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Ethics and Project Management by Ralph L. Kliem, PMP

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187
8
Ethics, Globalization,
and Project Management
e world of project management has changed in many respects. Projects
are oen no longer isolated events but rather a signicant part of a com-
pany’s success or failure, not just on a local level but an international level,
too. Many projects now have a global dimension to them that also makes
ethics a complicated concern for stakeholders on a project. Globalization
in this context means that there is considerable integration among a wide
number of people, processes, systems, and data that transcends national
boundaries to generate a prot for a company.
8.1 IMPORTANTFACTORS
e relationship among project management, globalization, and ethics is
complicated because of a number of factors:
e competition has become more numerous, not just from other
companies but from other countries.
e time to market has accelerated. e company that delivers the earli-
est has the advantage of meeting customer needs and beating copycats.
Quality has increased; many international companies adopt Six
Sigma to deliver products and results that reduce rework and satisfy
the needs of the customer.
e development costs must drop to stay competitive, putting pres-
sure to deliver at lower cost.
On top of all that, pressure grows to increase shareholder value to
ensure sucient returns to investors.
188  •  Ethics and Project Management
Translated, all of this means that project managers must deliver faster,
better, and cheaper. is pressure paves the way for ethical dilemmas in a
global environment.
8.2 KEYDIMENSIONS
A project manager must consider several overlapping dimensions when
working on international projects that can inuence what is considered an
ethical issue or transgression (Figure8.1):
1. Sociological dimension of international projects: is dimension deals
with topics like cultural aspects, such as religious holidays, beliefs
and values, management and working styles, business and social
protocols, perceptions of time, quality of life, risk and uncertainty,
and perceptions of time and space.
2. Political and legal dimension: is pertains to the governing institu-
tions of a society: is dimension deals with topics like law, regu-
lations, political participation, and others principally centered on
International
Dimensions
Ge ographical
Infrastructure
Political
and
Legal
Economic
Sociological
FIGURE 8.1
Ethical dimensions in the international environment.
Ethics, Globalization, and Project Management  •  189
the role of government; how it relates to internal constituencies and
external parties; perceptions of ownership of enterprises and prots;
government bureaucracy; and local acceptance of foreign powers.
3. Economic dimension: is pertains to topics like currency valuation,
payments, supply and demand, perceptions about prot making and
sharing, and foreign supplier relationships. Like the political dimen-
sion, this one is oen dynamic, changing constantly.
4. Infrastructure dimension: is deals with technology, science, engi-
neering, and others. is dimension deals with topics like the tech-
nological capacity of a country to support a project, standardization
of tools and processes, information sharing, and technical pro-
ciency and currency.
5. Geographical dimension: is requires considering the international,
regional, and local factors when managing a project. Generally, the
greater the geographical spread between the home for the project
and the one for where the work is, the more dicult it is to manage,
especially if the culture and technology varies from one location and
the other. is dimension deals with topics like distance, time zones,
and communication.
8.3   INDEPENDENCE,INTEGRATION, 
ANDINTERDEPENDENCE
None of the dimensions should be seen as distinct among themselves; they
are all interrelated to one degree or another. A change in one can impact
another. And it can have ethical implications, too. For example, the poli-
tics can deteriorate between two countries, resulting in the two companies
not interacting with each other. Each side can hold back information or
sabotage the work of the others, causing a project to fail.
e relationships among all the aforementioned dimensions can become
quite complex when the following three relationships are considered: indepen-
dence, integration, and interdependence among all the elements of a project.
Independence reects the degree of autonomy that each of the compo-
nents (e.g., stakeholders, processes) has on a project. Interdependence is
the degree of reliance the output of a component has on another com-
ponent. Integration is the degree to which each component interacts
with each other. In the global environment all three play a critical role in

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