FIG PUBLICATION NO. 29
Business Matters for Professionals
A Guide to support professionals in the task of business
Checklists for the business
- The Business Context
2.1 Subject Matter
2.2 The Business
2.3 Society and the State
2.4 The Business, Society and the State
- Business Planning
3.1 What is business planning?
3.2 Strategic Planning
3.4 Operational and Business Planning
3.5 Measuring performance
- Quality and Customer Service
4.1 What is quality?
4.2 The cost of quality
4.3 The customer and quality
4.4 Customer Service Charter
4.5 Quality Assurance
- Professional Ethics
5.1 What are ethics and why are they
5.2 Ethical principles
5.3 A code of conduct for the business
5.4 Preparing the firm and staff
- Managing Information and Information
6.1 Managing Information
6.2 Managing information technology
- Other Issues
7.3 Legal issues
Orders of the printed copies
Who can argue that business doesn't matter? All of us, one way or
another, are trying to ensure the success of one or more organisations. It
is through our organisations that we create the resources necessary and
important to us as individuals and to society. Business, however, is often
seen as a pejorative form by professionals, including surveyors, whose
pursuit is of higher values like accuracy, elegance and balance.
Over the last decade FIG, and in particular its Commissions 1
(Professional Standards and Practice) and 2 (Professional Education), has
been working in the area of business and management, and attempting to link
them more clearly to the realm of professional surveyors. This has already
resulted in FIG Publications covering Ethics (No 17) and Continuing
Professional Development (No 15).
Many of FIG's 250,000 individual members work in sole practices,
partnerships or other small and medium enterprises. In such environments,
business and management matters become particularly crucial, and the
expectations of customers, society and governments continue to rise.
I am therefore pleased that FIG is able to add this Guide to its
collection of publications. It is another element in FIG's ongoing work in
this area, and plans are already in place to build on it. The Guide will be
of use to many individuals and organisations, within and beyond the FIG
community. I commend it to you, and thank all who contributed in its
creation, particularly the authors Iain Greenway (Ireland),
Michael Keller (Switzerland), Tom Kennie (UK), Leonie Newnham
(Australia) and John Parker (Australia).
Robert W. Foster
Business Matters for Professionals
A Guide to support professionals in the task of business
The FIG Commission 1 Working Group 2 on Business Practices
Iain Greenway, United Kingdom
The International Federation of Surveyors FIG
FIG Commission 1 (Professional Standards and Practice) has
developed this Guide to provide advice to surveyors in running businesses. It is
particularly targeted at individuals starting up in business but it will also
provide a useful source of information to those already responsible for a
business. Although the Guide is primarily focused on the issues facing private
businesses, much of the content will be very relevant to public sector
operations, particularly those operating as quasi-businesses with identifiable
customers. If there is a demand, further Guides will be produced, tailored to
different business sectors.
The Guide is designed to be of use around the world. It does not
pretend to cover the detail of issues in every country and region: instead, the
Guide highlights particular topics that a business needs to address, provides
frameworks for doing so and suggests sources of additional information. The
Guide also incorporates as reference material the FIG Charter for Quality and
the FIG Statement of Ethical Principles and Model Code of Professional Conduct,
and makes reference to some other key documents.
The Guide is structured with a brief introduction followed by
two overview chapters, one covering the context of a business and the other
overviewing business planning issues. Further chapters deal with particular
topics, and a checklist summarises the key elements which a business should
ensure that it has in place. Each of the chapters is designed to be
self-standing whilst still building to a coherent overall picture.
The Guide builds on the work of a Commission 1 Working Group led
by Chris Hoogsteden which produced the paper 'Management Matters' at the
XX FIG International Congress held in Melbourne in 1994, and on work between
1994 and 1998 led by Ken Allred (on ethics) and John Parker (on
Inevitably, the Guide will create questions as well as provide
answers. An early port of call for such questions should be the relevant
national professional association/ institution, which will generally have
material or advice relevant to the particular country and discipline.
Chapter 2: The Business Context
- At an early stage of setting up a business, review the interests
and power of primary and secondary groups which may impact on the
business (section 2.4)
- Ensure that this analysis inputs fully to the business planning
- Monitor changes in interests, groupings and relative power, and
factor these into ongoing planning (section 2.5)
Chapter 3: Business Planning
- Ensure that your organisation has a structured, regular approach
to strategic and operational planning which involves all staff and
which delivers clear objectives (section 3.1)
- Ensure that the strategic planning process explicitly reviews
the aspirations of each owner/ director/ senior partner with regard
to the company, to ascertain that all key players wish to move in
approximately the same direction at approximately the same speed
- Place individual responsibility against the achievement of each
target associated with the objectives (sections 3.2 and 3.4)
- Regularly monitor progress towards the targets, taking early and
decisive action where necessary (section 3.5)
- Consider how best to link individual staff appraisal and reward
systems to the successful delivery of the organisation's objectives
Chapter 4: Quality and Customer Service
- Create an environment of quality and customer service and
continuously review how to embed this in the business (section 4.3)
- Ensure that all staff are adequately trained (section 4.3)
- Document key processes and ensure that staff follow them; this
will ensure consistency of activity and of output, providing
assurance to customers (section 4.5)
- Undertake customer surveys to determine their needs and
expectations so that the business can plan to meet and exceed them
- Continually review all activity to ensure best practice,
involving staff and customers in this process
Chapter 5: Professional Ethics
- Create an initial code of conduct for the firm as soon as you
start to build the firm. Use frameworks available from national
survey associations and other firms but tailor them to your firm and
its circumstances (section 5.3)
- Continually test the code against situations that you are likely
to encounter, and develop it as necessary. Do this thoroughly at
least once a year
- As part of staff development processes, discuss ethical dilemmas
to ensure the conformance of individuals with the code (section 5.4)
Chapter 6: Managing Information and Information
- Identify the application systems of importance to the
organisation and ensure that they are managed and maintained to
provide ongoing business support and that they can be supported into
- Assess the need and potential for integration of multiple
application systems so as to streamline business activity, and the
possible challenges offered by technological developments; build
this into business planning activity (section 6.2)
- Ensure that clear organisational policies and standards shape IT
developments and investment, and that staff are trained in the
skills necessary to make best use of the systems
- Rigorously review business drivers (i.e. identify which business
objectives are driving the project) before committing (section 6.2)
- Assess the scope of any IT project before commencing investment,
to ensure that it is appropriate to the business's aims and that the
aims are deliverable (section 6.2)
Chapter 7.1: Governance
- Determine at an early stage the appropriate arrangements for
external 'reality checking' of strategic decisions, and ensure that
these conform with legal requirements
Chapter 7.2: Staff
- Set down employee development and remuneration policies that
meet staff's realistic expectations and business needs
- Ensure that new recruits will match business needs and fit with
the business ethos
Chapter 7.3: Legal Issues
- Investigate and monitor legal and official standards relevant to
the business, calling on professional associations for guidance
Technological and social changes require changes in business and
in management. It is generally agreed that the rate of external change is
increasing. The change impacts on surveying businesses as much as it does on
other businesses. The education and training of surveyors (of every discipline),
however, continues to give a good deal of time to technological developments and
their impacts, but less time to the changing challenges of management. The need
for all-round skills in management and business is brought into stark relief for
surveyors running small companies, where they will often be unsupported by
experts and where advice from professional consultants may be beyond budgetary
A key change for survey businesses in recent years is that
members of the public have an increasingly high expectation of professional
service providers. Professionals are expected to be fully accountable for their
advice and willing to tailor that advice to particular circumstances. Society is
also increasingly demanding, believing that a key differentiation of
professionals from others is a professional's ability and duty to consider the
needs of wider society as well as of the client, and to be able to deal with
this balance successfully.
Further changes in the business environment include:
The growth of the power (and respectability) of pressure
groups, adding complexity to the balance that has to be struck by
The intertwining of different professions, in large part
due to technological developments, meaning that a professional is
expected to have a base knowledge of a number of professions;
The immediacy and reach of communication tools, allowing
and requiring rapid decisions by businessmen;
An increasing globalisation, requiring managers to
understand regional differences in culture, people and law; and
An increasing intolerance by many governments of
self-regulation by professionals.
