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SIOP Executive Board Passes Guidelines for Professional Behavior


by Stephany Schings Below


The SIOP Executive Board has taken a step to ensure the spirited debate and dialogue that has become a hallmark of SIOP continues to prosper. The Board recently passed a Statement and Guidelines on Professional Behavior Within SIOP, the first such statement for the Society.

To read the complete Statement and Guidelines on Professional Behavior Within SIOP, click here.


The creation of a guideline policy began about a year agoas a bullying statement and involved research and interviews related to behaviors that might discourage open dialogue and debate within SIOP. 
“We established this policy for several reasons,” explained SIOP President Adrienne Colella. “First, such a policy is part of good HR practice. Second, there was previously no procedure for SIOP members to express complaints about how they had been treated by another member and no set of guidelines for how SIOP should respond. Finally, although rare, there have been complaints over the years of SIOP members and staff being treated in an uncivil manner. These guidelines were not developed to squash spirited, energetic, healthy debate among members!”
The policy, which is now a part of SIOP’s Administrative Manual, states that SIOP members and SIOP conference attendees are expected to treat each other, SIOP staff and others in a professional manner and behave professionally while conducting or engaging in SIOP business or participating in SIOP activities.
Specific behaviors prohibited in the policy include bullying, verbal intimidation, property damage, and profanity toward others.  (A complete list of prohibited behavior along with procedures for complaints and prospective disciplinary actions can be found in the full document here.)
“These types of behaviors have increased in society in general,” explained SIOP Membership Services Officer Lise Saari, who was instrumental in drafting the policy. “The research shows that such behaviors have harmful effects on individuals as well as organizations. Thus, there has been greater focus—such as zero tolerance policies—on such behaviors. Fortunately, such negative behaviors are a rarity within SIOP, but no organization is immune. Given the growth of SIOP and broader societal trends, SIOP members could benefit from a statement and guidelines on professional behavior. Research has shown that if such negative behaviors are not addressed, they tend to escalate and expand.”
Saari and Colella stressed that the policy is meant to protect the spirited discussions and debates that have become a positive aspect of SIOP’s events and publications.
“As a professional society, SIOP fully supports our members having spirited discussions, differing viewpoints, and scientific debates,” Saari said. “SIOP has formal debates at the conferences, and the Industrial-Organizational Psychology journal specifically encourages disagreements. These types of interactions are important and necessary for advancing the science and practice of industrial-organizational psychology. They are also are the hallmark of a scientifically based profession.”
In order to ensure those types of productive dialogue and debate continue within SIOP, Saari explained that the Board wanted to help ensure SIOP was free from behaviors that might discourage others from participating in the Society.
“We pride ourselves in treating each other with respect and professionalism,” Saari said. “Thus, behaviors such as interpersonal intimidation, incivility, and bullying are not in keeping with the spirit of our profession.”
Colella explained that the overall message of the policy is that it is not okay to engage in unprofessional, bullying behavior.
“The benefit is that there are now a set of guidelines for members to follow and for the SIOP Executive Board to follow when such complaints arise,” she added. “This policy promotes our value of professionalism.”