48 • Ethics and Project Management
Two, because it provides a common structure for a profession, it oers
the potential for a common language from a disciplinary standpoint.
Whether one speaks Chinese, Swahili, English, or Yiddish, the terms used
in the code of ethics have a similar meaning, albeit with dierences in
interpretation. All nationalities at least have vocabulary that is considered
acceptable at a certain level of abstraction.
ree, it provides a way to deal with ethical situations that are grayer
rather than black and white. Situations arise that are not always clear and
that require judgment. A code of ethics provides help in making decisions
and taking the right action under such circumstances. While logic and
intuition are helpful, a professional sometimes faces situations that require
the use of a code of ethics to help provide direction.
Four, it provides a sense of community among people in a discipline.
Regardless of location or ethnicity, a code of ethics serves as a way to bridge
the gap among them. ey adhere to the same principles, to the same tools
and techniques, and to a common vocabulary. It may seem to create a
camaraderie or esprit de corps among the members of the profession.
Five, it provides guidelines for disciplining members of the profession
who fail to adhere to the contents of the code. e principles, standards,
and guidelines oer a way to determine what is acceptable and not accept-
able according to the code. Transgressions of the code lay the groundwork
for removing people who fail to live up to its creed.
Six, it keeps the profession alive, meaning that it furthers and encour-
ages dialogue over issues and circumstances that would ordinarily lose
visibility among the members of the community. Conferences and pub-
lications help to provide that visibility through the discussions of issues
and circumstances, especially those dealing with ethics, in the forefront
of people’s minds. is benet encourages greater dialogue and sharing of
insights, which contributes to the knowledge base of the entire discipline.
Finally, it enables the transfer of principles and knowledge from one
generation of members of a discipline to the next. It provides continu-
ity in dealing with issues and circumstances in a way that capitalizes on
acceptable standards and guidelines. In other words, each generation of
a discipline does not have to reinvent everything, leading to meaningless
trial and error and sometimes needless frustration and misery. Instead,
each succeeding generation can benet from the principles of the previous
one when dealing with ethical issues and circumstances.