These changes put additional pressures on a professional
surveyor in the dual roles of expert and businessman. Neither of these roles
can be ignored, and the abilities of an individual in each of them will
continually be challenged. A professional surveyor will, in most cases, have
a personal interest in the content of his or her work, and a passion to do
it to the best of his or her ability. Business challenges, however, are also
a necessary part of an increasing number of professionals' lives.
Professionals will often have received limited training or experience in the
business aspects of their work, and may have limited interest in them - they
will often be viewed as a means to an end. This Guide is designed to assist
professional surveyors to fulfil this vital part of their responsibilities.
This chapter summarises the third-party interests to be
taken into account in the running, and more particularly in the setting-up,
of a company. A company is embedded in a network of social expectations and
state regulations. These have to be appropriately factored into business
decisions, if the company's long-term survival and flourishing is not to be
In general terms, a business strives (in the short term) to
make a profit. In addition, it wants (in the long term) to ensure its
ability to survive.
In order to achieve these aims, a business will, in concrete
A successful business will give consideration to three key
The questions to be answered by every business are outlined
in Figure 1.
Later chapters in this Guide address these questions
further; the remainder of this chapter considers further the relationship
between business and society.
Society is a structure of conflicting interest- and
power-groups (associations, political parties, the press, trade unions,
economic enterprises, etc.). These groups surround individual businesses.
The need for the State as a regulating authority emerges from the conflict
between group interests. The State must above all ensure three things:
The interests of a society must be channelled and
coordinated by the State: the assertion of social interests must be
In regulating conflicting interests, the State must seek
a just balance between the different needs: there must be no arbitrary
choice of social interests; and
The rules of behaviour which have been created must have
a reliable chance of being asserted - compulsorily, if need be: the
State must set appropriate legal norms.
Thus, the State decides:
Which social interests are enshrined in laws and
compulsorily asserted, through the power of the State if need be
(Courts, compulsory execution, Police); and
Which social interests are excluded from assertion by
The next section reviews the key relationships between a
business, society and the State. These relationships will differ between
countries and in particular between types of economic tradition. In market
economies, the State will generally only 'interfere' where there is a proven
need for it to do so, whereas in centralised economies the State will take a
much larger role in regulating society.
All enterprises and entrepreneurs strive towards goals which
they hope to achieve through their entrepreneurial activity. On the one
hand, these goals emerge from answering the questions in Figure 1. Usually,
however, additional goals are also pursued, such as ensuring the living of
the entrepreneur and his or her family, prestige, having the guts to take
risks, independence, etc.
The personal interests of the entrepreneur will at times
come into conflict with various social interests. All of these interests
must be analysed and taken into account in business decisions. Since all
entrepreneurial activity takes place within a social environment, the
business is also dependent upon society. Correspondingly, society makes
demands on entrepreneurial activity.
The following interests are of paramount importance for
enterprises. These groups directly determine a business's short-term success
Suitably taking into account the interests of the following
secondary groups is of crucial importance for the long-term survival of a
Both the primary and secondary group interests must be taken
into account in the basic organisation of a business. No business survives
in the long run if it fails to establish a harmonious relationship with
these group interests, and does not bear in mind at least certain aspects of
these interests when formulating its business strategy.
The secondary groups' interests may be enshrined in laws and
then asserted by the State. In this case, businesses must always adhere to
the relevant behavioural standards if they are not to risk State sanctions
(fines, penalties, suspension of trading, etc.).
Issues relevant to various groups are:
Environmental protection associations: banning of
products, banning of certain production techniques, banning of certain
emissions, restriction on choice of location, restrictions on
Trade Unions: adherence to minimum wages and
maximum working hours, holidays, social -security, provision for
sickness, accident and death, restrictions on dismissals, restriction of
work allocation, monitoring of business decisions by staff and staff
Employers' associations: professional rules,
production and other standards, obligation to inform.
Press and Media: monitoring of business activity.
Consumer protection associations: obtaining
trading and operating approval, rules on product safety, product
liability, restrictions on advertising.
Churches: tax liability, holidays.
Military: controls or bans in safety-relevant
areas, export bans, compulsory production.
Other public interests: requirement for building
and operating approval, restriction of construction activity, ban on
unfair competition, ban on cartels, obligation to inform, company law
regulations, social security contribution and tax liabilities, adherence
to health regulations.
In light of the above, it is vital to consider State and
social interests at an early stage of business planning, since they will
always limit the autonomy of a business and must therefore be taken into
account by the business in a suitable way. The extent to which this is true
for any group or issue depends on the relative importance of the interests:
State interests must always be taken into account, but social interests need
be considered only when they have a certain strength and significance.
Since State and social interests may change over the course
of time, they must repeatedly be analysed and taken into account at regular
intervals: State interests may disappear, and the significance of social
interests may change with the passage of time.
The consideration of State and social interests is less
difficult when a business limits its activities to a single country or
culture group. It is then active in a familiar and homogenous environment.
Careful analysis of the State and social interests should then be a
relatively simple matter. When a business decides to become active in
several countries or culture groups, however, the analysis becomes a great
deal more difficult. In such cases, a business has to analyse the social and
State interests for each State.
Social and State interests mark out the sphere of autonomy
for a business. Careful analysis for these interests and their consequences
for the business is vital, particularly when a business is being set up,
since mistakes in the analysis of these interests, or the omission of this
analysis, is likely to have severe consequences for entrepreneurial
activity. In addition, it is essential for the analysis to be carried out
for each individual State or culture in which the business operates (or
plans to operate). The analysis must be repeated at regular intervals as the
power of different groups will alter over time. Chapter 3 provides planning
frameworks which can be used to factor these interests into business
At an early stage of setting up a business, review the
interests and power of primary and secondary groups which may impact on
Ensure that this analysis inputs fully to the business
Monitor changes in interests, groupings and relative
power, and factor these into ongoing planning
The very general topics in this chapter are covered in the
initial sections of many of the texts referred to in the remaining chapters
in this Guide. There are no specific detailed references for the general
areas covered in this chapter.
Some would consider the process of developing a strategy as
a time-consuming distraction from the process of making money. For others it
is of critical importance to developing a successful business. This latter
group would argue that, in a business environment in which the rate of
change shows no sign of diminishing, the successful business needs to review
periodically its strategic direction and in light of that to develop more
detailed business planning.
A professional business has within it a portfolio formed
from the skills, knowledge and capabilities of its members. This mix
includes not only special professional skills and formal procedures, but
also intangible assets such as the business's presence and relationships in
key sectors, its reputation with clients or suppliers, and its 'culture' or
'ways things are done'. The match or otherwise of that mix of capabilities
to the market and the wider environment in which the business operates
determines its success or failure. A business's strategy, either explicitly
or implicitly, is the deployment of that capability mix in the wider
environment in which the business operates. It is often a product of past
successes and even the traditions established by the founder or founding
Business planning, therefore, is the art and practice of
examining the current fit of a business's capabilities to the environment
and adapting this as necessary. Owners and managers need to ensure that
adequate, shared intentions exist to keep the fit in the future. This may
mean deploying existing capabilities differently, and/or developing new
A multitude of models for the planning process exists; some
can be found in more detail in the references at the end of this chapter.
This chapter attempts to explain the process in a way that will be of
relevance for surveying practices.
We can consider planning for an organisation as addressing
four stages and generating four distinct outputs:
Business planning, although last in the sequence, is
particularly important since this is the process that coordinates the
resource requirements to achieve the Operating Plan. In many organisations,
two plans are produced - a Strategic Plan (including the corporate planning
elements) and an Operating Plan. This is the model used in this chapter. The
Strategic Plan may have a life of up to three years, whereas a new Operating
Plan will be needed each year.
