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, 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). 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 cultural 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.

The policy encourages individuals who have experienced or witnessed unacceptable behavior during IACM activities (or behavior elsewhere that is 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. 
  3. Utilize appropriate conflict management practices, including interest-based approaches, to address differences.
  4. Adhere to the codes of conduct and ethics of any organization to which the individual belongs.
  5. Respect the rules and policies of the meeting venue, hotel, IACM-contracted facility, or any other venue.
  6. Conduct job interviews in public spaces at hotels, classrooms, or convention centers, and not private hotel sleeping rooms, dorm rooms, or other private spaces. Candidates who are invited to take part in interviews in such private spaces should contact the IACM Ombuds for assistance (see below).
  7. Alert IACM Board Members or Staff if you notice a dangerous situation or someone in distress.


IV. Unacceptable Behavior

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

  1. Harassment, discrimination, or assault in any form, is viewed as unacceptable. These include but are not limited to: deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following; harassing photography or recording; 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. Verified violation of any code of conduct or ethical rules of any organization to which the individual belongs. 
  3. Furthermore, IACM prohibits any form of retaliation against individuals who report unacceptable behavior and considers such retaliatory behavior to itself be a type of unacceptable behavior.

IACM does not tolerate any of these unacceptable behaviors and will expeditiously 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 of which it is aware. IACM encourages those who have experienced or have witnessed unacceptable behavior to report it. Steps to report unacceptable behavior are listed below:

  • If you have experienced 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 does not constitute an official “Notice” to IACM.
  • If you witness harassment or assault, respond first to the affected person's needs and safety. Support that person if they choose to report the incident, but respect 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 harassed.


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

Upon receipt of a report of alleged unacceptable behavior, IACM will take any immediate steps necessary to ensure the safety of those who have experienced unacceptable behavior. IACM will investigate alleged unacceptable behavior as quickly as possible. IACM Board Members receiving any allegations of unacceptable behavior will report them to the IACM Ombuds. 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 agencies. The IACM Ombuds holds communications in confidence (except where there is imminent risk of serious harm), 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. The IACM Ombuds does not create documents or records. Working with the IACM Ombuds is voluntary. The IACM Ombuds assists those contacting them, known as “visitors.” The IACM Ombuds will also assist the IACM Board by identifying any trends that might benefit from an association-level response. 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 employments’ internal mechanisms for pursuing concerns outside the context of IACM events and activities (though the ombuds may make referrals to such mechanisms).
  5. Receive 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 amended on March 26, 2023. 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).