International Association for Conflict Management

Rules and Expectations for Professional Conduct


I. Introduction

A mission of the International Association for Conflict Management (“IACM”) is to foster the exchange of information and ideas about social conflict from all disciplines and throughout the Association. IACM fulfills this mission in part through an obligation to foster a professional environment for its members and others who participate in IACM activities. This commitment benefits our profession, our professional credibility, the well-being of individuals, and the broader communities in which we live and work. IACM affirms its intention to promote opportunities to learn, teach, and conduct research and its expectation that individuals treat others with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency. This includes all interactions within IACM, within academic and professional institutions, and with members of the public.

Consistent with these principles, IACM has established mechanisms to ensure that:

  • Members, staff, and other participants in IACM activities are able to address concerns about unacceptable, inappropriate, or unwelcome behavior;
  • Individuals are able and encouraged to report allegations of unacceptable behavior, such as discrimination, harassment, and assault (including sexual harassment and sexual assault);
  • IACM investigates such allegations expeditiously to determine if they are valid; and
  • If IACM determines that an allegation of unacceptable behavior is valid, IACM will take immediate action to ensure the safety of members and other affected individuals and discipline members, staff, and other participants in IACM activities.


II. Statement of Policy

This policy describes expected behavior of Association stakeholders, with the goal of protecting IACM event participants from harm. “Participants” are any people participating in an IACM event, regardless of registration or membership status, including but not limited to members, staff, and other participants such as non-members, volunteers, contractors, exhibitors, and sponsors in IACM activities (e.g., conferences, private gatherings related to conferences, meetings, publications, editorial activities, honors and recognition activities, and governance events). “Events” include conferences (both organized activities and associated informal activities like going out to dinner), preconferences, meetups, online platforms controlled by IACM, and other activities organized or sponsored by IACM. This code of conduct may also apply to unacceptable behavior that occurs outside of IACM events when such behavior has the potential to create a hostile climate for participants at IACM events.  

IACM welcomes membership and participation in all its activities without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, age, marital status, family/parental status, political beliefs, or socioeconomic status. IACM does not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or assault of Association stakeholders, nor does IACM tolerate retaliation against individuals who report these types of unacceptable behavior. IACM also supports proactive efforts to promote organizational  norms that prevent unacceptable behavior within the Association. IACM reserves the right to take any action necessary to ensure an environment that promotes professional conduct and is free from unacceptable behavior, including the right to suspend, expel, or terminate a member or participant, to remove an individual from the annual conference without warning or refund, and to prohibit membership and attendance at future IACM activities.

This policy encourages any individuals who have experienced or witnessed unacceptable behavior during IACM activities (or behavior elsewhere, which, when viewed objectively could be seriously prejudicial to the Association’s purposes and interests) to report the behavior, and describes how they should make a report so that IACM can investigate and take appropriate action. Because early engagement is effective in preventing or limiting unacceptable behavior, the policy suggests how individuals may address inappropriate or unwelcome behavior on their own, where appropriate, including bystander intervention, and describes the role of the IACM Ombuds, a service that IACM provides to help stakeholders address concerns.


III. Expected Behavior

By being an Association stakeholder, one commits to maintaining respectful and ethical relationships and agrees to exhibit professional conduct during all IACM activities. Expected behavior includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  1. Be considerate, respectful, and collaborative to all stakeholders.
  2. Avoid personal attacks toward any stakeholder or any behavior that could be objectively viewed as disrespectful. 
  3. Utilize appropriate conflict management practices, including interest-based approaches, to address differences.
  4. Respect the rules and policies of the meeting venue, hotel, IACM-contracted facility, or any other venue where IACM activity occurs, or where IACM members are gathered.
  5. Conduct job interviews in appropriate locations where the professionalism and decorum of participants cannot be questioned, for example, in public facilities such as at hotels, classrooms, or convention centers, and not private hotel sleeping rooms, dorm rooms, or other private spaces where professionalism could be called into question. Candidates who are invited to take part in interviews in such private spaces should contact the IACM Ombuds for assistance (see below).
  6. Alert IACM Board Members or Staff if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or any violation of the IACM Rules and Expectations for Professional Conduct.


