What Role Did The Collective NIGP Membership Play In The #CodeGate Scandal? by Jon Hansen

Posted on May 12, 2015


Collective guilt is particularly interesting, because it can lead to pro-social behaviors (such as apologies or restitution to injured groups), but also can motivate people to turn a blind eye to their own groups’s past misdeeds. – Elliot R. Smith, Indiana University

According to multiple sources, the industry buzz regarding Procurement Insights’ coverage of #CodeGate is that almost everyone in the procurement world is – to varying degrees – following this story.

Given that the blog’s number of reads has nearly tripled since the first post in the series was published at the end of March, it is fair to conclude that there is significant interest. The fact that the average number of articles read by each visitor hit an all time high of 4.62 last week, demonstrates that said interest is not cursory or passing. In short, people are taking the time to read what has been written beyond the first post.

This being said, the paucity of comments has been raised on more than one occasion. What is most perplexing to those who broach the topic is that no one is stepping up to the plate to defend the NIGP, or for that matter any of the other associations I have investigated.

I never really thought about it, as my view of comments is that while welcome they can, as Seth Godin once put it, become a distraction from the main story, leading one down a proverbial rabbit hole. This being said, I must admit that I did find it interesting that there were no sharp barbs of derision for what I have written. Again, the numbers clearly show that this isn’t due to an absence of interest.

So why the silence?

Earlier today, it was suggested to me that like the four NIGP Officers who, when asked about their role in approving Rick Grimm’s compensation package, responded with a somewhat evasive “no comment”,  most feel either a sense of embarrassment or collective guilt over what has happened.

In other words, they see the NIGP scandal, as well as the questions that have been raised regarding other associations, as being a poor reflection on the profession overall, as opposed to specific individuals.

It is an interesting idea.

However not everyone agrees with this perspective.

Mark Hager, who is associate professor of philanthropic studies in the School of Community Resources and Development at Arizona State University, and the co-author of 10 Ways to Kill Your Nonprofit, offered his thoughts in a Twitter discussion with both myself, and Buyers Meeting Point’s Kelly Barner.

In one of his Tweets Hager writes “I think watchdogs are really valuable. But I fear that members care nothing about internal operations of assns.”

Hager Tweet

When I Tweeted “Doesn’t that come back to bite them i.e.lost creditability for the association = loss for the profession?”, Hager responded; “I’d say depends on who notices and degree of spin. Very few members care. Exec can stonewall all day long.”

Hager Tweet2

I then Tweeted, “With coverage my reads have tripled & still rising, yet few comments.Interest w/fear of speaking up?”

watching 2

While I would encourage you to join the dialogue and offer your thoughts on the above Twitter discussion using the #CodeGate hashtag, this all raises a simple question; Is it fear, apathy or a sense of collective guilt that keeps all but a few sitting silently on the sidelines?

A question of even greater importance is whether member silence in the past was a contributing factor that ultimately led to the #CodeGate scandal? After all, if those involved never thought that anyone would notice what they were doing or, challenge them if they did . . .

Just started following the NIGP #CodeGate story? Use the following link to access the Post Archive; https://procureinsights.wordpress.com/nigp-codegate/

Follow my coverage of this story on Twitter using the hashtags #missbid and #CodeGate

On The Go? You can also listen to the audio version of this post as well as others through @Umano https://umano.me/jhansen