2 • Ethics and Project Management
• “e study of ethics generally consists of examination of right, wrong,
good, evil, virtue, duty, obligation, rights, justice, fairness, and so on,
in human relationships with each other and other living things.”
• “Ethics involves judgments about the rightness or wrongness of
ese denitions seem to center around certain characteristics that are
addressed by the topic of ethics in general:
• Determining good from bad. Frequently, that means choosing right
from wrong. An example is determining when a particular action on
your part or that of a team member needs to be addressed.
• Judgment. As a project manager, you oen have to decide whether to
make a decision about an ethical situation or whether to take action
and to what degree. An example would be determining whether to
elevate an ethical situation to higher management for resolution.
• Behavior. Ethical beliefs are exhibited values that are reected
through action. In other words, beliefs and values inuence behavior.
You and your team members reect ethics through the ways you and
the others make decisions and how you go about executing them. An
example would be whether an ethical decision is made unilaterally
or through the consultation of other team members.
• Ethical situations. Some of these situations involve dealing with
adverse topics, adding a level of complexity that other project man-
agement topics address. For example, calculating earned value is
straightforward; addressing a situation that injures a person’s repu-
tation is not that black and white.
• Determining the appropriate response to a given situation. is
requires looking at a number of options and choosing the right
one that eectively resolves an issue. Determining an appropriate
response requires wrestling with issues like fairness, integrity, objec-
tivity, honesty, and appropriateness. Tied closely to judgment, proj-
ect managers must respond in such a manner that requires taking
the high road, which in this case is choosing a response commensu-
rate with the circumstances. An example is bringing attention to an
Joanne B. Cuilla, Ethics: e Heart of Leadership (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998), p. 4.
Craig E. Johnson, Ethics in the Workplace: Tools and Tactics for Organizational Transformation
(ousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2007), p. xxii.