Ethics in Project Management
ETHICS IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT 1ABSTRACT This essay will describe about ethics in project management which will provide us an overview of the aspects how the organizations develop the ethics in an organization and about the differences in the ethical decision making among various professionals in their given field. In order to understand various aspects of the chosen topic various literature have been examined including peer reviewed articles which have been carefully chosen.
In today’s world all the professional fields have adopted the ethical code of conduct in one way or another but there are differences in the decision making because of variation in company culture and the ethical values of a project manager and the employees. 2INTRODUCTION Ethics basically define the values and the standards or customs of a particular person or a group of people. There are two things that provide the specification for the ethics.
First, ethics refers to well based standards of right and wrong that set what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Secondly, ethics refers to the study and development of one’s ethical standards. As mentioned above, feelings can deviate from what is ethical. So it is necessary to constantly examine one’s standards to ensure that they are reasonable and well-founded.
Ethics also means, then, the continuous effort of studying our own moral beliefs and our moral conduct, and striving to ensure that we, and the institutions we help to shape, live up to standards that are reasonable and solidly-based. To make good ethical decisions it is essential that the professionals must have trained sensitivity to the ethical issues and a methodology that will help in exploring the ethical aspects of a decision making.
In the business world, ethics scandals have caused the downfall of global corporations and non-profits, causing public outrage and sparking increased government regulations. Globalization has brought economies closer together but has caused a realization that our practice of ethics may differ from culture to culture. The rapid, continuing pace of technological change has provided new opportunities, but has also introduced new challenges, including new ethical dilemmas. The Code of Ethics and Professional Development was approved by the PMI Board of Directors in October 2006.
Breach of Code of Ethics: Should, in the opinion of the National Council, a breach or a series of breaches of the Code of Ethics indicate that the member concerned has conducted himself/herself in a manner seriously prejudicial to the profession, then the Council shall advise the member that his/her name shall be removed from the Register of Members and in the case of Registered Project Managers, from the Register of Project Managers. The other important issue is importance of monitoring to control unethical problems.
There is no doubt, control is necessary to prevent unethical problems, especially illegal ones, like frauds, and it helps organisations to ensure the accepted policies perform properly. However, there are some possible conflicts here, especially about considering people’s privacy and answer to this question that how far should this control go? People do not like their personal actions to be watched by others and they expect their privacy to be respected, also in some situations, applying very strictly suspect view to control causes people feel to have to try to prove their innocence because someone thinks they are guilty.
In my opinion, definitely people‘s right to have their privacy respected could not be ignored, but there are other rights for people too, they want to feel secure when they trust to an organisation and give their information to the organisation and it’s responsible to protect them against someone that tries to access the information and use it to abuse them, or they also want the information related to their banking transactions to be secure. In all of these cases, it is not a acceptable excuse to these organisations not to check their staffs’ or customers’ suspect actions just because of being care about respecting to people privacy rights.
As we see, beside to privacy right, there are other rights that should be considered as well. So the someone privacy right should be respected as far as it does not provide possibility of break other people‘s right. Ethics in IT: Mentioned by Strassmann, there is an issue for which, about our personal responsibility to other’s unethical behaviour and deciding whether or not play the role of the ethics police for people including our colleagues, partners, customers or even our boss.
Bill Nance, a professor of management information systems at San Jose State University, disagree with such a way of thinking, he believes this “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy might end up costing a lot more than the money saved by the illegal money-saving strategies. He gave reason that “If a client or co-worker is doing something that is beyond unethical –something that is illegal — and others involved know or `could have reasonably known,’ as lawyers say in court, they could be considered an accomplice”.
I personally think in this sort of situation expectation of always acting as a moral cop is to some extent idealist and not realistic; sometimes because of the side effects of playing such a role, it could cost too much, such as losing job or popularity, so it would not worth to do so. Following are the main objectives that are meant to be achieved with the implementation of ethics in the organization:- Inspiration: To inspire members of the profession to act more ethically in the work environment. Sensitivity: To give encouragement to the members to remain sensitive towards the moral aspects of their jobs
Discipline: To enforce certain rules of the profession on its members to achieve integrity Advice: To provide advice in cases of moral complexity and ethical dilemma Awareness: To alert employers and clients as to what they can expect of the member when performing his or her job. Ethics in Construction: The American Society of Civil Engineers claims that corruption accounts for an estimated $340 billion of worldwide construction costs each year. Corruption (including bribery, embezzlement, kickbacks, and fraud) in construction projects undermines the delivery of infrastructure services.
