Fundamental norms and principles

Excerpt of the GAPSM compendium – Chapter 2 1

The Sound Management fundamental principles and their implementing norms.
They are represented by cells 1 to 6 from the Sound Management matrix. The Sound Management principles and norms gathered in this compendium represent a credible reference guide for the managers and leaders who want to ensure a Sound management in their organizations.

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Chapter 2 – Basic Norms and Principles of Sound Management

2.1 Generalities  

2.1 (1) The management principles and norms which are defined in this chapter form the basis and the prerequisites of sound management in businesses and organizations. Transparency, continuity, efficiency, balance, fairness and abnegation are values that most serve as models and ideals for the manager when exercising his functions. In this chapter, these principles are not necessarily treated by order of importance.

We understand that the science of management is in constant evolution and it is therefore difficult, if not impossible to circumscribe all the human, social and cultural dimensions that motivate a manager to take any administrative action. On the other hand, given the circumstances where such administrative action is taken on behalf of third parties by a manager who represents or replaces them, simple morals cannot suffice to justify such action.

Sound management is no more and no less than the generally accepted notion of managing as a “bonus pater familias” or as a “reasonable and prudent person”, enriched with principles that take into consideration the modern tools and circumstances of administration.

We remind the reader that the following principles must be interpreted as ideals, which are achieved through respecting and applying· each of these principles in their entirety. The reader, therefore, shall understand that a manager must above all, try and act according to these principles.

2.1 (2) Notwithstanding paragraph 2.1 (1), some of the principles presented hereunder have become more than an ideal. In these cases, such principles produce norms which are, for the most part, ratified by the law or acknowledged by the courts.

2.1 (3) The principles of sound management cannot be exercised in contradiction with the law, public order and morals.


2.2 (1) “Transparency”: The quality of the individual who presents reality in its entirety, without alteration or bias. No other principle is more virtuous than the transparency of ‘an administrative act made by a manager who exercises power on behalf of someone from whom such power originates. The one who is empowered with this task must render account for their actions to the individual who demanded the request.

2.2 (2) Essentially, it can be said that a manager must render account of his administration; whether to his principal, to a person, or to a group designated by this principal, for example: to a board of directors, to a supervisory committee, or to an auditor.

2.2 (3) Within the confines permitted by the principal and who does not suffer as a result of bias, the manager must also act in a transparent way with third parties or with subordinates who may be affected by his actions.

2.2 (4) Transparency, therefore, implies making information available to third parties, including members of one’s own organization, in order to ensure sound management.

2.2 (5) Managers must disclose to the principle their personal, financial interests, as well as those of their immediate family (as defined in subsection 1.2 (5.1)) likely to affect their work or their functions. (28-04-1998)



2.3 (1) “Continuity”: A characteristic which enables the administration to fulfill their objectives without interruption. Continuity implies the obligation by the representative to ensure the transfer of all powers as well as all that he has access to, in exercising the powers vested in him.

The continuity implies a long-term vision of the companies and organizations. To practice the sound management, the manager must choose among the available solutions favouring the survival or the long-term development of the organization. In sound management, reaching short-term objectives mustn’t endanger the future viability.


Management continuity

2.3 (2) The organization must survive those who manage it. The manager receives, implicitly or explicitly, a mandate to manage for a given period of time. Whether this period is determined or expires with or against his will, the manager must take those measures be finds necessary, or those that are proposed to him, from time to time during his mandate, to ensure sound management for whatever the administrative level he is responsible.

2.3 (3) Upon the expiry of his mandate, he must supply to a reasonable extent, with diligence and good faith, his availability and his co-operation for the transfer of information necessary to the shift of powers.

2.3 (4) The manager, aware of the principle of continuity, will not act in bad faith, will not withhold at any time information or documents, or will not create any illicit situation that would make impossible his dismissal or the termination of his mandate, without causing severe prejudice to the principle or to the organization.

2.3 (5) In order to ensure continuity in his administration, the manager must: prepare his files, retain notes, memos, minutes, and reports of working committees or others, and ensure that they are transferred to the shift of powers. He must also make sure that his main assistants and subordinates know the ropes of the administration of which he is responsible.

Organization’s continuity

2.3 (6) Except for those organizations and companies established only for a temporary mission or an ad hoc project, the success of an organization and its managers is measured by the capacity to repeat or maintain the success as time goes on. Managers must, therefore, implement an infrastructure favouring the development and growth of the organization.

2.3 (7) To ensure the organization’s continuity, managers must implement the appropriate mechanisms according to the circumstances, aiming at solving conflicts and preventing the organization’s activities from being interrupted.

2.3 (8) Managers must manage by anticipating that their mandate could end before achieving the success and reaching the objectives of his mission.



2.4 (1) “Efficiency”: The quality that combines the characteristics of effectiveness, which are the achievement of results as well as good management of resources in administrative acts. A manager is efficient if he achieves optimal return while maintaining minimal utilization of resources.

2.4 (2) The manager, aware of the limitations of every resource , must systematically be concerned with efficiency by exercising his functions with diligence and to the best of his knowledge, make minimum use of those resources which have been trusted within him in order to optimise the achievement of anticipated results.

2.4 (3) The blatant absence of such a systematic pursuit for an effective management of resources constitutes negligence, an error which will be detrimental to the principals, who have entrusted in his care the management of their resources.