IV. Unacceptable Behavior

IACM considers the following behaviors to be unacceptable for stakeholders at IACM-related activities:

  1. Harassment, bullying, discrimination, unwelcome contact or assault in any form. These include but are not limited to: deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following; photography or recording without consent; inappropriate physical contact; unwelcome sexual attention; offensive verbal comments directed at an individual related to gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, national origin, or socioeconomic class; threatening or stalking any Association stakeholders; or advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behaviors.
  2.  Any form of retaliation or negative action taken against individuals who report unacceptable behavior or files a complaint per this policy. 

IACM does not tolerate any of these unacceptable behaviors and will review reported allegations of unacceptable behavior (as described below). Those whom IACM determines have engaged in unacceptable behavior are subject to discipline (as described below).


V. Reporting Unacceptable Behavior 

IACM is committed to addressing unacceptable behavior; however, IACM can only address unacceptable behavior when it is made aware and has the opportunity to investigate. IACM encourages those who believe they have experienced or have witnessed unacceptable behavior to report it as soon as possible. Steps to report unacceptable behavior are listed below:

  • If you believe you have experienced or witnessed unacceptable behavior, you may notify any IACM Board member, or email the IACM Ombuds at <>. Your report will be treated as confidential to the extent possible. 
  • Confiding in the IACM Ombuds regarding bullying, harassment, or other behaviors identified in this policy does not constitute an official “Notice” to IACM, meaning that any duty for IACM to take action is not triggered unless/until an IACM Board member receives notice - either directly from the individual, or, with explicit permission, from the IACM Ombuds. Once the IACM Board receives notice of an infraction of policy, the Board will prepare a formal report, which documents information about the incident.
  • If you witness harassment or assault, respond first to the affected person's immediate health and safety needs. Respect the individual’s right to choose to report the incident, or their decision to report or not report. Remember to keep yourself and all involved safe, and to be attentive to and take cues from the person being targeted.


VI. IACM Response to Alleged Unacceptable Behavior and Maintaining a Safe Environment

Upon receipt of a formal report of alleged unacceptable behavior, IACM will take appropriate steps necessary to ensure the safety of those who have experienced unacceptable behavior and to minimize any additional harm to the person or others. IACM will expeditiously investigate alleged unacceptable behavior. 

Once reported to the Board, IACM may proceed as follows:

  • The Board will designate an independent, third-party neutral investigator.
  • The investigator will gather relevant information to determine next steps, including but not limited to interviewing the complainant(s) and respondent(s).
  • After the fact-finding process, the investigator will prepare a summary of findings and deliver a report with recommendations to the Board for further action.

Additional IACM actions may include the following:

  • IACM may ask individuals responsible for alleged unacceptable behavior to cease such behavior and they are expected to comply immediately.
  • IACM may separate individuals to the extent necessary to ensure safety.
  • The IACM Board or security may take any action deemed necessary and appropriate, including immediate removal from the event without warning or refund.
  • IACM reserves the right to prohibit attendance at any future activity or event.
  • IACM reserves the right to prevent, suspend, expel, or terminate IACM membership in accordance with the IACM constitution.
  • IACM protects individuals reporting allegations of unacceptable behavior from retaliation and will similarly investigate allegations of retaliation and take appropriate actions to eliminate retaliatory behavior and discipline members, staff, and other participants as necessary.


VII. Member and Participant Responses to Unwelcome or Inappropriate Behavior

Unwelcome or inappropriate behavior does not always rise to the level of unacceptable behavior, but can be a precursor to such behavior. IACM Association stakeholders can take a number of steps themselves to address unwelcome or inappropriate behavior and resolve concerns informally.


