Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct for hydrologists

I looked up the Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct for the American Institute of Hydrology (AIH), which is The Society for Certification of Hydrology Professionals. The Rules of Conduct are divided into four categories: personal conduct, relation to the public, relation to clients, relation to other professionals, and relation to the institute. I was not surprised to see guidelines stating that hydrologists should be objective and truthful, avoid conflicts of interest, attend continuing education workshops and professional development seminars, and report unethical practices. However, I was not expecting other items. There are several references to only operating within the realm of one’s competence and accepting work one has received training to do. Perhaps this point is obvious, but I think that people often feel pressure to be able to do everything in a job. I like that both the Code of Ethics and Rules of Conduct recognize that people do not know how to do everything, and that it is acceptable, actually mandatory, to step back from tasks outside of one’s area of expertise. I also noticed these statements place considerable emphasis on public trust. The relation to the public category in the Rules of Professional Conduct is second in line following personal conduct but before relation to clients, other professionals, and the institute. The AIH apparently strives to be honest with the public yet also clear to prevent misunderstandings and promote awareness. The reputation of hydrologists among the general public definitely seems to be a priority, and the AIH wants to make sure public confidence does not erode. I was most surprised to see two references to modesty and humility. In the section of the Rules concerning personal conduct, the AIH asserts, “Members shall explain their work and merit modestly, and shall avoid any act tending to promote their own interests at the expense of the honor and dignity of their profession.” In the following section on relation to the public, the theme continues: “Members shall advertise their services in a dignified unostentatious manner.” I get the impression that these rules stem from the aforementioned concern over public perception. Although I was not prepared to see these rules prohibiting self-promotion and -aggrandizement, I am completely in favor of this principle. However, the wording of both is vague enough that I do wonder, what is “modestly” or “a dignified unostentatious manner”?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.