Ethics in Project Management

Why Ethics Matter

Ethical conduct is especially important for project managers. Find out why.

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.

Impact of Ethical Decisions

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.

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.

PMI Ethics Member Advisory Group

Bangalore, India

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 every day and the opportunity we have to make a difference, in our professional and personal life.

PMI Ethics Member Advisory Group

Milan, Italy

Have an ethics question?

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

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