The APMP’s Unfair Treatment of Baachu Scribble: How APMP Failed to Follow Cialdini’s Principles of Influence and Caused Harm to a Valued ATO?

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Baskar Sundaram

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As an organization that prides itself on promoting the highest standards of professionalism in the proposal and tender management, it is deeply concerning to see the Association for Project Management Professionals (APMP) fail to follow its own best practices in its treatment of Baachu Scribble Approved Training Organization (ATO). In this article, we will examine how APMP violated each of Professor Cialdini’s 6 principles of influence in its handling of the Baachu Scribble ATO case.

As an APMP Approved Training Organization (ATO), Baachu Scribble has always been a strong supporter of the APMP and its mission to promote best practices in proposal and bid management. However, despite our dedication to the organization and our efforts to provide high-quality training to our students, we have recently experienced discrimination and bias at the hands of the APMP Board of Directors

At the heart of this issue is a violation of the APMP’s own best practices in the tendering process. As a leading authority on bid and proposal management, the APMP preaches the importance of transparency, fairness, and objectivity in the tendering process. However, in their handling of the Baachu Scribble case, the APMP Board of Directors has failed to follow these principles and has instead demonstrated a clear bias against our organization.

Professor Cialdini’s 6 principles of influence are:

  1. Authority: People tend to follow those who are perceived as experts or authorities on a subject.
  2. Reciprocity: People feel obligated to give back when someone does something for them.
  3. Scarcity: People want things more when they are scarce or in limited supply.
  4. Liking: People are more likely to comply with requests from people they like or have a positive relationship with.
  5. Social proof: People look to the actions of others to guide their own behavior.
  6. Consistency: People want to be consistent with their past actions and beliefs.

First, let’s examine the principle of authority. As an authority on proposal and bid management, the APMP has a responsibility to uphold the highest standards of fairness and transparency. By failing to follow their own best practices and instead demonstrating bias against Baachu Scribble, the APMP Board of Directors is violating this principle and undermining their own credibility as an authority in the field.

APMP’s own tender best practices state that the selection process for ATOs should be “transparent, objective, and impartial.” Yet, the process leading up to the revocation of Baachu Scribble’s ATO status was anything but transparent. Despite repeated requests for an independent Professional Ethics Committee (PEC) hearing, the hearing that eventually took place was presided over by the APMP Executive Committee, rather than a panel of independent jurors. This lack of impartiality calls into question the legitimacy of the decision made by the hearing panel.

Lets examine the principle of reciprocity. Baachu Scribble had been a long-standing member of APMP and had consistently followed the rules and guidelines set forth by the organization. In return, Baachu Scribble had expected to be treated fairly and with respect. However, the APMP Board of Directors (BoD) failed to uphold their end of the reciprocity agreement when they chose to revoke Baachu Scribble’s ATO status without sufficient evidence or justification. The BoD did not provide Baachu Scribble with the opportunity to defend themselves or present their side of the story before making their decision. This lack of due process goes against the principle of reciprocity, as Baachu Scribble was not given the same level of consideration and respect that they had shown to APMP.

Furthermore, the restrictions and penalties imposed on Baachu Scribble by the BoD were excessive and disproportionate to the alleged wrongdoing. These actions caused significant financial and reputational harm to Baachu Scribble, further violating the principle of reciprocity.

It is essential that organizations like APMP uphold the principle of reciprocity in their interactions with their members. By failing to do so, they risk damaging their reputation and alienating those who have supported them.

Next, let’s consider the principle of scarcity. Baachu Scribble was a popular ATO, with over 1,600 students. As one of only a handful of ATOs that offer both Practitioner and Capture Practitioner certifications, the removal of Baachu Scribble from the APMP ATO list has had a significant impact on both current students and those looking to pursue APMP certifications in the future. The decision to revoke Baachu Scribble’s ATO status has effectively created a scarcity of options for individuals seeking these advanced certifications especially in emerging economies.

APMP’s revocation of Baachu Scribble’s ATO status, effective immediately and retroactively, has had significant financial and reputational consequences for the company. The heavy-handed approach of the APMP board, without providing evidence or following proper governance procedures, goes against the principle of scarcity by causing unnecessary harm to Baachu Scribble.

Our students, now fear that they will not have access to the high-quality training that they have come to expect from us. By creating this sense of scarcity, the APMP is manipulating the emotions of our students and undermining the trust that they have placed in our organization.

Moving on to the principle of liking, it is worth noting that Baachu Scribble has consistently demonstrated its commitment to the APMP community through its contributions of podcasts, webinars, and conference presentations. Yet, despite this history, Baachu Scribble was treated unfairly and with disrespect, undermining the principle of liking. The decision to revoke Baachu Scribble’s ATO status seems to fly in the face of this positive relationship and the value that Baachu Scribble has brought to the APMP community.

The principle of social proof is another area where APMP has failed in its handling of the Baachu Scribble case. With over 100 positive testimonials from satisfied Baachu Scribble students, this ATO has a strong track record of delivering high-quality training. Despite this, the APMP has chosen to revoke Baachu Scribble’s ATO status, ignoring the voices and experiences of its own community. Baachu Scribble was singled out and treated unfairly compared to other ATOs. This lack of parity goes against the principle of social proof and creates an unfair dynamic within the APMP community.

Finally, let’s consider the principle of consistency. By upholding the original decision to revoke Baachu Scribble’s ATO status, APMP has demonstrated a lack of consistency in its own processes. If the organization’s intention was to handle this matter quietly, as stated in the December 20th letter, then why was the decision to revoke Baachu Scribble’s ATO status made retroactive to the original revocation date? This inconsistency calls into question the fairness and impartiality of the decision-making process.

By failing to provide clear evidence for their decision to revoke our ATO status and by not following proper governance procedures, the APMP Board of Directors is demonstrating a lack of consistency in their actions.

In conclusion, APMP’s treatment of Baachu Scribble demonstrates a lack of adherence to Professor Cialdini’s principles of influence.The removal of Baachu Scribble as an ATO will not only impact current students, but also potential future students seeking these certifications. The organization’s actions, including the denial of an independent PEC hearing, inconsistency in the evaluation process, unequal treatment of ATOs, and harm caused to Baachu Scribble, call into question APMP’s commitment to following its own best practices and promoting ethical behaviour in the industry.

We call on the APMP Board of Directors to reconsider their decision and to follow their own principles of fairness and transparency in their dealings with Baachu Scribble and to ensure that such abuses of power do not occur again in the future. It is only through such principles that we can build a truly inclusive and supportive community within the proposal management profession.

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