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Necessity for Ethical Behavior in the Management of Projects

Necessityfor Ethical Behavior in the Management of Projects

Necessityfor Ethical Behavior in the Management of Projects

Projectmanagers are judged in terms of how well they deliver on assignedprojects. The judgment is made based on criteria such as the time ofcompletion, deviation from the budget and the implementation of theproject within the specified scope. Project management has continuedto become integral towards the success of organizations andindustries (Beringeret al., 2013).As the role of project management continues to become increasinglyimportant, project managers are finding themselves in situationswhere their ethical behaviors are determining their credibility.Therefore, the judgment of their success touches beyond the deliveryof the project within the specified timeline and budget, to includeaspects of ethical behavior (Blanchard&amp Peale, 2011).In many cases, whenever the word ethics comes into the picture,people often think of practices such as blatant fraud, bribery, andfalsifying project costs. However, the question of ethics in projectmanagement goes beyond the implementation of fraudulent practices byproject managers and other project team members. Other areas ofethics in project management include information sharing/disclosure,taking advantage of the faith of customers and public safety duringproject implementation (Blanchard&amp Peale, 2011).

TheSignificance of Ethical Behavior

Thoughtfulconsideration on the significance of codes ethical behavior helpsproject managers address ethical dilemmas. These ethical codesinfluence the character of project managers regarding theconsideration related to the impact of their work to the society andother stakeholders (Kaptein,2011).Consequently, ethical behavior enables them to examine their way oftreating stakeholders as well as their subjects. Furthermore, thesecodes influence managers to reflect on how the public would assesstheir decisions/judgments concerning critical issues such as welfare,health, and safety. Therefore, ethical concerns in project managementfocus on issues of honor, value, priorities, ideals and thecompetence of project managers (Kalshovenet al., 2011).As such, codes of ethical behavior apply to all the ethical premisesof piracy, privacy, planning and dealing with projects that have thepotential to be harmful, such as military projects. Hence, projectmanagers recognize the significance of ethical behavior as well asthe implications of failing to comply with the given ethical codes.

Projectmanagers play an influencing role in organizations. They do notcreate, produce, develop, sell or buy services and products. They arethe orchestrators/influencers of the action of other persons such asinvestors to get projects completed. Influencing other persons comesin many ways. First, project managers offer direction through theissuance of orders and instructions (Gino&amp Margolis, 2011).The role of offering direction puts these managers in a uniqueposition to influence key decisions in projects. They serve adirecting role based on the assumption that they act from an informedposition. Consequently, they earn the respect of their subjects whoabide by their orders and instructions. Therefore, there is a needfor ethical behavior to deter project managers from abusing theirprivileged position. Working from an informed position and enjoyingsignificant powers requires them to be guided by ethical behavior(Gino&amp Margolis, 2011).

Secondly,project managers persuade critical stakeholders to either undertakeprojects or alter the nature of projects because of severalconstraints. Persuading stakeholders implement projects should bedone without any traces of self-interest on the side of the projectmanager (Blanchard&amp Peale, 2011).Therefore, as key influencers, they need to be non-partisan andrepresent the sole interests of the investing parties. Additionally,project managers influence the implementation of projects and mayalter different phases of projects owing to their influencing role.It is possible for them to institute alterations that favor theirindividual interests (Kalshovenet al., 2011).Ethical behavior helps regulate project managers to prevent the abuseof their privileges as major influencers by ensuring that theirpersuasions do not contravene the provided codes of ethical conduct.

Manyprojects involve high levels of risk during their implementationphase. Therefore, whenever the risks involved are high, it ispossible for individuals involved in such projects to cheat to reducethe risk of failure (Beringeret al., 2013).High-risk projects put pressure on managers to safeguard theirreputation, sometimes in ways that violate professional ethicalprovisions. If not cheating, then project managers may attempt totake corners/shortcuts to fulfill their mandates. Therefore, ethicalbehavior plays a significant role in guiding project managers duringsuch times when everyone expects them to deliver on projects withinthe specified timelines and budget (Gino&amp Margolis, 2011).For example, military projects involving the use of lethal nuclearcomponents, chemicals and ammunition may cause project managers toavoid taking responsibility for their actions. However, codes ofethical behavior provide project managers with the guidance on how tohandle such projects to ensure public safety regarding their healthas well as the protection of the environment.

Manyprojects are characterized by high rewards upon their completion.Examples of such projects include electricity generation plants, realestate establishments, and ports. High rewarding projects have thepotential of attracting unscrupulous dealings that aim to reap thebenefits of the maturation of these projects (Blanchard&amp Peale, 2011).Consequently, project managers may be signed to enter into illegalcontracts and agreements, as well as facilitate the inclusion ofsuspect parties in projects with the aim of benefiting dishonestlyfrom projects. Such scenarios are common in public projects such asrailway line construction as well as other capital-intensiveinfrastructural developments (Kaptein,2011).Therefore, ethical behavior helps deter any attempts to conductillegal activities in the context of high-rewarding projects.

Thecost of projects is an important determinant of their success.Capital-intensive projects such as infrastructural development andconstruction of urban spaces involve heavy financial investments.Project managers play a major role in ensuring that the project costsfall within the stipulated budget (Resicket al., 2013).They achieve this through proper scheduling and the acquisition ofthe required personnel and material. Therefore, project managers areat the center of the budgetary control and influence how much theproject cost stays within the budget. On the other hand, they caninflate the budget, or acquire materials and personnel to accumulatesavings for their benefits. Such moves can be detrimental to theproject quality and may lead to the loss of the entire project.Ethical behavior helps managers to deal with highly monetizedprojects, which present many challenges regarding maintaining theirintegrity (Resicket al., 2013).