A Strategic Plan will generally include:
A Mission Statement - this statement should, in a
small number of words, clearly identify why the organisation exists and
is the sole criterion by which the organisation's success should be
judged. The Statement should articulate the end result or outcome but
not normally the means by which the outcome will be achieved - this is
left to subsequent planning. The Mission statement is particularly
useful in focussing the efforts of the organisation.
Organisational Values - these express how the
organisation will conduct business; they address such matters as ethos,
culture, code of ethics, standards of behaviour, social justice,
environmental issues, social responsibilities etc. They should also
include staff development principles, and the approach to quality and
Organisational Vision - once the Mission and
Organisational Values have been decided, an Organisational Vision of
where the organisation wants to be in a given time frame needs to be
agreed. An appropriate time frame is of the order of five years for most
organisations. The Vision needs to be in outcome terms, that is, what is
to be achieved - usually addressing growth, market coverage, employee
involvement, product and service development, quality of product and
service, etc. The vision must be bold, setting a level of performance
that will stretch and motivate the organisation.
Organisational Goals - from the Vision, the Goals
need to be determined, again expressed in outcome terms. Usually six
goals are enough. Goals are aspirations of what the organisation wishes
to achieve. Again, they must set a level of performance that will
stretch and motivate.
Strategies - these are means not ends, and set
out (in general terms) how the goals will be achieved.
Objectives - these are determined from the
strategies adopted and are specific statements of the who, what and
when. The objectives need to be structured so that achievement of all of
the objectives will sum to the achievement of the goals. The objectives,
being specific, allow the creation of clear targets to allow monitoring
of organisational progress. These targets need to have individuals
explicitly accountable for their achievement, to ensure clear ownership
The list of references at the end of this chapter points to
examples of these components that can be found in various texts.
Setting aside time to plan the business's strategy and
development will inevitably be difficult to achieve during the normal Monday
to Friday schedule. Many businesses therefore find a one-day 'retreat',
preferably 'off-site', a suitable means for focusing on these key questions.
Key questions to be addressed in the strategic planning
Note: organisations may choose to define 'partner' for
these purposes in either the strict business sense or as a broader term
embracing all of the people key to the implementation of the strategy.
(a) Are the aspirations, abilities and relationships of
the existing owner(s)/ senior managers clearly understood?
Has each partner identified their personal aspirations,
and how they affect the business?
Does each partner appreciate the contribution of their
personal skills and capabilities to the business?
Do the partners appreciate the contribution each makes
to the success of the business?
(b) Is the current match of the business's capabilities to its market
- Is there a clear, shared, understanding of how the business's existing
capabilities serve its existing market: for example, what gives the
business its distinctive edge?
- Do the partners appreciate the dependence of that edge on their, and
others', skills and knowledge?
- What do the partners see as the critical success factors to delivering
the current business plan? Do they appreciate what provides their current
- What is the current financial situation of the business and its likely
earnings and investment requirements in the next three years?
- How might the business's market position be eroded in the future by
new competitors or new demands from the market?
- What does the business plan to do about any such erosion of its edge
in the market?
(c) Are the external trends that might affect the business's future,
identified and understood?
- Has the business considered, or researched, the likely changes in the
main markets for its products and services?
- Does the business have plans to improve its services, target new
markets, or change its share of existing markets? Does it have
confirmation that the anticipated demand for its services will exist?
- Are the business's plans translated into goals and targets (financial
or otherwise) which it aims to achieve in the next three years (or other
appropriate strategic time frame)? How does it plan to review those in the
light of changing business climates?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the business's main
- What are the strengths, weaknesses and aspirations of the business's
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the business's main clients?
- What are the business's own relative strengths and weaknesses?
(d) Does the business understand which unwritten traditions, of its
own, its market or its professional speciality, help it to operate and which
restrict its success?
- What percentage of the business's current income is derived from its
original business sectors and services?
- Has the business made an assessment of the possible changes in demand
for those services over the next strategic period?
- Has the business assessed whether there is a changing demand for its
services and whether there is a presumption that clients will continue to
value the same expertise as they have previously done?
- Has the business evaluated the need to acquire new skills and
Some of the tools available to assist in answering the questions in
section 3.2 are:
(a) STEPE Analysis
STEPE is a formal framework for reviewing the external environment. It
involves considering a range of external issues which might impact upon the
business. This STEPE analysis can be used to help map the (S) Social (T)
Technological (E) Economic (P) Political and (E) Environmental influences on
the organisation and enables an assessment to be made of their likely impact
on the business. For example, how important is each trend and independently
how certain/uncertain are you about each trend? This type of analysis offers
some initial views on the significance of the changes taking place at
present, and for the future.
(b) SWOT Analysis
SWOT is a further analysis technique which enables the performance of the
organisation to be assessed in terms of both internal factors, that is its
(S) strengths and (W) weaknesses; and externally in terms of the (O)
opportunities available/open to it and the (T) threats confronting it. Again
this initial assessment can be of considerable value in identifying some of
the strategic choices facing the business.
(c) Portfolio Analysis
This technique can be helpful, particularly for evaluating and reviewing
product and service portfolios. Such a portfolio analysis might involve a
review as illustrated by Figure 2 where the different products/ services are
positioned in relation to subject strength and market demand.
In addition to portfolio analysis this perspective also emphasises the
importance of 'differentiation' to highlight what is distinctive about an
organisation compared to rival organisations. Porter (1996) suggests that
'you can only outperform rivals if you can establish a difference that you
can preserve'. He also distinguishes between differentiation based on
'operational effectiveness' and that based on 'strategic positioning'. For
Porter, 'operational effectiveness' implies performing similar
better than rivals can perform them, whereas 'strategic positioning'
means performing different activities from rivals or performing
similar activities in different ways from rivals.
The references contain more information on each of these
A further process which might also feature highly when using
these tools would be to review the market sectors in which the organisation
has developed a reputation together with a review of the key
stakeholders/client groups who are of critical importance to the
organisation in each sector. This analysis will assist in prioritising the
different areas for investment.
The result of the strategic planning process should be a
written plan encapsulating a Mission Statement and the other elements listed
in section 3.2. It is vital that all owners/ managers feel ownership of the
plan and its contents, and that it is regularly and widely used to inform
business decisions and as the benchmark for reviewing organisational and
The process of taking the creative ideas which emerge during
the planning process and turning these into effective operational plans also
requires careful thought, particularly to minimise any lack of integration.
Broadly speaking, the parts which need linking together include;
The statements which clarify and make explicit the
overall direction, i.e. 'the strategy' for the organisation;
The processes and statements used to manage financial
resources, i.e. 'the budget' for the organisation;
The processes and statements which describe specific
actions to be undertaken across the organisation, i.e. the 'operating
plan' for the organisation; and
The processes and documents which are used on a
one-to-one basis to summarise the priorities and objectives for staff
across the organisation i.e. the 'performance appraisal and rewards'
Figure 3 illustrates the links between the first three of
A key component in the creation of an effective Operating
Plan is a method of translating general statements of intent (from the
Strategic Plan) into specific objectives and actions. Whether at the level
of objectives for the organisation or for individuals, it is important to
ensure that clear measures of success exist, with clear lines of
accountability. It can be useful to review objectives against the following
SMART framework to confirm that they are:
||Specific - Is the objective specific enough, or should
we break it down into more manageable parts? Have we clearly specified
who is accountable?
||Measurable - have we considered what direct and indirect
measures could be used to assess whether progress is being made?
||Action oriented - Have we identified clear actions which
need to be progressed?
||Resourced - Have we fully considered the resource
implications of the objective?
||Timed - Have we clarified the time limits for
achievement of the objective?
The STAIR test (Grundy, 1995) can also be a useful means of
cross-checking that the objectives are appropriate:
||Simplistic - Is this objective sufficiently demanding?
||Tactical - Is this objective tactically relevant and we
have considered how it fits in with other tactically similar objectives?
||Active resistance - Have we fully considered the impact
of this objective on others?
||Impractical - Have we fully considered the
practicalities of implementing this objective (within the allocated
||Risk - Have we fully explored all of the potential risk
The result of this discussion and testing will be a list of
specific, operational objectives, with responsibility for each one assigned
to an individual, named manager. These form one heart of the Operating Plan.
