Ethical Framework

In addition to its stated mission and goals, the I-CAB Foundation strives to ensure the ethical use of its Functional Competency Assessment & Development tools by ensuring that participants receive accurate, clear, and supportive information about the participation in, and the meaning of, the competency assessment process and its subsequent results.

This allows individuals to proceed confidently in the assessment process, knowing that the sole intention of the assessment results is to support the ongoing development of their competence. When used with contracted organizations, ethical guidelines ensure that the capabilities of an entire organization are not judged (i.e. prequalified) based on a comparison or ranking with peer organizations. Only the ability to assess, maintain and develop the competency of personnel is pertinent when participating personnel and a work scope are not yet known.

Ethical use also prevents the abuse of competency metrics. Abuse includes using assessment results as an individual’s or an organization’s absolute competency instead of being viewed as a valuable metric in an overall competency management process.

More information on the I-CAB Foundation’s Ethical Use Guidelines can be found here.


Ethical Use

  1. Clearly communicate that all individuals have both competency strengths and weaknesses. The desirability of a set of competencies should be determined by their correlation with and support of the individual’s role within the organization.
  2. Describe individual competency results in a nonjudgmental manner at all times and be aware of how your own competency may be judged by others.
  3. Present assessment data as indicative, predictive or demonstrative of competency, along with other metrics, rather than an absolute indication of competency.
  4. Stress that positively interpreted competency assessment results do not imply excellence, competence, or natural ability in tasks associated with the competency.
  5. Explain how people can, and do, act in ways contrary to their competency indicators because of factors related to fatigue, physical limitations, illness, disease, emotional intelligence, social intelligence and general unintentional human error among a host of other factors.
  6. It is unethical to counsel a person not to choose a particular career path or pursue personal development solely upon assessment results, as other factors, such as mental or physical disabilities or other limitations, may interfere with a person’s ability to be successful in an assessment.

Ethical Feedback

  1. Assessment results represent current findings and are a starting point for further development.
  2. If a participant disagrees with their assessment report results, help the participant explore the basis for this belief, and;
    1. determine if their development needs are in complementary competencies such as technological capabilities or literacy and,
    2. determine how the development of competency needs to be sequential for the competency to be functional (recognition, comprehension, interpretation, application).
  3. Make sure the participant sees baseline assessment results at the beginning of their developmental process. Knowing assessment results can provide greater self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses and provide them a framework for further development.

Ethical Administration

Ensure that an individual’s assessment results are treated with the same discretion as other types of personal human resource information. Results should only be used for purposes that either support the individual’s personal development or leadership’s efforts to assemble work teams that align with operational needs.

  1. Inform participants of the purpose of taking an assessment and how results will be used.
  2. Tell respondents that the assessment is not a test, that there is no passing score or minimum performance requirements.
  3. If the assessment is being administered for research purposes, sharing the results with respondents is not required, but highly recommended.
  4. Do not take or interpret parts of assessments results out of context and/or without considering all available findings.

Ethical Facilitation

  1. Even those with significant education and/or experience in the area of competency management systems need to have undergone the process, used the organization settings and reporting features, as well as, studied the I-CAB Foundation Technical Paper so that they can offer comprehensive support and guidance to participants and utilizing organizations. The I-CAB Foundation Functional Competency Assessment System is different from other instruments as it requires an in-depth understanding of competency metrics. Perhaps most importantly, facilitators who do not seek additional understanding may be the catalyst for individuals and/or organizations not achieving the full benefit of the I-CAB Functional Competency Assessment System and development process.
  2. Facilitators need to continually update their knowledge and expertise through independent research and self-study in complementary subjects such as law, regulatory expectations, personnel development, supply chain management, risk.

Allegation Reviews

The major objective of the I-CAB Foundation ethical allegation reviews is to examine submissions stating that an organization has breached the Ethical Use Policy of the I-CAB Foundation.

Upon receipt of a written submission of an Ethical Use Policy violation, the review of the submission will take place by the I-CAB Foundation Board or a review panel appointed by the Board.

The Board and/or panel will perform a review of the submission, request and review pertinent documentation, and then prepare a response to the submitter and the organization alleged to have violated the Ethical Use Policy.

All information obtained in the submission review process remains confidential from the general public, but will be shared between involved parties.

Remedial Process

Utilizing organizations found to have violated the Ethical Use Policy will receive a notice of findings and have their access to internal personnel and external organizations’ competency data removed until remedial actions acceptable to the I-CAB Foundation Board are in place. Individual access to their own reports will remain unaffected by the removal of an organization’s reporting functions.

Notice to external organizations that an ethical use violation has been found and competency data access removed, will not be part of any planned communication. Notice would be provided if and when such restrictions affect other organizations’ access, integrity or functionality of their assessment data.

Data access is restored only after the utilizing organization provides notice and supporting documentation that the Ethical Use Policy violation has been rectified. Upon notice of remedial actions being complete, a copy of the remedial actions will be provided to the submitter of the original allegations and time for a response provided.

If the remedial actions of the utilizing organization are not acceptable to the submitter of the original allegation, their response and the documentation of remedial action will be reviewed by the Board/panel to determine if data access restrictions should continue. The process of restricting data access, communicating with both involved parties and reviewing submissions will continue until the Board/panel is satisfied or the submission is revoked.

A copy of the Ethical Allegation form can be downloaded here.

Terms Of Use