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Ethical issues in project management

What are the current ethical issues that are routinely faced by the project manager? I know about briberies in third world countries (to get the work done) as well as hiding some important information from the project stakeholders. Can you think of anything else?
asked 11 years ago by anonymous

2 Answers

I have noticed that bribes are the norm, rather than the exception, is quite a few countries outside North America and Western Europe. Bribes don't even have to be subtle in some countries. Now the question is, is this unethical? I think it depends on who you are bribing, why you need to bribe to get the project done, and are you hurting anyone because of your bribe. Another question to determine the legitimacy of a bribe in projects is to ask yourself, does a competitor have also to bribe someone to get the project?

Now if you want to talk more about ethics, let me discuss a few other points:

- Backstabbing
- Making shady "deals" with the vendors
- Fraud

I have noticed that backstabbing is a common trait in weak project managers, they try to backstab anyone lower than them in the food chain (typically their team members). The problem is that project managers are often the ideal scapegoat if the project fails, so they try to share the blame with someone else.

The project managers often assumes the role of the procurement (purchase) manager, inviting bids and ordering purchases from vendors. But what if the project manager decides to choose the vendor who's providing more value to his (the project manager's) pocket, rather than his organization? Money is tempting, and unethical can become very convincing when they want to win a bid.

Fraud: This is where we reach the top of the ladder when it comes to unethical activities. Fraudulent activities in project management, include but are not limited to, paying for material that doesn't exist, creating a fictitious company and buying material/equipment from, or just plain stealing from the company and flying to an unknown destination. There are hundreds of other ways that project managers can defraud their company; fraudsters are very creative!
answered 11 years ago by anonymous
Ethics is a difficult topic, especially since standards differ around the world.  A payment someone may think of as a bribe in North America is sometimes an accepted part of doing business in another part of the world.  To address this problem, the Project Management Institute has created a Code of Ethics for credential holders.

Its a 5 page document, but the aspirational standards cited near the beginning guide the framework:

We make decisions based on the best interest of society, safety, and the environment.
We accept only assignments suited to our background and expertise.
We fulfill all our commitments.
We are accountable.
We hold confidential the proprietary information of our employers.
We uphold the code of ethics and uphold each other accountable to it.

The full text is available in the PMP Certification Handbook available from PMI at http://www.pmi.org/en/Certification/~/media/PDF/Certifications/pdc_pmphandbook.ashx.
answered 11 years ago by sdcapmp (45,840 points)

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