VIII. Role of the IACM Ombuds

IACM provides an Ombuds to assist IACM stakeholders. Ombuds are a widely used conflict management approach throughout academia, private sector organizations, and government and non-governmental agencies and organizations. The identity of those seeking assistance from the Ombuds (known as “visitors”), as well as any communications and information specifically relating to them, is confidential information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the IACM Ombuds shall protect confidential information, and others cannot waive this requirement. The Ombuds may disclose confidential information as necessary if the Ombuds determines that a failure to do so could result in imminent risk of serious harm. The Ombuds remains impartial with respect to the issues raised and people involved, is not part of the formal reporting or investigation process, and functions independently of the IACM Board. Working with the IACM Ombuds is voluntary. The IACM Ombuds does not create documents or records relating to individual visitors or confidential information, but may provide non-confidential information about the ombuds program in any appropriate forum, and assist the IACM Board in identifying issues that may benefit from an association-level response by sharing data, trends, or reports in a manner that protects confidential information.  The Ombuds does not maintain identifiable records long-term.

Specific responsibilities for the IACM Ombuds include:

  1. Be available, if necessary, to consult with a visitor rapidly.
  2. Describe the IACM Ombuds role to the visitor and any other involved parties, noting the principles of confidentiality, impartiality, informality, and independence. Make clear to all parties that IACM can only promise confidentiality if the situation does not involve an imminent risk of serious harm and otherwise to the extent possible.
  3. Make clear to visitors and other involved parties that the ombuds does not provide legal advice or psychological counseling and that the availability of an IACM Ombuds is not intended to substitute for visitors making use of other mechanisms for addressing concerns.
  4. Make clear to visitors and other involved parties that it is not the ombuds role to assist individuals through their institutions’ or place of employment’s internal mechanisms for pursuing concerns outside the context of IACM events and activities (though the ombuds may make referrals to such mechanisms).
  5. Be available to hear and discuss concerns regarding discrimination, harassment, assault, or other unwelcome or inappropriate behavior.
  6. Ascertain the view of visitors raising concerns to determine what outcome they want and explore options, both informal and formal reporting, for achieving visitors’ goals.
  7. Serve as a resource by, among other things, (i) educating visitors on this policy; and (ii) advising visitors of publicly available resources that may help in addressing their concerns. 
  8. Make clear that reporting allegations of unacceptable behavior is protected from retaliation by IACM.
  9. Facilitate dialogue between the visitor and other involved parties, where all parties agree to participate, to assist in addressing the concerns and achieving a mutually satisfactory informal resolution where possible. The Ombuds does not document or record these dialogues, but may assist the participants in memorializing any agreements, as appropriate.
  10. Communicate and coordinate with the IACM Board, when the visitor gives permission. This communication may also occur without identifying the visitor, consistent with the visitor’s preference. Exercise caution in identifying the alleged perpetrator.
  11. Follow up with the visitor and other parties about the implementation of any informal resolution and with the visitor about the outcome of any formal or other processes they may have pursued.
  12. Make the IACM Board aware of any recurring trends and systemic concerns the IACM Ombuds observes that might suggest a need for association-level action (e.g., new or revised policies). Provide such information in the aggregate without compromising the confidentiality of visitors and other involved parties in specific situations.

For incidents that occur outside the context of IACM activities and events, individuals should seek out appropriate authorities with which to file claims of harassment, discrimination, and assault. IACM members should apprise themselves of the appropriate processes at their home institutions, as well as in the legal jurisdictions where fieldwork, meetings, and other business are conducted.

This Policy is not intended to constitute legal advice. In the event of any conflict between this Policy and applicable laws or institutional policy, the applicable laws or institutional policy prevails. Members and institutions are encouraged to seek their own counsel for advice regarding any specific situation.


IX. Acknowledgments

This Policy describing Rules and Expectations for Professional Conduct was approved by the IACM Board on March 29, 2022, and was posted online on April 6, 2022. The Policy was drafted by a special committee composed of the 2021-2022 IACM President (Taya Cohen), President-Elect (Cynthia Wang), Executive Director (Brandon Charpied), three Past IACM Presidents (Zoe Barsness, Laurie Weingart, Peter Carnevale), and an IACM member who is a practicing ombuds with extensive expertise in alternative dispute resolution (William Hall). This code of conduct uses language and concepts adapted from other academic societies, including Society for Improvement of Psychological Science, Management & Organizational Behavior Teaching Society, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and International Association for Chinese Management Research.

Updated and Approved by the IACM Board on July 9, 2023.