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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Consultant's Oath

Without really expecting it, I was hired as a research consultant for a large multinational company. Well, our team of development researchers will be doing an evaluation study of their more than a hundred social development projects.

I'll be away from home and family for about two months. I'll be spending a lot of time in rural communities conducting surveys, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews. An awesome job to think that I haven't even finished my PhD yet.

I'm kind of new in this line of work. I am really concerned with the ethics of the job as first priority. I want to know what is really expected of me by my clients in a moralistic sense. Other professional jobs such as accountants, managers, nurses, and physicians have their own pledge dealing with the ethical practice of their expertise.

I can say that I am a development practitioner, a development researcher, I do evaluation studies for projects. Don't they have what they call a development consultant's oath or something?

I Googled it. Not even one search result leads me to it.

So I made up my own.

Remember the Hippocratic Oath for physicians?

Well, I modified it to suit my needs.

Here's my version of A Consultant's Oath.


I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of great consultants in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of my clients, all measures that are required, and avoid causing harm to the company I am serving.

I will remember that there is art to consultancy as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh a researcher’s analysis.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a company’s welfare.

I will respect the privacy of my clients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of a company’s success or failure. If it is given to me to save a client’s business, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to damage an organization; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not just assess programs, or evaluate a project, but I am serving a trusting company, whose problems may affect its economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to serve my clients.

I will prevent future problems whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of serving those who seek my expertise.

So help me God.

(A printable file of the Consultant's Oath can be downloaded for free. A Consultant's Oath.)


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