204 • Ethics and Project Management
and exploiting circumstances rather than focusing on performing their
responsibilities in a way that leads to the successful execution of a project.
e best way to realize the importance of ethics is to compare projects
with and without ethics. If project managers and other stakeholders think
and act ethically, interim deliverables (e.g., a charter, plans, reports) will
serve as reliable outputs that can be trusted to help produce the nal deliv-
erable to the customer. Everyone knows that the interim deliverables are
the result of honest, trustworthy people and therefore can be used with a
high degree of condence. Now take a dierent perspective. If the project
manager and other stakeholders are known to be unethical in thought and
deed, to what extent will people have condence in the interim deliver-
ables and, ultimately, the nal deliverable being produced? You guessed it:
ey will have very little faith in others and the output.
e lessons to bring from this scenario are twofold: Ethics has value on
a project; and ethics has consequences. Ethics on a project is like blood.
If unethical behavior is tolerated, then it will spread like tainted blood,
damaging the organs. If ethical behavior is the norm, then it will allow the
organs to do their jobs.
9.2 MAKING ETHICS ON PROJECTS A REALITY
Having good ethics on a project is not simple. Project managers must take
action to allow good ethical decisions and behaviors to become the norm
rather than the exception. Five actions will accomplish this:
One. embrace a code of ethics, regardless of professional organization.
Most of them cover the same topics to varying degrees of breadth and
depth. ey provide standards and guidelines not only for routine situ-
ations but also for anomalous circumstances. Sometimes, people need a
guidepost to help them navigate through dicult circumstances. e
Project Management Institute (PMI) provides an excellent code of ethics
that is applicable for all stakeholders to consider following on a project. It
covers a wide range of topics, including responsibility, respect, fairness,
conict of interest, and honesty. Regardless of whether project manag-
ers are members of the PMI, they should all read its code of ethics. It is
especially useful because it emphasizes taking a global perspective, serv-
ing as an excellent guide for dealing with ethical issues in an interna-