The second heart is the annual budget, appropriately subdivided to work
areas, which allocates the resource needed for completion of the objectives.
Iteration will be needed to ensure compatibility between targets and
finances, both prior to the start of the plan period and also during the
year. The two elements must be altered in a coherent and coordinated manner
if the business if to achieve the maximum possible level of success with the
resources available to it.
Once again, the references at the end of this chapter
provide further information in this area.
The time and effort required to monitor performance against
plans is probably the area where most planning processes have the greatest
difficulty. All too often, those responsible for planning fail to recognise
the amount of time and energy which is required to establish processes and
procedures to monitor and review plans on a regular basis. How often does
the plan become a filed document which is rarely examined again until the
next planning period? To avoid this, it is vital that well-established
processes are documented and time set aside to review, learn from and update
It is often said that 'what gets measured gets done' and 'if
you can't measure it, you can't plan it'. Clear measures are essential in
monitoring progress against the plan. Targets, however, also have the
potential to confuse - it is therefore essential to have a manageable number
of clear, concise targets which are regularly monitored. Two frameworks
which will be useful in this area are outlined below.
(a) The Balanced Scorecard
The concept of a 'balanced scorecard' (Kaplan and Norton,
1996) of performance measures is one which has become fashionable in recent
years. This framework has emerged to emphasise the need in the business
environment to ensure that adequate attention is given to factors beyond
purely financial measures. To balance financial measures, it is also
necessary to have measures which focus on people, systems and the market.
The challenge is usually to select those performance
measures which are of most significance, and for which robust data
collection and analysis techniques exist to enable them to be monitored on a
regular basis. In so many cases, the measures selected are not linked to the
overall strategy of the organisation and often suffer because of a lack of
The contents of the scorecard must truly reflect the
strategic vision of the organisation.
(b) Business Excellence Model
A further formal, analytical framework is the 'Business
Excellence' model developed by the European Foundation for Quality
Management (EFQM). The purpose of this model is to enable a consistent
measurement methodology to be utilised across organisations. It therefore
enables comparative benchmarking.
The model (see Figure 4) sets out the areas which must be
addressed by planning targets; the percentages are the weightings generally
given to these areas in quality awards. Further information on the model is
available from the EFQM web site at
www.efqm.org, which includes clear definitions of each of the elements.
In addition to monitoring progress against objectives (and
adjusting business activity accordingly), the business will need robust
accounting systems and procedures to provide both the financial accounts
required by auditors etc, and the management accounts needed within the
The sections above have suggested various techniques to
facilitate business planning, something which is vital for sustained
business success. In successful planning and monitoring, however, systems
alone cannot deliver high performance. They need to be embedded in the
culture of the organisation and to involve everyone. Leaders must be
responsible for setting the high level, bold aspiration for the organisation
and relentlessly communicating it to staff. Managers at all levels must be
involved in regular and rigorous review of performance against expectations.
Staff must be rewarded in relation to the contribution they make to
achieving the organisation's objectives. And customer consultation and
feedback provides a vital 'reality check' on whether the organisation is
delivering the services that matter to them, to a standard that they expect.
Only with such embedding will a business properly be linked to the
expectations on it, and properly focus its efforts on what is important.
Ensure that your organisation has a structured, regular
approach to strategic and operational planning which involves all staff
and which delivers clear objectives
Ensure that the strategic planning process explicitly
reviews the aspirations of each owner/ director/ senior partner with
regard to the company, to ascertain that all key players wish to move in
approximately the same direction at approximately the same speed
Place individual responsibility against the achievement
of each target associated with the objectives
Regularly monitor progress towards the targets, taking
early and decisive action where necessary
Consider how best to link individual staff appraisal and
reward systems to the successful delivery of the organisation's
Christopher, M. and McDonald, M., 1995. Marketing: An
Introductory Text. Palgrave. As the title suggests, a general text
covering the marketing elements of planning.
Faulkner, D. and Bowman, C., 1994. The Essence of
Competitive Strategy. Prentice Hall. Provides a general overview of the
subject matter of the chapter.
Her Majesty's Treasury, 2000. Public Services
Productivity: Meeting the Challenge. Available from
Includes straightforward models accompanied by real examples from the UK
Her Majesty's Treasury, 2000. Targeting Improved
Performance. Available from the same web address as above. Describes a
project to improve Ministry of Defence performance; includes examples of
Missions, targets etc.
Johnson, G. and Scoles, K., 1998 (5th edition).
Exploring Corporate Strategy. Prentice Hall. Another general text, at
the next level of detail than Faulkner and Bowman; see particularly
chapters 1 (overview, definitions etc) and 6 (on strategic options).
Kaplan and Norton, 1996. The Balanced Scorecard. Harvard
Business School Press. Provides detailed information on this particular
Porter, M., 1996. What is strategy? Harvard Business
Review, November/ December pp61-80. Provokes thought on the subject.
Watson, D., 2000. Managing Strategy - A Guide to Good
Practice. Open University Press. A general overview of the subject
4. Quality and
As has been mentioned several times in chapters 2 and 3,
customers are of paramount importance to businesses. The quality of the
products and services produced by the business and its suppliers determines
whether a customer is happy or not.
Quality can be defined as:
Degree of excellence
Conformance to requirements
Fitness for purpose
Meeting agreed client requirements and avoiding problems
and errors while doing so
Doing right things right.
The development of a total quality culture throughout the
business must be actively encouraged, to drive the principles of best
practice and customer service. In simple terms, there is a need to 'get it
right first time, every time' if the business is to prosper.
The successful business gives priority to its customers. The
concept of 'customers first', whether they be internal or external
customers, is an ideal goal for all firms. Businesses must always bear in
mind that quality is in the eye of the beholder (the customer). A quality
service is therefore one that satisfies customers' needs.
It is not uncommon in service industries like surveying for
the cost of achieving quality to be more than 30% of total revenue of a
business. The cost of quality includes the costs of prevention, of
inspection and of failure. Figure 5 on the following page (with
acknowledgement to ODI) provides more information on this breakdown.
The first step in reducing a business's cost of quality is
to understand that quality costs are not created equal. Rather, they can be
divided into three distinct categories:
Prevention Costs - these can be regarded as an
investment because preventing (as opposed to correcting) quality
problems makes the firm much stronger over time.
Inspection/Correction Costs - inspecting and checking
other people's work is a role which virtually all managers and
supervisors must fulfil each day. This is despite the fact that neither
the inspector nor the inspected finds this aspect of his or her job
Failure Costs - mistakes due to lack of quality that
turn up outside the firm, after a service is delivered to the customer,
are costs that must be avoided. The firm is cast in the worst possible
light when it fails to meet the customers' valid requirements.
In hard monetary terms, failure is by far the most costly
quality problem. The cost of recalling or 'making good' on a service
delivered unsatisfactorily is extraordinarily high.
A rule of thumb for comparing the relative costs of the
three categories in the firm is the "1-10-100 Rule". For every dollar or
hour the firm might spend on preventing a quality problem, it will spend 10
to inspect and correct the mistake after it occurs. If the failure goes
unchecked or unnoticed until after the customer has received the service,
the cost of rectifying the failure will probably be 100 times the cost that
would have been incurred to prevent it from happening at all.
The secret to reducing Cost of Quality is clear: invest
in prevention and ensure that everyone in the firm understands the true
cost of quality. In addition, give people the practical tools they need to
make the 1-10-100 work for, not against, the firm. Ultimately, the key goal
of the firm and each of its members must be to do "right things right".
