Ethics in Project Management

Decisions and Dilemmas

Project management is driven by decisions, often dozens or more per day. Some decisions are small and barely noticed while others are prominent. Some require deep thought because they involve people, resources and the environment. And sometimes these factors are in conflict, creating a dilemma and perhaps significant risks.

While project managers normally know what to do, how to do it can become a puzzle — especially when stakeholder interests conflict. Like all leaders, project managers build trust by the way they make decisions. Here again, the “how to do it” can be puzzling yet is instrumentally important.

Ethics is the discipline of “how to do it best.”  To guide behavior and help with tough decisions, we’ve crafted a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and an Ethical Decision-Making Framework. To deepen your knowledge and perspective, we provide numerous articles, papers and webinars.

When unethical behaviors arise, take action. Use our ethics complaint and review process and see the specialized resources available.


Ethics at PMI

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    Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct

    All PMI members, volunteers and certification holders must comply with the Code and uphold its values of responsibility, respect, fairness and honesty.

    Learn more
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    Ethics Resources

    Articles, papers and webinars will expand your understanding of ethics, including its relationship to leadership and trust.

    Learn more
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    Ethics Complaint & Review Process

    Ethics complaints are taken seriously and are investigated and resolved by the PMI Ethics Review Committee on behalf of the Board of Directors. We provide information and supply resources so you can take action.

    Learn more

The Impact of Ethical Decisions

Giusi Meloni, PMP
“Ethics is commonly associated with moral or normative guidelines. The word itself comes from ‘ethos’ meaning character, habit. From its very root, ethics is related to our behavior, to the choices we make everyday and the opportunity we have to make a difference, in our professional and personal life.”

Giusi Meloni, PMP
PMI Ethics Member Advisory Group
Milan, Italy
Michael O'Brochta, PMI-ACP, PMP
“When practiced to the highest standards, ethics increases the quality and quantity of business. When a long-term client displayed an ethical lapse, I told them it violated my standards and would cause the loss of my support to their business. Instead of firing me, they changed their behavior and increased the scope of work with my consulting company.”

Michael O'Brochta, PMI-ACP, PMP
PMI Ethics Member Advisory Group
Roanoke, Virginia, USA
Alankar Karpe, PMI-ACP, PMP
“When faced with ethical dilemmas, making ethical decisions is complex, challenging and difficult. We can only gauge their impact by answering in the positive whether such decisions increase trust and transparency, and ensure positive long term effects with everyone’s interests protected. Good project managers are relentless in their quest to remain ethical.”

Alankar Karpe, PMI-ACP, PMP
PMI Ethics Member Advisory Group
Bangalore, India

Have a question or comment?

Please contact the PMI Ethics Member Advisory Group with questions, concerns or useful ideas. Email to ethics.mag@pmi.org.