We, the members of the Knowledge Management Association (KMA), recognize that our methods and practices can affect the quality of work and life wherever we may apply them because the knowledge management discipline permeates all industries, fields of study, and economic and academic endeavors. Accordingly, we accept a personal obligation to our profession, its members, and the communities we serve to commit to the highest ethical and professional conduct as we gather, codify, administer, use, and distribute the knowledge assets entrusted to us. Members of the KMA agree to these principles in the following areas:
The Public. KMA members agree to:
- Accept responsibility in making decisions consistent with the welfare of the public, and to disclose factors that might endanger the public or the environment in a timely manner;
- Protect the intellectual property of our respective companies while working to increase the body of knowledge of both the profession at large and the association in particular;
- Comply with rules, regulations, and laws pertaining to our profession in our respective countries;
- Avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious action;
Clients and Employers. KMA members agree to:
- Establish, maintain, and improve our professional competence and to undertake knowledge management for others only if qualified by training or experience;
- Be honest and realistic in stating claims based on available data
- Ensure that a mutual understanding of the objectives, scope, work plan, and (if appropriate) fee arrangements has been established before accepting any assignment;
- Protect sensitive information and comply with all legal requirements for the disclosure of information.
Colleagues. KMA members agree to:
- To assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them as they attempt to follow this code of ethics;
- Treat fairly all persons regardless of such factors as race, religion, gender, disability, age, or national origin.
Ourselves. KMA members agree to:
- Participate in lifelong learning regarding the practice of the profession of knowledge management
- Adhere to and promote an ethical approach to the practice of the profession
- Avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible, and to disclose them to affected parties when they do exist;
The KM Profession. KMA members agree to:
- Seek, accept, and offer honest criticism about the knowledge-related work we perform, to acknowledge and correct errors, and to credit properly the contributions and ownership of others;
- Improve the understanding of the nature of knowledge—its attributes, its application, and potential consequences of its application
KMA Board of Director Code of Ethics
We, the Board of Directors of the Knowledge Management Association, in recognition of the importance of our roles in guiding a nonprofit professional association, do hereby commit ourselves to the highest ethical and professional conduct and agree:
- To be Informed. As directors of the KMA, we owe the association a duty of care. The duty of care requires us to exercise our authority to make decisions for the association with the prudence that an ordinary person would exercise on his or her own behalf. To be able to fulfill this fiduciary duty of care, we must be well informed about the organization, its mission, its operations and the transactions in which it proposes to engage. To stay informed, we must have access to financial reports and information adequate for us to understand the assets, liabilities, revenues, and expenses of the association. The information should be adequate to allow us to make informed and prudent decisions about the budget, the operations and balancing the short-term and long-term needs of the association.
- To participate. We must regularly attend and participate in regularly scheduled board meetings. We cannot satisfy the duty of care without doing so. If the board is not meeting regularly, we must request such meetings. We may participate in board meetings either in person or virtually through an approved communications method that allows all at the meeting to hear the others. We may not send proxies to board meetings.
- To use independent judgment. When we vote on matters before the board, we must exercise independent judgment on the matter at hand. We may seek advice and input from staff, consultants, and other directors; however, ultimately we must decide independently based upon our understanding of the situation. We should not vote "yes" or "no" merely because someone or everyone else is doing so. We should never "rubber stamp" the recommendations of others. We should not vote on something we do not understand.
- To act in best interests of the association. We also have a duty of loyalty to the association, i.e., we must act in the best interests of the association and not our own personal interests or the interests of some third party. The KMA maintains a conflict of interest policy to assist us in fulfilling this duty.
- To disclose conflicts. Because a director must act in the best interest of the association, we must disclose any facts that may cause us to be unable or appear to be unable to fully fulfill our duty of loyalty. We will make an annual written disclosure of the relationships that might constitute a conflict (with whom we are employed and what our significant ownership interests are, other boards on which we may serve). As circumstances arise, we will disclose any actual or potential conflict when the board considers a transaction. Upon such disclosure, the association's conflict of interest policy will provide a procedure designed to deal with any occurrence and the Board will implement the recommended action for handling the issue.
- To recuse. After disclosing an actual or potential conflict of interest, any conflicted director will leave the room or conference call while the remaining directors discuss the matter. Although some state laws allow a conflicted director to be considered for purposes of ascertaining a quorum, we will follow the better practice and assure that a quorum consisting of unconflicted directors is available. The conflicted director should not attempt to influence the decision in any way, but may provide information requested by the board.
- To maintain confidences. Because directors will frequently receive confidential information about the association (i.e., a strategic plan, growth plans, litigation, etc), we are obligated to keep such information confidential. We will not discuss such information with non-directors unless specifically instructed by the consensus of board members to do so. We must be alert to circumstances where confidentiality obligations may create a conflict. For example, a director employed by a body that funds the corporation on whose board the director serves may not share with his or her employer confidential information about the corporation.
- To accept only reasonable compensation. In many communities, directors of nonprofit corporations are not compensated for their services, although they are sometimes reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses associated with the board service. If, however, a director is being compensated, the amount of the compensation must be reasonable in light of the services provided. The board should seek out comparable information to assist it in determining whether the compensation is reasonable. In addition, the compensation should be structured in a manner that will not adversely affect the corporation's tax-exempt status.
- To support the association. We will support the KMA in all matters, including financial support and, where applicable, public support of the mission of the organization.
Changes to the KMA Code of Ethics will be made only after the following conditions are met:
- Proposed changes shall have been published on the KMA Website at least three (3) months in advance of final consideration by the Board of Directors (Volunteers, Advisors), with a request for comment, and
- All KMA Chapters shall have the opportunity to discuss proposed changes prior to final action by the Board of Directors, and
- An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the votes of the members of the Board of Directors present at the time of the vote, provided a quorum is present, shall be required for proposed changes to be enacted.