Quality can only be determined by the customer; ensuring the
regular achievement of quality is therefore about finding out what the
customer wants and the cost that both the customer and supplier can be
satisfied with. The quality of the service that ultimately goes to the
external customer is dependent on how well the internal customer/supplier
chain is managed. It is important for everyone in a firm to identify who
their customers are and how to keep them satisfied. For example, a simple
job being processed through a typical surveying business will contain a
number of steps after instructions are received from the client (external
customer). The steps can range from ensuring all relevant information is
obtained from the client, to searching for information, to collating the
information, to undertaking a survey, to drafting plans and field notes, to
checking and writing correspondence. Each of these steps can be undertaken
by a different person (internal customer).
A number of people from within the organisation and beyond
have some input into the final product. The quality of the final product or
service is only as good as the weakest link. If, for example, the obtaining
of a piece of vital information was overlooked then the survey may be
incorrect. This may result in complete failure of the job at a later stage
or even repetition of some work, costing the organisation (or the client) an
added amount. This type of failure may occur at any step in the processing
of the job through the organisation. It is better to invest in preventing
such a failure from occurring (for instance through training) than incurring
the cost of failure when there is a breakdown in the process. A key to
overcoming this is for everyone in the organisation to know where they stand
in the process. When a problem is identified that may affect quality then
every employee, no matter where they stand in the organisation, must act to
ensure that the chance of failure at a later stage is minimised or removed.
FIG has adopted a Charter for Quality in which its members
recognise and agree to undertake:
"To commit our respective organisations and member
associations to quality, service and client/customer satisfaction;
To develop a total quality culture through management
commitment and leadership within our organisations;
To develop a continuous improvement approach to all
To work towards achieving recognition of our
respective organisations to internationally recognised standards for
To encourage the suppliers of products and services
to surveyors to embrace the principles of the quality movement;
To train surveyors through a total quality approach;
To share and participate in benchmarking and
It is important for staff within a firm to make a commitment
to customer service. An ideal way is to develop a customer service charter
which incorporates services objectives and service commitment, followed by
service goals, strategies and standards.
An example of such a charter is at Figure 6. Goals,
strategies and service standards will vary from firm to firm and in
different parts of the world. Very simple mechanisms can be extremely
effective, for instance a visitors' book with space for comments, or a
simple questionnaire to be included with invoices.
A key element of customer service is providing the customer
with assurances as to the quality of the products and services supplied. The
International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has developed a series
of standards (ISO 9000 series) which contain guidelines to allow the
development of an appropriate quality management system which can do this.
The latest ISO 9001 (2000 version) addresses a number of
inadequacies in the way quality assurance has been seen in the past.
Properly understood, ISO 9001 asks firms to address a number of basic
management issues in a manner that is appropriate to the nature of the firm
in question. The issues themselves are virtually indisputable in terms of
ensuring good service to clients and the ongoing health of the firm.
ISO 9001 (2000 version) is very relevant from a surveying
business's point of view because, as a technical profession, surveyors'
weaknesses have tended to arise in relation to broader management controls.
Successful organisations have a focus on business planning, communication
and the image they project to the community.
In a typical surveying practice, ISO 9001 suggests that
Communicate well with clients and record their
Actively manage staff and resources to ensure that
deadlines are met;
Make sure that staff understand their roles and
responsibilities within the firm;
Plan work processes to ensure clients' technical
requirements are satisfied;
Check and authorise all work prior to release;
Ensure that staff are adequately trained;
Confirm that measuring equipment is working within
Ensure that subcontractors work to equivalent standards;
Review procedures to ensure that they are being followed
by staff (and are cost effective); and
Have a well organised and secure records system
(including computerised records).
ISO 9001 therefore provides an ideal framework for
considering, implementing and monitoring the important management issues of
any business, but it does require time and resources to make it happen. It
is a most useful tool to use as a framework for a critical evaluation of a
firm's organisational processes.
The implementation of quality customer service as part of
the road to continuous business improvement can be considered in three
||Creating the Environment for Quality
(creating a controlled and systematic way of doing business with
quality aware and committed people).
(seeking out ways to improve existing processes and reduce the cost of
||Continuous Business Improvement
(achieving sustainable, continuous improvement of all processes,
products and services through the creative involvement of all people).
In a competitive market place, it is rarely wise to stand
still and give competitors the opportunity to race past you. Hence, it is
worth remembering that quality is a journey not a destination, and that it
is an ongoing process that should never end.
Using ISO 9001:2000 and having a Customer Service Charter
provides an ideal framework to demonstrate to customers that the firm does
value its customers and wants to provide the best service possible.
Create an environment of quality and customer service
and continuously review how to embed this in the business
Ensure that all staff are adequately trained
Document key processes and ensure that staff follow
them; this will ensure consistency of activity and of output, providing
assurance to customers
Undertake customer surveys to determine their needs and
expectations so that the business can plan to meet and exceed them
Continually review all activity to ensure best practice,
involving staff and customers in this process
Dale, D. G., 1999. Managing Quality. Blackwell. A
thorough text on the subject.
Department of Treasury and Finance, Victoria, Australia,
June 1995. Customer Service Commitment Charter. An example in this area
Leland, K. and Bailey, K., 2000. Customer Service for
Dummies. Hungry Minds Inc. An easy-read but valuable exploration of the
Parker, J., 2000. Quality Awards and Surveyors.
Proceedings of the FIG Working Week, Prague. A general overview of the
Tricker, R., 2000. ISO9001: 2000 for Small and Medium
Businesses. Butterworth-Heinemann. An excellent text covering quality
management systems as well as the requirements of ISO9001.
We should try to attempt, before going any further, to
define what ethics are. The following are from sources as diverse as the
Oxford English Dictionary, the New Zealand government and a business ethics
'What ought to be; the ideals of what is just, good and
'In essence, ethics is concerned with clarifying what
constitutes human welfare and the kind of conduct necessary to promote
'The department of study concerned with the principles
of human dignity'
'Giving of one's best to ensure that clients' interests
are properly cared for, but that in so doing the wider public interest
is also recognised and respected.'
Why are ethics important to a surveying firm? At the most
fundamental level, perhaps, they are important because companies (and
individuals) with clear values, and who apply those values consistently,
will be more successful than companies without such clarity. This is because
they will not put themselves in positions which later become compromising
and need time and effort to resolve. This assertion is supported by a number
of studies. In short, principled decision making is compatible with
profitable decision making.
That this should be so is perhaps clear from the issues
referred to in earlier chapters of this Guide - the public and society have
expectations of professionals and are proving more and more willing to
demand remedial action where unethical decision-making seems to be taking
place. A professional is expected to balance the needs of a client and of
society at large, thus placing an additional dimension on the
The profile of many decisions by surveying firms may be
higher than those of other professionals because of the large number of
survey decisions which impact directly on the environment, an issue
surrounded by public concern and protected by high profile pressure groups.
If ethical decision-making is compatible with business
success, and such decision-making requires consistent application of a
defensible set of values, it is evident that every survey firm requires a
clear set of values and procedures that ensure consistent application of
them by every individual in the firm. Unsurprisingly, therefore, this area
has been the subject of a variety of work by professional bodies such as FIG
and national survey associations. Most survey associations will have model
guidelines for firms, which pay particular regard to national priorities and
laws. The FIG work had the aim of providing a framework for national and
individual work. FIG Publication No 17 (Statement of ethical principles and
model code of professional conduct) sets down four ethical principles:
Care and competence; and
The text of the publication is reproduced for easy reference
in the Appendix to this Guide.
These principles will need to be considered in relation to a
number of roles of the surveyor:
As an employer;
As a supplier;
As a professional adviser;
As a member of a professional body;
As a business practitioner; and
As a manager of a range of resources.
