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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chapter 100: Big Picture of Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

In the previous few chapters, we have covered the important aspects of being professional and ethical. Let us now summarize our discussion into a big picture. The formal name for the standard for ethical and professional behavior issued by PMI is the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. According to this standard, the four pillars that make the foundation of professional conduct are fairness, honesty, respect, and responsibility. These four values are identified by PMI as the most important to the global project management community.

They are explained below:

Value Aspirational Standard Mandatory Standard
Fairness 1. Constantly examine and correct yourself if necessary to ensure impartiality and objectivity.

2. Demonstrate transparency in your decision-making process.

3. Provide equal access to information for those who are authorized to have the information.

4. Make opportunities equally available to all qualified candidates.
1. Conflict of interest. Fully disclose any real or potential conflict of interest. Do not get involved in decision making and do not attempt to influence the outcome without such disclosure to all the affected stakeholders.

2. Apply the official rules without bias driven by favoritism and prejudice.

3. Do not use bribery, favoritism, or nepotism in dealing with people, such as hiring or firing, rewarding or punishing, and awarding or denying contracts.

4. Do not discriminate against people based on age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
Respect 1. Listen to others including those with whom you disagree, in an attempt to understand them.

2. In a professional manner, directly approach those individuals with whom you have a disagreement or a conflict.

3. Stay professional even if the person you are dealing with is being unprofessional.

4. Be knowledgeable about and respectful to the norms and customs of other people.
1. Do not use any form of power, such as expertise, status, or position, to influence a decision or other people’s actions in order to benefit at their expense.

2. Negotiate in good faith.

3. Do not act toward other people in an abusive manner.

4. Respect the property rights—including intellectual property rights—of other individuals and organizations.

Honesty 1. Always try to find the facts, be truthful in presenting the facts, and create an environment in which others feel safe to tell the truth.

2. Provide accurate information in a timely manner.

3. Make commitments and promises in good faith.

1. Do not engage in or condone behavior designed to deceive others, such as making false or misleading statements, presenting incomplete facts, providing information without context, and withholding information. 2. Do not engage in attaining personal gain at the expense of others through improper means, such as dishonesty.
Responsibility 1. Base your decisions and actions on the best interests of the environment, public safety, and society as a whole.

2. Accept only those assignments that are consistent with your background, including your qualifications, skills, and experience. And when you accept an assignment, deliver what you promised.

3. Accept responsibility for your mistakes (errors and omissions) and accountability for the consequences. Also, report errors caused by others to the appropriate party.

4. Protect proprietary or confidential information that has been entrusted to you during your assignment.

5. Hold yourself and others accountable to the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct by PMI.
1. Know and comply with the policies, rules, regulations, and laws that govern your work activities.

2. Report any unethical or illegal conduct to an appropriate party, such as management and those affected by the conduct.

3. The ethical complaints you make must be substantiated by facts.

4. Report violations of PMI’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to the appropriate body for resolution.

5. Pursue disciplinary action against an individual who retaliates against a person because that person raised ethical concerns.
To Summarize:
• Fairness is the act of making decisions and behaving impartially and objectively, free from favoritism, competing self-interest, and prejudice.
• Honesty is the policy to understand the truth based on facts and act in a truthful manner, both in communication and in conduct.
• Respect is the behavior of showing high regard for yourself, the people you are dealing with, and the resources entrusted to you. Resources entrusted to you may include human resources, money, and natural and environmental resources.
• Responsibility is an act of taking ownership for the decisions you make or fail to make, the actions you take or fail to take, and the consequences that result.

These values are not only good human and professional duties, but also help in developing a good business. For example, an environment of respect fosters trust, confidence, and mutual cooperation that lead to performance excellence. In an environment where diverse perspectives and views are encouraged and valued, better solutions will be designed, which will increase the chances of project success.

As shown in the table above, each of these four values is exercised in two dimensions: aspirational and mandatory. The aspirational standard describes the conduct that we strive to uphold in the practice of project management. The mandatory standard establishes firm requirements and in some cases limits or prohibits practitioner behavior. Practitioners who do not conduct themselves in accordance with these standards will be subject to disciplinary procedures before PMI’s Ethics Review Committee.

It is easy to confuse aspirational with optional. An aspirational standard is called aspirational because adherence to this standard is not an easy task. That being said, you are expected to comply with this standard as a professional: It is not optional.

The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct by PMI applies to anyone who meets at least one of the following criteria:
• Is a member of PMI
• Holds a PMI certification or has applied to start the certification process
• Serves PMI as a volunteer

Let us wrap up this chapter by saying Honesty is the best policy.

Prev: Dealing with Unprofessional Conduct

Next: Summary - Ethics & Professional Responsibility

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