Professional and Social Responsibility
PM SK – 4 Jan 20, 2023
Working with government and private organizations separately and in interaction with each other, It is noticed several times that the ‘Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct’ exists in organizations in some forms, but its application remains in the background. The persons on jobs are not aware of its importance and there is less awareness in workforce and training on the topic is unsatisfactory. The result is, outcome of disputes and arbitration and other legal matters along with reduced production.
The ‘Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct’ of Project Management Institute (PMI) for Project Manager is a well-designed document for creating awareness in community. The topics suggested on Fairness, Respect, Honesty and Responsibility, if applied in the form of Aspirational Standards as well Mandatory Standards sincerely will help in trust building, better performance and better reputation for organizations.
Ethics in Project Management
Everybody who is in a profession has distinctive qualifications to work as a professional and earn for his livelihood. The professional conduct means to carry out your activity operations in a way they should be carried out based on law, good practices, good behavior and management principles. The quality of operation is assessed on the results, good or bad, right or wrong.
Some important terms on the topic are defined as below:
Professional – professional is a person having a profession based on his qualification to earn his livelihood.
Conduct– – conduct is an action performed based on moral values, specifications and management principles.
Ethics– Moral base actions to understand right and wrong, good and bed.
Abusive means – bad words that cause physical harm, create feeling of fear, humiliation or exploitation.
Conflict of Interest
I am working in an organization and my actions benefit it.
I know other organization I am royal to, but my actions may harm it.
This situation creates ‘conflict of interest’.
What to do?
Solution – Discuss the conflict with both and seek their advice for solution.
Duty of loyalty – moral responsibility to promote the interest of organization.
Ethics in Project Management –
Th gist of ethical follow up is that whatever our actions are for good, bad, right, or wrong, should satisfy not only the action but it should satisfy also the second and third party.
Example- if government (take it as first party) wishes to take a project for hydropower development, and engages a construction agency (call it second party), then the actions of two parties may satisfy each other but ethical requirement is, the third party consisting of other stakeholders should also be pleased or satisfied
The moral value can be seen to some extent in non-human as well. They understand right, wrong, good, and bad living in their community as well as with other species.
So further to say that ethic may be followed in individuals within groups (without knowing the individuals), within country (without knowing the individuals and the groups) and international levels (without knowing the individuals, the groups, and the nations even), not only in humans but also in non-humans.
The world today is very close. It was not so in the BC period, and up to a few centuries back in AD period.
But now we are close to the different cultures and their philosophies. As such our actions or activities on project must take care of ethical standards holistically. Now there are bioethics, medical ethics and other professional ethics, and these should be followed at concerned workplaces.
The ‘Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct’ as such provides direction to the professional actions for doing the right things and doing the things right, based on available standards and moral values.
Ethics is mainly involved in decision making in resource management in project management. The use of ethical standards diminishes risks, help in positive outputs, long term success, trust building and relationship building.
The four attributes of Honesty, Responsibility Respect and Fairness applied to the project management shall keep the project management away from adversities.
The belief in ethics follow- up enhances leadership qualities and output, get people’s trust, recognition and profits.
The project management is a professional approach for managing the projects. The projects are for a ‘specified duration’ and work force has ‘no home’ after the completion of the project. Therefore, these two terms trigger hurried actions in project operations and ethics may be misunderstood / or not followed when working within project constraints.
But there are organizations in operation since long, who follow ethics and boost business and profits
Project managers who do not follow ethics standards may damage the organization, and others who follows ethics standards avoid cost overrun, time overrun and go for Earned Value Management, managing changes, stakeholder management etcetera and provide benefit to the organization
Project has 10 knowledge areas and 5 project management process. And all these areas have 49 processes and every process has to be completed from inputs, tools and techniques to get process output and this output is used as input to other process and so on.
If the process activities are not followed properly, not understood properly, the process output shall be defective and the defective output, if used as inputs in other process, their output shall be defective. It will further complicate the project by setting wrong targets, poor quality control, poor risk control, poor communication and monitoring and there shall be time and cost overrun. Imagine what happen to the project and its operation. This happens if no honesty, fairness, respect, and responsibility principles are maintained in the project operations. specially with the involvement of human resource
There are wide variations seen in the planned actions, and actual action and may depend on the interest and the behavior aspects, etcetera, of the individual, the team and the Project Manager.
Together, the use of all ethical standards create trust and if not- it will lead to chaos in managing the project, leading to the use of abusive handling. There shall be lack of loyalty, discipline, dedication, direction and desire, and conflict of interests may come up, and so many other problems will come up, which ultimately will kill the project
Other things that may kill the project are:
Lack of authority to manage the project
Unrealistic project deadlines about cost and time.
Taking decisions unilaterally avoiding the involvement of key stake holders.
And many more …….
The follow up of code of ethics and professional conduct is important to avoid such circumstances.
What is important?
Follow the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
P MI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct has four sections consisting of Honesty, Responsibility, Fairness and Respect. Each off the section has aspirational standards and mandatory standards to follow.
Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
As such to streamline the project management process for maintaining social and professional responsibility, the Project Management Institute (USA) has come up with ‘Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct’ which needs to be followed in project management to achieve the desired construction / development objectives.
The code is to be followed by all the project managers andmembers of PMI and PMPs and by all professionals.
The ‘Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct’ can be downloaded from PMI website www.pmi.org for further details. But the contents are briefly mentioned as below for immediate reference.
Aspirational Standards have strong desire to success and evolved around behavioral and emotional development, emotional intelligence. This practice is restricted because of legal implications.
Mandatory standards are the standards that are required by the law and plays important part in resolution of disputes and keep the professionals out of legal trouble.
Four pillars of Ethical Standards are.
