indeed depreciates any certification in the eyes of stakeholders.
I hope you will continue contributing to enrich our PM community..
Meanwhile, keep smiling, keep shining, and keep leading!

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