FIG Publication No 17 outlines the key areas within each
role, and provides guidance on each of them. As with issues covered earlier
in this Guide, it is vital that the owners and senior managers of the
organisation all espouse similar priorities in this area, if a clear lead is
to be given to staff and a clear message to customers and other interest
5.3 A code of conduct for the
The need for every firm to have procedures for applying its
values can be summed up as follows: 'imagine yourself in a jungle. A guide
is essential, whereas a map is useless as you don't know where you are
There are, however, some pitfalls to be avoided when setting
down a code:
The emphasis must remain on providing frameworks which
can guide actions - any attempt to provide a comprehensive list of do's
and don'ts, covering every conceivable situation, will fail as a
situation not covered will arise!;
Actions are much more significant in determining ethical
culture than any code. The codes will not gain ownership unless the
owners and directors of a business are seen to be living by them; and
The codes must be carefully thought-out, with employees
being involved in their development, rather than knee-jerk reactions to
particular crises. The need for wide involvement is particularly
important in partnerships (a common business form for professionals), as
partners have greater freedom of action (and expectation of input) than
employees generally do.
Successful codes will, therefore, contain text such as 'we
must maintain in good order the property that we are privileged to use,
protecting the environment and natural resources' (from Johnson and
Johnson's Credo) and 'surveyors [must] avoid any appearance of professional
impropriety' (from the FIG Model Code).
What should be in a firm's ethical code? Section 5.2 above
suggests the general principles and roles that should be covered. Trying to
be more specific, the RICS Guidance Notes on Professional Ethics suggest
that clear guidelines need to be provided on the following topics:
Gifts, hospitality, bribes and inducements;
Health and safety;
Equal opportunity, discrimination and sexual harassment;
Conflicts of interest;
Disclosure of confidential company information;
Alcohol and drug abuse;
Copyright and ownership of files;
Standards in advertising;
Protection of the environment;
Relations with local communities; and
Political and social behaviour.
This should perhaps be regarded as a 'long list' of topics
that should be considered - not all subjects will be relevant for all firms,
and the profile and priority of the different items will differ between
countries and firms. Always bear in mind, however, the need to have
guidelines in place before an issue faces the firm, not to react when
We can consider the application of a code by an individual
member of staff in a particular set of circumstances as a filtering process
- the code is more likely to tell the individual how not to act than it is
to define how to act. There will be a number of filters at work. The
relative importance of these filters is likely to vary around the world -
organisational culture is, for instance, likely to be strong in the east,
and personal values strong in the west. It is therefore important that firms
take full account, when drawing up a code, of the likely issues in the
different regions in which they are likely to operate - bribery will be a
far more real issue in some countries than others, for instance.
An individual will, in a particular set of circumstances,
use the different filters to determine his or her course of action. The
relative priority of the filters becomes crucial when the answers from the
different filters conflict. In almost all cases (although less heavily in
eastern countries), personal values will be the strongest filter. Given that
many decisions will have to be taken by an individual without reference to
colleagues (and, indeed, without access to the text of the firm's ethical
code), the owners and directors of a firm need to have confidence in how the
individual will react. In an extreme case, if organisational and individual
values are too greatly in conflict, the continued employment of the
individual by the firm becomes a real issue, so this is an area which needs
to be covered when recruiting staff: the firm will generally be (rightly)
held to account for the actions of an individual member of staff.
It is, of course, a dangerous policy to leave the testing of
a code's application until the moment when it is necessary 'for real' - knee
jerk responses are likely to be a dangerous way of creating policy and
A helpful way of testing the clarity of a code, and
cross-checking it against an individual's decision-making process, is to
discuss the issues in advance. A useful technique, to ensure that the
discussion is grounded in reality rather than vague principles, is to use
examples as the basis for the discussion. A variety of examples have been
created for this purpose; they should, for best effect, be tailored to the
circumstances of the firm and the individuals in it, drawing on real
experiences that people in the firm have encountered. The FIG Working Group
on Business Practices created three dilemmas as part of its work; they
produced a range of responses from professional surveyors around the world.
They are reproduced here as a starting point in a firm's creation of such
Whilst undertaking a site survey for a private sector
client, it becomes apparent to you that the client intends to ignore
potentially serious environmental impacts of the development of the
site. You reflect on your obligations to your client and to the
community. What do you do?
As a partner in a firm of surveyors, you have
successfully won a tender for some work in a country where bribes are
considered a normal part of doing business,. In your own country, bribes
are illegal (or, at the very least, not accepted practice). Will you use
bribes to get the project completed successfully?
You have successfully tendered for a survey. Other work
means that you cannot complete the work by the required date, so you
subcontract the work to another surveyor who only charges you a small
fraction of the fee you have agreed with the client. What do you charge
Such dilemmas have proved to be a valuable tool in the
development of a firm's code of ethics, and in the ongoing development of
the code and of employees' understanding of it. This dialogic approach is
not a luxury to be taken up by a firm if individuals are interested or if
time permits - it is an essential part of running a firm, as essential as
the continuing professional development of individuals' technical skills and
Professional ethics are becoming increasingly important.
Consistent application of clear and defensible values is compatible with
business success and will avoid decisions by individual members of staff
which are catastrophic for the reputation of a firm: a reputation which has
taken years to build can be shattered in a moment.
A code of conduct is therefore a vital part of a firm's
'handbook'. Such a code needs to be created with the involvement of staff
and everyone's understanding of it needs to be continually tested - and not
through real situations! The code needs to cover the principles to be
applied in the full range of situations that employees of the firm are
likely to encounter. An individual's values will generally predominate over
the code, hence the values of an individual need to be tested during the
recruitment and development process.
A variety of material is available to a surveyor starting up
or taking over a survey firm. This includes the FIG Code of Ethics at the
Appendix to this Guide, and guidance from national survey associations. Such
guidance will provide a valuable framework for the firm's code, but it is
vital that there is clear ownership of the firm's code by the firm and its
staff - fully off-the shelf codes will not work.
Create an initial code of conduct for the firm as soon
as you start to build the firm. Use frameworks available from national
survey associations and other firms but tailor them to your firm and its
Continually test the code against situations that you
are likely to encounter, and develop it as necessary. Do this thoroughly
at least once a year
As part of staff development processes, discuss ethical
dilemmas to ensure the conformance of individuals with the code
Chrysalides, G.D. and Kaler, J.H., 1993. An Introduction
to Business Ethics. Chapman Hall. A general text on the subject.
Davies, P. W. F., 1997. Current Issues in Business
Ethics. Routledge Publishing. A number of short essays on key topics -
see particularly chapters 4 (on business and social responsibility), 7
(on ethics for professionals) and 8 (on codes of ethics).
Greenway, I., 2000. Practical Aspects of Ethics.
Proceedings of the FIG Working Week, Prague. Contains an overview of
ethical theory and some survey-related dilemmas.
Hodgson, K., 1992. A Rock and a Hard Place: How to Make
Ethical Business Decisions when the Choices are Tough. ACACOM Books. A
general text; see particularly chapter 9 on cultural differences.
Hoogsteden, C.C., 1994 (1). The Ethical Attitudes of
Professional Surveyors in New Zealand. Proceedings of the XX FIG
International Congress, Melbourne. A paper highlighting the perceived
decline in professional standards and proposing some remedial actions.
Hoogsteden, C.C., 1994 (2). Ethics Education for
Tomorrow's Professional Surveyors. Proceedings of the XX FIG
International Congress, Melbourne. Raises the issues concerning the
necessary education in this area for students of all ages.
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, 2000. Guidance
Notes on Professional Ethics. RICS. A framework helping businesses to
develop their own codes.
Trompenaars, F, 1993. Riding the Waves of Culture:
Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business. Nicholas Brealey
Publishing, London. Focuses particularly on differences between
cultures, with much empirical research.
Information and Information Technology
Information is a vital part of every manager's job. For
information to be useful, it must be accurate, timely, complete and
Information technology systems provide the hardware for
managing information. They contain five basic components:
An input medium;
A control system; and
An output medium.
Although the form varies, both manual and computerised
information systems have these components. Many organisations now use a
combination of systems software and applications software to perform key
business functions, and constantly seek greater integration across these
An organisation's information technology requirements are
determined by four factors. Two general factors are the environment and the
size of the organisation. Two specific factors are the area and level of
different users and groups of users within the organisation. Each factor
must be considered in planning an information system.
There are four basic kinds of information system:
Basic management information systems;
Decision support systems; and
Executive information systems.
