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IEEE Ethics in Internal Affairs

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by rickman, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. rickman

    rickman Guest

    I am an active member of the IEEE and I am starting to become
    disillusioned with the local sections. Being involved at the section
    level and chair of an affinity group I have seen some actions that I
    find to be worse than "questionable". Last year I was on the cusp of
    reporting an issue and I read the IEEE ethics complaint process. It
    seems that they require a complainant to provide all the required
    evidence to prove an ethics violation and then be willing to attend a
    hearing in Piscataway, NJ, no matter the location of the complaint.

    I find this to be an onerous burden. It appears clear that they are
    not very proactive in weeding out problems within their organization.
    I'm not claiming that anyone has embezzled money or anything of that
    nature. This is more an issue of elections being "managed" and
    section business being conducted by the chair without an executive
    committee vote as required by the by-laws of the specific group. The
    local sections seem to feel that the chair is an executive with powers
    like a president while by-laws define what is more like the leader of
    the house running the meetings only and little or no other

    Anyone here see similar behavior in other parts of the IEEE? Is this
    just how the group works and I am expecting too much from a bunch of

    rickman, Nov 6, 2011
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  2. rickman

    Rich Webb Guest

    I would doubt that it is an IEEE issue as such, rather a characteristic
    of how people self-organize. Some tend towards consensus, others towards
    authoritarianism. Some hew to the rules, others consider rules to be
    only opinions to may ignored when inconvenient.
    Rich Webb, Nov 6, 2011
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  3. I mostly agree with Rich that groups don't always follow the letter of
    the rule. As a fellow IEEE member, what's more important to me is
    whether you've witnessed anything that could materially damage the
    reputation of the organization. Manipulating elections - even at the
    group level - is a very serious charge and if you have first hand
    knowledge I would encourage you to act on it.

    WRT unilateral action by the chair, I consider that a group local
    issue ... he or she may be acting with support from the executive
    committee. Even though the rules say otherwise, they may trust that
    the chair will act responsibly in many cases without taking a formal
    vote or they may, in fact, be discussing things offline without
    convening a meeting and votes that are not on record.

    If you think you are witnessing cronyism or actions that are not in
    the best interests of the organization, again I encourage you to act
    on it by filing a complaint.

    However, if what bothers you is simply the manner of doing business
    then I would speak to other members of your section and see if you can
    get signature support for a letter to the executive committee. I
    would *not* frame anything as an ethics violation as that will simply
    put them on the defensive ... I would just make them aware that the
    signatories are bothered by the appearance that the chair is operating
    unilaterally and *politely* suggest that the group should be operating
    formally according to the governing rules.

    If you get no adequate response, then you try to get member support to
    overturn the committee at the next election. Democracy is a lousy
    form of government ... it's just that all the other forms are worse.

    George Neuner, Nov 7, 2011
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