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Professional Ethics vs Commercial Ethics
<Scott Cullen>
As some of you know I worked with the ASCA Standards of Professional Practice Committee to write ASCA's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Practice and have subsequently taught the course at four ASCA Academies.

I was no ethical expert going in and was retained as a writer. I learned a lot through the research. That does not make me any particular authority on ethics in general, but it has made me very familiar with the issues faced by arborists.

Here a couple of BIG picture issues that the readers of this board should understand:

There are very basic ethics accepted by society in terms of what is right and fair and honest and we are all presumed to be guided by those.

There are specific differences between Professional ethics (with a capital "P") and commercial or business or trade ethics. They are more than semantic and there are different expectations of arborists who are consulting in a Professional role and arborists who are contarctors performing work. It gets kind of muddy if you do both as a part of your business.

One big difference is the "caveat emptor" principle. That means "let the buyer beware." Assuming your not doing grossly substandard work, or perpetrating fraud or doing things that are flat out known to be useless or questionable, if you're in business in competion with other businesses, the buyer is somewhat at risk and has a responsibility to "beware." (Most of us of course would never take advantage of this and do the best we can in any instance). If, however, you are a Professional (capital "P") you are presumed to have a fiduciary duty of Public Trust. No caveat emptor principle applies. You must act in the best interest of your client.

Another difference is outlined in the AIA handbook of practice. A Professional (capital "P") does not have to be right, they just have to do what is accpeted standard (the building is not warranted to stand up in the hurrican, it's just warranted that it was designed to hurrican standards). The tradesperson howvere often does warrant that the process will work (yes, the building I build will stand up... yes this trunk injection will protect the tree and will not harm it).

So, in making judgements about any of these situations we need to understand the Role of the actor, the representations made and whether specific ethical constraints have been voluntariliy accepted through membership in an organization or through regulation. These are all overlaid on the general societal demands for fair and honest dealing.

With and admitted bias, I strongly recommend the ASCA SPP document to anyone interested in these topics. It's available form ASCA, see the web site link.
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Reply to post by Scott Cullen, on September 21, 1999 at 10:02:16:

Also ethik quest social security number search
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