2.4 (4) Moreover, the efficient utilization of resources must not be done at the expense of, or injustice to third parties or subordinates, such as the quality of life or the respect of the environment.

2.4 (5) Efficiency is an essential quality of the manager, and an attribute of sound management.



2.5 (1) “Balance”: A form of stability arising from an equal proportion of opposite forces and ideas. Harmony is a result of balance and it contributes to the sound management of businesses. A manager demonstrates his balance, in exercising his powers, through the unbiased choice of the means made available to him and of the actions he must take to achieve his objectives or anticipated results.

2.5 (2) The manager also demonstrates his balance through the fair and dynamic utilization of means in relation with available resources, constraints and limits. This balance is performed within a business environment that is in constant evolution.


2.5 (3) To ensure sound management, the manager must differentiate between means and ends.

2.5 (4) To ensure the sound management, managers must avoid using inadequate resources that wouldn’t match the objectives and the results aimed.

2.5 (5) To ensure balance, managers must implement mechanisms allowing proceeding with and counterbalancing an exercise of power. This norm doesn’t aim at diluting power, but at attributing functions according to the different skills and competencies.



2.6 (1) “Fairness”: The characteristic of what is fundamentally fair. Basic principles exist which must govern every action that an individual undertakes or makes. These principles imply and yield effects towards other individuals. Many of these. Applications are enshrined within the CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES (lA), in the HUMAN RIGHTS ACT OF CANADA (IB) and in the QUEBEC CHARTER OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES (2) and must serve as a rule of conduct to every manager towards individuals in every situation, to ensure a quality of sound management to the organization or to the business.

It must be understood that this norm originates from a group of principles known as the “Rule of Law” which were founded to prevent the abusive or arbitrary exercise of power.


2.6 (2) The principle of fairness implies a fair and equal treatment of every individual, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, color, sex, pregnancy, sexual preference, civil status, age except as provided otherwise in the law, religion, political convictions, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition, handicap or use of aides to overcome this handicap. Any such discrimination is illegal, forbidden, and contrary to sound management practices.

2.6 (3) No one may discriminate with employment, training, duration of a probation period, professional education, promotion, transfer, moving, lay-off, suspension, dismissal or working conditions of a person as well as when establishing employment categories or classifications.

2.6 (4) No one may dismiss, deny employment or otherwise penalise a person within the scope of their employment in the event they have been found guilty or has admitted their guilt for a penal or criminal act, if such act is not related to their employment or if this person has been granted pardon.

2.6 (5) Every employer must provide equal treatment or wages, without discrimination, to members of his personnel who perform similar work within the same location.

2.6 (6) Notwithstanding paragraph 2.6 (5), discrimination is not applicable where a difference in treatment or wages is based on experience, seniority, length of service, appraisal on merit, volume of production or overtime, if such criteria are common to all members of personnel.

2.6 (7) Departing from paragraphs 2.6 (2) through 2.6 (6), the law stipulates as non discriminatory a distinction, exclusion or preference based on the capacity or quality required for employment, or which is justified by the charitable, philanthropic, religious., political or educational characteristics of a non profit institution or of an organization which is devoted exclusively to the welfare of an ethnic group.


2.6 (8) It is the manager’s responsibility to ensure that the working environment is not affected by embarrassing, uneasy situations, as well as harassment or humiliation related to different types of discrimination forbidden by law.

2.6 (9) It is the managers’ responsibility to use all the necessary means to prevent all forms of psychological or physical harassment and to stop such practices as soon as they are aware of them. (30-06-2005)



2.7 (1) “Abnégation”: The quality of a person who foregoes, in favour of the organization, any personal advantage or interest other than that which bas been contractually or explicitly granted to them in the performance of their managerial functions.

2.7 (2) To ensure sound management, in performing their functions, managers must subordinate their interests and devote themselves to safe-keeping the organization’s total assets.

2.7 (2.1) There is a potential or real conflict when the manager’s personal interests come up against those of the organization.


2.7 (2.2) Managers can’t either make use of their authority to claim personal advantages for themselves or behave as if every person who is reasonably well-informed could do so.

2.7 (3) Managers may not place themselves in a situation of potential or real conflict between their own interests and those of the organization they have to manage.

2.7 (4) If occasion arises, managers must prevent or disclose to the affected parties all potential or real conflicts of interest resulting from economic or financial interests outside the company or organization, or from gifts granted or received while performing their duties.

2.7 (5) Managers have to ensure that there are definite agreements, preferably written, making reference officially to salaries, rights, as well as other benefits invested in executives and employees.

2.7 (6) Aware of the functions they have been vested, managers must analyse all of their interests, activities and relations so that their job doesn’t involve a potential or real conflict of interests. (28-04-1998)

2.7 (7) Managers shouldn’t have financial interests likely to come up against their tasks and responsibilities.

1 Excerpt of the compendium gathering the OAAQ’s generally accepted Sound Management principles. The complete version of the compendium is available as part of the book Le cadre de Saine Gestion, un modèle de gouvernance intégrée, published by CCH in 2007.We thank Mr. Bernard Brault F.Adm.A F.CMC, who as a main author and licensee for the use and publication of these principles , agreed for us to share the legal foundation of the Sound Management concept with our readers.

All rights reserved © 2013: Any reproduction in part or whole for personal purposes is permitted. Its commercial and professional use is permitted only as reference, as long as the norm or principle referred to is associated to the OAAQ and Bernard Brault.