Each provides certain types of information and is most
valuable for specific types of managers. Separately and together, such
systems deliver business intelligence - the processes and technology
necessary for today's business environment.
Managing information systems involves three basic elements:
Information systems affect organisations in a variety of
ways. Major influences are on performance, on the organisation itself, and
on behaviour within the organisation. There are also limitations to the
effectiveness of information systems. Managers should understand these
limitations so as not to have unrealistic expectations. It is also important
that managers deal explicitly with the issues that changes in workplace
technologies can create, and actively facilitate change.
Recent advances in information technology include
breakthroughs in telecommunications, networks and expert systems. Electronic
commerce is a rapidly growing area, and is the conduit for an increasing
share of global business transactions. The Internet and internal company
intranets are playing increasingly important roles. Clearly, such advances
will continue to enhance an organisation's ability to manage information
more effectively. The increasing rate of change, however, emphasises the
need for organisations to keep abreast of developments, and of the
opportunities and thrusts that they create, so as to make appropriate
business decisions on investments.
6.2 Managing information
Managing IT strategically in an organisation is necessary if
the organisation is to be effective and efficient in the use of its IT
resources. Managers, by referencing the principles set out in this chapter
when making IT-related decisions, will contribute to an emerging strategic
alignment that will culminate in more efficient systems and, as a result,
improved service and product delivery to the organisation's customers.
This section also describes processes for review, and
principles to facilitate changes as the organisation and external
environments change. This orientation-based approach has been described,
rather than the more traditional linear planning models, to provide
decision-makers with maximum flexibility to take initiatives, while at the
same time providing a workable, flexible and robust framework that will
foster organisational efficiency. The value it adds to the organisation's
operations lies in its articulation of principles for management
decision-making. Its success will depend on the consistency with which the
principles are applied.
6.2.1 Investment Principles
The following principles need to be applied when considering
investments in information technology.
An organisation invests in Information Technology to
support activities that generate outputs which meet the organisation's
objectives - this addresses the fundamental, underlying purpose for
choosing to invest in technology. The principle makes clear that
technology is not to be pursued as an end in itself. Rather, technology
only exists to support the organisation in achieving its desired
An organisation uses consistent business case and
project management processes to assess and implement all proposals -
this is to confirm that established frameworks and processes are used to
guide investments and to provide managers with a basis for comparing
proposals and projects. Project management standards help to ensure that
investments are translated into outcomes that are delivered on time and
Business cases, investment appraisal and project management
frameworks and processes should be used to guide and monitor IT investment
decisions. Business plans should include substantial treatment of IT
matters. These plans will form the backdrop against which initiatives and
proposals involving technology will emerge. In the same way that workforce,
risk, financial, and other planned operating parameters are assessed and
prioritised by management, technological development will grow from planning
predicated on business drivers. This will ensure that IT is used as a means
to an end (that end being business success).
6.2.2 Infrastructure Principles
There are five principles that can be adopted to describe
the setting for an organisation's Information Technology infrastructure.
An organisation reviews and defines its systems
architecture annually and creates plans for the next two generations.
An organisation's work areas and service providers are
responsible for ensuring that systems are fully compatible with the IT
An organisation grows its network to meet the needs of
Undertaking regular capacity management in
consultation with all work areas; and
Ensuring that all areas of the business undertake
regular planning that identifies emerging/predicted infrastructure
An organisation's work areas and service providers
provide resources to ensure that the IT infrastructure can support
An organisation coordinates application acquisition and
Acquiring off-the-shelf solutions and applying
Outsourcing development wherever practicable; and
Establishing coordinated acquisition processes.
The first two principles focus on the need to establish
standards for the technical operating environment. The second principle
outlines the obligation of businesses and service providers to match
technology development to agreed standards.
The third principle specifies the manner in which an
organisation will ensure that its network will continue to meet the needs of
the business and service providers. The fourth principle commits the entire
organisation to ensuring that adequate resources are provided to build and
maintain an infrastructure that can deliver reasonable levels of service.
The fifth principle deals with the purchase and management of applications.
6.2.3 Data Principles
Most organisations invest significant resources into
creating, maintaining and analysing large amounts of data. Principles
applicable to data are:
An organisation's work areas and service providers
manage data assets by observing organisation-wide policies that satisfy
business needs and priorities.
An organisation's work areas and service providers
manage data within an accountability framework that includes their
Ensure the quality, integrity, security and
reliability of data;
Actively work to ensure that existing data sets are
Formalise data exchange agreements;
Profile data to determine appropriate levels of
security and access; and
Adhere to organisation-wide metadata standards.
The first principle mandates an adherence to organisational
policies and priorities. The second principle outlines a data management
accountability framework. The framework references the need to develop and
adhere to data management rules and best practice standards, metadata
standards and data exchange agreements.
Any organisation managing data must pay particular attention
to security. This is in terms of preventing unauthorised access to
information, requirements and legislation covering data protection and
individuals' right to privacy, and copyright. These considerations will
often place restrictions on the way that data can be used and shared, and it
is vital that organisations fully investigate such issues at an early stage.
6.2.4 Organisation Principles
An organisation needs to commit itself to matching
investment in technology with investment in skill development.
Organisational principles are:
An organisation expects its staff to be competent,
responsible and effective in their use of Information Technology
An organisation should provide a supportive IT
environment for staff by:
Ensuring staff have access to appropriate tools;
Ensuring staff are adequately trained and have
attained relevant competency levels; and
Ensuring staff have opportunities for continuous
improvement and access to support.
The first principle makes it clear that performance
expectations of all staff include attaining (relevant) technical
competencies. Responsible use of computing facilities is also contained
within this principle. An organisation's expectation is that staff will
understand and apply security, efficiency and other operating principles
whenever using technical resources. The second principle outlines the
elements that are to be put in place to ensure that staff can use computing
facilities efficiently and effectively.
Identify the application systems of importance to the
organisation and ensure that they are managed and maintained to provide
ongoing business support and that they can be supported into the future
Assess the need and potential for integration of
multiple application systems so as to streamline business activity, and
the possible challenges offered by technological developments; build
this into business planning activity
Ensure that clear organisational policies and standards
shape IT developments and investment, and that staff are trained in the
skills necessary to make best use of the systems
Rigorously review business drivers (i.e. identify which
business objectives are driving the project) before committing
Assess the scope of any IT project, including:
Goals and objectives;
Description of geographic scope;
Deliverable scope; and
before commencing investment, to ensure that it is appropriate to
the business's aims and that the aims are deliverable
Department of Natural Resources and Environment, State
Government of Victoria, Australia. Managing IT strategically. October
1999. A general guidance document.
Edwards, C., Ward, J. and Bytheway, A., 1995. The
Essence of Information Systems. Prentice Hall. A general text on these
issues - see particularly chapter 4 on integrating business and IT
This chapter highlights some other issues of importance to
Previous chapters have highlighted the need for a business
to work within a social context and the need for clear statements of
corporate ethics. These issues are, in many governance models, the
responsibility of the Board, which often also takes overall responsibility
for strategic planning and major investment decisions. Any business must
consider, at an early stage, how it wants to organise high-level
decision-making and guardianship. Such arrangements must not be unduly
top-heavy or restrictive. A variety of studies, however, have emphasised the
need for accountability within a firm, providing the healthy tensions
internally rather than in the public eye. Such accountability is generally
created by a separation of duties between the managers of a company and its
Board, which will often contain a majority of outsiders (Non-Executive
Directors) who can provide the external objectivity which can get lost in
day-to-day business. Small businesses might dislike such formality, and may
wish instead to have a small number of individuals who can act as a
'sounding board' and review body, providing an extra dimension to strategic
decisions. The appropriate arrangements for any business are for that
business and its owners to determine, within the constraints of legal
Hudson, M, 1995. Managing without profit. Penguin. See
particularly chapter 2 which explores various governance models, much of
which is relevant beyond the not-for-profit sector.