Each Pillar has two types of standards. Aspirational standards (characterized by aspirations to achieve social prestige and material success) and Mandatory standards. (Required by law or mandate)
( An action taken to complete a task satisfactorily shows responsible action.
The failure of task completion and its acceptance is also responsibility. One is responsible for success or failure of operations done for doing the task and owns the decision taken during course of action weather right of wrong
Make decisions / take actions in the interest of society and safety of environment
Except assignments based on professional qualifications and skills and
timely inform the gaps if any to the stakeholders.
Fulfill the commitments.
Maintain confidentiality and property right.
Uphold this code and hold each other accountable to it.
Keep yourself updated with policies, rules, regulations and laws governing to work and hold them during operations
Report unethical or illegal conduct timely
File complaints with substantiated facts.
Take disciplinary action against the person who counter attacks the unethical reporting. Also, disciplinary action must be taken against those who opt for illegal actions.
(Showing high regards to all the resources involved in project operations and management to maintain trust, confidence and performance.)
Update yourself with norms and customs of others and respect them.
Listen to other carefully to understand their point of view.
Approach directly to persons with whom there is conflict or disagreement.
Conduct yourselves in a professional manner
Negotiate in good faith
Do not use power, expertise to influence the actions of others
Do not be abusive.
(to make decisions and act impartially and objectively)
Provide equal opportunities to qualified candidate.
Maintain rights to information.
Demonstrate transparacy and decision making.
Examining your impartiality and objectivity regularly
Disclose conflict of interest to stakeholders
Get the resolution approved for further action
Favoritism, Nepotism (favoritism to close ones) and bribery should be avoided for approvals.
There should be no discrimination of age sex, disability, race, and nationality and religion in actions
Organizational rules must be followed without favoritism.
(an honest person doesn’t do things that are morally wrong.)
Know and understand the truth.
Be truthful in communications and in conduct.
Provide accurate and timely information.
Make commitments and promises in good faith.
Create an environment in which truth is disclosed without fear.
Do not engage in or condone behavior that is designed to deceive others.
Do not engage in dishonest behavior with the intention of personal gain or at the expense of another.
It should be noted that a project is taken up after approval of all the plans. Execution is done based on these plans. During the execution process do not change the design or construction specifications or quality standards unilaterally. If need be, go through the change control unit, get approval. Amend documents, and then go for the further action. This is the ethical way of doing the work. If not followed it may create all sort of problems.
Some points to ponder in Project Management
Work in an environment of truth.
Be truthful in telling things about project operations outcomes, such as risks, time overrun, cost overruns, requirements of resources, commitments, directions, your desire, dedication of workers etcetera, to your boss. If this practice is not adhered to, it will create problems in project operations, such as, you will face the untruth of your teams and it shall be difficult for you to carry out project operations judiciously.
Find what is the truth.
Working as a project manager or team or in support capacity one must pass through lot of communication (the communication part of the project management covers almost 90 % part of the project work). Do not only here it. Listen to it. Find the truth and ac. Your actions on untruthful hearing will make the workplace operations very complex
Be objective and fare in dealings.
It must be in our thoughts, words and deeds to be objective and fair. Work beyond being subjective. Try to understand the entwinement in which you are working. The environment may be in your country or other country. You need to understand the saying” when in Rome, do as Romans do” and use it in your business environment to the extent possible. Understand the differences of ‘business operations’ and such as bribes, services, payments, parks, etcetera clearly. See what is legal and right there. Report violations if any keep your organization informed about the situation you are encountering. What if it is bribe – Keep yourself away from it.
See that yours and other’s actions are not affecting the basic rights of each other.
Disclose conflicts of interest.
As explained about conflicts of interest earlier, if noticed, must be put to resolution process. Also take measures regularly to check
the outcome of such situations.
Meaning of discrimination is unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people on grounds of race, age or sex.
All human beings along with professionals should avoid discriminations in workplace operations.
Try to co-operate with the people to get their corporation.
It can be done by sharing your concerns and others concerns. If you long to get other’s support only then you are selfish. Basically, you must co-operate with others to achieve the organizational requirements. So, believe in combined efforts, working together, mutual support, synergy, commitments etcetera, in performance of your actions.
People look the world from their own perspective. This perspective is different on the following factors:
As such based on above factors, there exists cultural differences. The cultural differences may be at any level of society and even at national and international levels
Togetherness in above aspects in operations make a vibrant environment.
The negative aspects of cultural differences can further be reduced by:
Maintaining togetherness bye honoring the diverse cultures.
Avoid cultural shocks;
Sort the differences through better communication and meetings.
Learn about the different cultures and respect other’s culture.
Project management operations involve negotiations on practically all knowledge area works. These negotiations if not done based on facts can harm the understanding process. Negotiations based on unfair contents may not be stable and may bounce back to create more problems. Negotiations done effectively help organization to move forward and enhance the reputation.
Conflicts, in general with your boss or subordinate should be resolved immediately before surfacing. The best way is to resolve it immediately by direct discussion and settlement. This way there may be a permanent solution.
Misuse of power or position.
A professional should not use his authority, power or position for the benefit of self or others.
Responsibility is provided to the top heads of the organization. However, in organizational structure, different responsibilities may be assigned to different persons at different levels, but ultimately the top head is responsible.
You may be more responsible or strengthen your responsibility by following approved action plans. Any variations to these plans must be tackled whole heartedly to bring the project to track.
Your qualification matters.
Do not take jobs in hand for which you are not qualified. In case of multiple functions of the job, if you are not good on it or are not aware of that job function, clarify this state to the employer.
Respect property rights
You should not use others property for your personal benefits without others permission. It is logical not to do so. If done it may create problems, which shall become issues, then become problems of management and further turn in disputes, arbitration and court cases.