Further, corruption poses significant risks to construction and engineering companies themselves. Owners, while trying to minimize their costs for construction projects, are also required to address the ethical and social responsibilities to their shareholders. Terms such as “socially responsible investments,” “integrity,” “honesty,” and “ethical business conduct” can be found in the operation statements or codes of ethics of almost all public companies. Whistleblowing: In the past thirty years numerous pieces of legislation have been passed to offer protection to whistleblowers from retaliation for disclosing organisational wrongdoing.
An area that remains uncertain in relation to whistleblowing and its related policies in organisations is whether these policies actually increase the individualisation of work, allowing employees to behave in accordance with their conscience and in line with societal expectations or whether they are another management tool to control employees and protect organisations from them. In the professional environment, defining what is ethical could be too subjective. So providing enough information about accepted ethical values is very helpful to make ethical decisions.
In other words, it is organisations’ responsibility to have related ethical policies and inform people, who need to know about that, properly. Another point is that some people usually take lightly of what is considered unethical behaviour in the industry while they may think that this behaviour is highly unethical or even illegal in real life. This situation emphasizes necessity to pay more attention to cultural infrastructure to promote ethical issues e. g. in construction, medical or IT area.
Finally, considering that The Project Management Institute does have a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, every professional should accustom to commit to the code seriously and adhere to it in all circumstances. Also enforcement of the ethical standards should be a must for the organization to maintain a reputation and also to protect the interest of the public. REFERENCES 1) Reedy, Patrick. 2008. ‘Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall: Reflecting on the Ethics and Effects of a Collective Critical Management Studies Identity Project. ’ Management Learning Vol. 39 Issue 1 p 57-72. EBSCOhost viewed September 25, 2008. ) Garrett, Michael. 2008. ‘What Will You Do When Your Desire to Please and Ethics Collide? ’ Business Source Complete, p 42-44, EBSCOhost viewed September 25, 2008. 3) Small, M. 2006, ‘A Case for Including Business Ethics and the Humanities in Management Programs’ Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 64 Issue 2, p195-211, EBSCOhost viewed September 26, 2008 4) Tsahuridu, E. , & Vandekerckhove, W. 2008, ‘Organisational Whistleblowing Policies: Making Employees Responsible or Liable? ’ Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 82 Issue 1, p107-118, EBSCOhost viewed September 26, 2008 5) Sohail, M. , & Cavill, S. 008, ‘Accountability to Prevent Corruption in Construction Projects’ Journal of Construction Engineering & Management, Vol. 134 Issue 9, p729-738, EBSCOhost viewed September 25, 2008 6) Annas, G. 2008, ‘Military Medical Ethics – Physician First, Last, Always’ New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 359 Issue 11, p1087-1090. EBSCOhost viewed September 26, 2008 7) Swartz, N 2003, ‘Business Leaders Form Ethics Organization’, Information Management Journal, Vol. 37 Issue 2, p14. EBSCOhost, viewed September 23, 2008 8) Belsie, L 2002, ‘Watching for technology abuse at work’, Christian Science Monitor, Vol. 0, Issue 184, EBSCOhost, viewed 24 September 2008. 9) Strassmann, P 2000, ‘Practice ethical IT’, Computerworld, vol. 34, no. 14, EBSCOhost, viewed 24 September 2008. 10) Jane, R 2002, ‘Facing ethical dilemmas’, InfoWorld, vol. 20, no. 52/01, p. 73, EBSCOhost, viewed 26 September 2008. http://www. acm. org/about/code-of-ethics http://www. pmi. org/info/AP_PMICodeofEthics. pdf http://www. scu. edu/ethics/practicing/decision/framework. html http://www. cpsr. org/act/contest/4wi2 http://gbr. pepperdine. edu/052/itmatters. html http://www. misq. org/archivist/vol/no16/issue4/effyoz. pdf