Projectmanagers play an important role as negotiators between investors andcontractors. In this regard, they represent the interests of theinvestors and project sponsors in various projects. For the case ofthe government, they represent the interests of the public andrepresent the interests of shareholders in case of a public limitedcompany. As negotiators, it is crucial for project managers toexhibit ethical behavior to ensure that the resulting project costand time of delivery benefits the individuals, organization orinstitutions that have invested resources into the projects(Blanchard&amp Peale, 2011).Negotiations touch on critical aspects of projects that may affectthe effectiveness and longevity of projects upon completion. Thenegotiation process presents numerous loopholes for project managersto engage in corrupt practices such as the inflation of projectcosts. Therefore, ethical behavior helps guide shareholdersespecially for projects that require huge financial resources. Thisnot only helps to preserve the reputation of project managers butalso protect organizations, institutions, and individuals fromlosses.

Directingrequires project managers to have unquestionable levels ofcompetence. The ability to offer direction is mostly behavioral innature. Therefore, their score regarding ethical behavior shapestheir character and the perceptions of their subjects regarding theirleadership. A lot of subjectivity exists in project management.Often, colleagues view each other with suspicion especially regardingthe award of contracts as well as financial accountability(Flyvbjerg,2013).

Asan important element in the development of an organization, projectmanagement faces considerable scrutiny from outside and inside thecompany. The character of project managers is a reflection of theintegrity of all project implementation activities. Therefore,stakeholders will be quick to judge the integrity of any project byreferring to the ethical behavior of managers (Flyvbjerg,2013).Project management can serve as a making or breaking part of anorganization. Poor project management practices may put organizationsunder increased scrutiny from shareholders, government agencies, andthe public. Therefore, ethical behavior helps safeguard thereputation of organizations as well as belief in implementedprojects.

Persuasionis another important component in project management. Managers alwayswork to ensure that the majority if not all stakeholders agree toinvest resource in various projects. Moreover, persuasion alsoapplies during the project implementation phase to rally otherparties to follow the directions of project managers (Beringeret al., 2013).This applies when project managers can no longer rely on the power oftheir authority. Therefore, the best tool to utilize in this scenariois helping individuals follow project recommendations by theirconvictions (Beringeret al., 2013). This applies especially in cases where delayed negotiations may leadto delays in the implementation of a project. Joint problem solvingrequires project managers to exhibit undoubted ethical behavior towin the trust of skeptic individuals who may resent theirrecommendations. Ethical behavior promotes the understanding betweenindividuals in an organization since it provides excellent conditionsfor constructive communication between parties that may havediffering opinions (Kalshovenet al., 2011).Trust is an important building block in the engagements betweenproject sponsors, team members, subcontractors as well as regulatoryagencies. It can help minimize delays, which are occasioned bysuspicion between all participants in a project.


Ethicaldecisions and behaviors are important in our professional as well asprivate lives. Ethical behavior helps us generate trust and respectamong our colleagues, partners, and peers. The nature of projectmanagement demands a strict adherence to ethical behavior especiallywith the increasing ethical dilemmas in the field. Nevertheless, thesignificance of these ethical dilemmas is not profound when projectmanagers observe the code of conducts that guide ethical behavior. Itis important that project managers cultivate and maintain trustbetween project sponsors, the public, and project team members.

Asthe role of project management continues to become increasinglyimportant, project managers will find themselves in situations wheretheir ethical behaviors will determine their credibility. Therefore,the judgment of their success will go beyond the delivery of theproject within the specified timeline and budget. The scope of ethicswill continue to expand beyond the traditional practices such asblatant fraud, bribery, and falsifying project costs. It will includequestions of ethics in project management goes beyond theimplementation of fraudulent practices by project managers as well asproject team members.

Projectmanagers have a vital role in influencing the successfulimplementation of projects. They need to realize that thoughtfulconsideration of the significance of codes ethical behavior helpsmanage them solve ethical dilemmas that are present in their dailylives. These ethical codes influence their characters regarding theconsideration of the impact of their work to the society and otherstakeholders. Consequently, ethical behavior enables them to examinetheir way of treating stakeholders and their subjects. The mostimportant aspect of these codes is that they help influence managersto reflect on how the public would assess their decisions/judgmentsconcerning critical issues such as welfare health and safety.Therefore, ethical concerns in project management focus on issues ofhonor, value, priorities, ideals and the competence of projectmanagers. As such, codes of ethical behavior apply to all the ethicalpremises of piracy, privacy, planning and dealing with projects thathave the potential to be harmful, such as military projects.


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Blanchard,K., &amp Peale, N. V. (2011).&nbspThepower of ethical management.Random House.

Flyvbjerg,B. (2013). Quality control and due diligence in project management:Getting decisions right by taking the outside view.&nbspInternationalJournal of Project Management,&nbsp31(5),760-774.

Gino,F., &amp Margolis, J. D. (2011). Bringing ethics into focus: Howregulatory focus and risk preferences influence (un) ethicalbehavior.&nbspOrganizationalBehavior and Human Decision Processes,&nbsp115(2),145-156.

Kalshoven,K., Den Hartog, D. N., &amp De Hoogh, A. H. (2011). Ethical leaderbehavior and big five factors of personality.&nbspJournalof Business Ethics,&nbsp100(2),349-366.

Kaptein,M. (2011). Understanding unethical behavior by unraveling ethicalculture.&nbspHumanrelations,&nbsp64(6),843-869.

Resick,C. J., Hargis, M. B., Shao, P., &amp Dust, S. B. (2013). Ethicalleadership, moral equity judgments, and discretionary workplacebehavior.&nbspHumanRelations,0018726713481633.