The development and remuneration of staff has been mentioned
in a number of chapters. This is an issue which can vary greatly in essence
and priority between countries and cultures. It is never, however, an issue
that can be ignored - staff are the most vital asset of a company, and it is
their actions which create corporate reputation (good or bad). Key issues
Ensuring at recruitment stage that potential employees
will 'fit' with existing staff, provide the skills needed for the
business to achieve its goals, and have similar ethical attitudes to
those of the business;
Providing sufficient, suitable training for each member
of staff to deliver the skills needed for the tasks in hand, and to
allow achievement of each individual's realistic aspirations for a
career path; and
Setting out remuneration arrangements for staff which
will motivate them and will ensure visible linkages between business
success and individual reward. Such rewards will be significantly wider
than simply monetary payment.
It is trite, but nonetheless true, that motivated staff will
The legal issues facing a company will vary significantly
from country to country. It is vital, therefore, that they are investigated
fully when setting up a business so that their consequences can be properly
factored into decisions, and that changes are regularly monitored.
Particular aspects include:
Health and safety;
Data protection and privacy;
Professional indemnity insurance;
Tax regulations; and
Liability and its limitation.
In many cases, the law will provide a 'floor' of minimum
standards, with good practice being a higher level of conformance. In this
regard, national and international standards (both official - from
standardisation bodies such as ISO and the International Valuation Standards
Committee - and de facto) will provide a further guide to
requirements and expectations. The use of and conformance to standards is
not generally mandatory. Many contracts will, however, require such
conformance - and, given that standards are designed to enshrine sensible
best practice, they may provide a solid guide for a business. National
professional associations will generally be able to provide information on
As legal issues will vary so much between countries and
regions, it is difficult to provide references for this topic.
Extract from FIG Publication No 17 (Statement of Ethical Principles and
Model Code of Professional Practice. Full text is available from
- The surveying profession is recognised globally as one that adheres to
fundamental ethical principles.
- The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) recognises that, due
to international differences of culture, language, and legal and social
systems, the task of preparing a detailed code of professional conduct
must rest with each member association, which also has the responsibility
to implement and enforce such a code.
- FIG also recognises that, given the global mobility of surveyors, it
is important to establish common ethical principles and codes of
professional conduct. As part of its role in providing guidance and
encouraging the harmonisation of standards, FIG offers this model code.
- A professional is distinguished by certain characteristics including:
- mastery of a particular intellectual skill, acquired by education
- acceptance of duties to society in addition to duties to clients and
- an outlook that is essentially objective; and
- the rendering of personal service to a high standard of conduct and
- Professional surveyors recognise that their ethical responsibilities
extend to the public, to their clients and employers, to their peers and
to their employees. Accordingly they acknowledge the need for integrity,
independence, care and competence, and a sense of duty. They uphold and
advance these values by:
- supporting and participating in the continuing development of the
- serving with honesty and forthrightness and within areas of their
- using their expertise for the enhancement of society and the
stewardship of resources.
- FIG recommends that surveyors and associations of surveyors adopt the
following ethical principles and model codes of professional conduct or,
where appropriate, adapt them to local values and customs.
- maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity towards those
with whom they come into contact, either directly or indirectly; and
- accurately and conscientiously measure, record and interpret all data
and offer impartial advice based thereon.
- diligently and faithfully execute their role according to the law; and
- maintain their objectivity and give their clients and employers
unbiased advice, without prejudice or favour either towards or against
other organisations or persons.
Care and competence
- maintain their knowledge and skills, keep abreast of developments in
their fields of practice and apply their expertise for the benefit of
- only take on work that they reasonably believe they will be able to
carry out in a professional manner; and
- exercise care in the performance of their duties.
- maintain confidentiality about the affairs of their current and former
clients and employers unless required by law to make disclosures;
- avoid conflicts of interest;
- take environmental concerns into account in their operations and
- recognise the interests of the public when providing services to their
clients or employers; and
- conduct their work to the best of their ability, giving due
consideration to the rights of all parties.
THE PUBLIC INTEREST
- The first duty of surveyors is normally to their clients or employers
but as professionals they also have a duty to the public. Surveyors are
fact finders and providers of opinions and advice. It is important that
they are diligent, competent, impartial and of unquestionable integrity in
ensuring that the information they provide is true and complete and that
the opinions and advice that they give are of the highest quality.
- The work of surveyors has cumulative and long term effects on future
generations. Many of the functions of surveyors, even those performed for
private clients, are by their nature functions that have a lasting impact
on society. Most information becomes public information at some point in
time and may be used for purposes other than those for which it was
initially intended. The information recorded by early surveyors and
explorers has, for example, subsequently been used for the expansion of
geographical knowledge and for land development. Similarly, land
management systems designed for today create an environment in which
future generations will live, work and play. The principles of sustainable
development require surveyors to work as much for the future as for the
- Clients, employers and the public must be confident that surveyors
have exercised objectivity in arriving at their professional opinions.
These obligations may sometimes appear to be in conflict with the
obligations that surveyors owe to their clients, their employers and their
peers. Surveyors have a duty to the truth, even when it may not be in the
best interest of their clients or employers.
- All surveyors, whether they be private practitioners, employees in the
private sector, public servants or educators, should discharge their
professional duties and adhere to ethical principles in accordance with
the following model code of professional conduct.
MODEL CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
FIG recommends the following code of conduct as the minimum to be
expected of all professional surveyors.
In general, surveyors:
- exercise unbiased independent professional judgement;
- act competently and do not accept assignments that are outside the
scope of their professional competence;
- advance their knowledge and skills by participating in relevant
programmes of continuing professional development;
- ensure that they understand the fundamental principles involved when
working in new areas of expertise, conducting thorough research and
consulting with other experts as appropriate; and
- do not accept assignments that are beyond their resources to
complete in a reasonable time and in a professional manner.
- As employers, surveyors:
- assume responsibility for all work carried out by their professional
and non-professional staff;
- assist their employees to achieve their optimum levels of technical
or professional advancement;
- ensure that their employees have proper working conditions and
equitable remuneration; and
- cultivate in their employees integrity and an understanding of the
professional obligations of surveyors to society.
- When dealing with clients, surveyors:
- avoid any appearance of professional impropriety;
- disclose any potential conflicts of interest, affiliations or prior
involvement that could affect the quality of service to be provided;
- avoid associating with any persons or enterprises of doubtful
- do not receive remuneration for one project from multiple sources
without the knowledge of the parties involved;
- preserve the confidences and regard as privileged all information
about their clients' affairs; and
- maintain confidentiality during as well as after the completion of
- When providing professional services, surveyors:
- seek remuneration commensurate with the technical complexity, level
of responsibility and liability for the services rendered;
- make no fraudulent charges for services rendered;
- provide details on the determination of remuneration at the request
of their clients; and
- do not sign certificates, reports or plans unless these were
prepared and completed under their personal supervision.
- As members of a professional association, surveyors:
- do not enter into arrangements that would enable unqualified persons
to practise as if they were professionally qualified;
- report any unauthorised practice to the governing body of the
- refuse to advance the application for professional status of any
person known to be unqualified by education, experience or character;
- promote the surveying profession to clients and the public.
- As business practitioners, surveyors:
- do not make false or misleading statements in advertising or other
- do not, either directly or indirectly, act to undermine the
reputation or business prospects of other surveyors;
- do not supplant other surveyors under agreement with their clients;
- do not establish branch offices that purport to be under the
direction and management of a responsible professional surveyor unless
this is actually the case.
- As resource managers, surveyors:
- approach environmental concerns with perception, diligence and
- develop and maintain a reasonable level of understanding of
environmental issues and the principles of sustainable development;
- bring any matter of concern relating to the physical environment and
sustainable development to the attention of their clients or employers;
- employ the expertise of others when their knowledge and ability are
inadequate for addressing specific environmental issues;
- include the costs of environmental protection and remediation among
the essential factors used for project evaluation;
- ensure that environmental assessment, planning and management are
integrated into projects that are likely to impact on the environment;
- encourage additional environmental protection when the benefits to
society justify the costs.