The fast growth in science, technology, economy, and politics has made ethics and professional standards an important issue which raises the concerns of the public. Ethics and professional standards refer to how an organization combines its core values with its business policies and practices. Ethics and professional standards form the moral foundation upon which an organization or profession or business builds itself decently. Ethics and standards help a company to grow and generate profits. Different business and professional areas have a code of ethics and standards that guides members to keep the profession in good standings with different stakeholders.
Project management is one of the business areas where ethics is very important. In the business world, the recent high-status corruption cases such as TYCO and Enron have brought the role that ethics plays in business under examination. Dubious dealings are presenting ethical dilemmas to businesses, especially in project management. A good example is where project managers get involved in the negotiation of contracts creating a conflict of interest between them and the stakeholders (Brenner, 2006). The ultimate goal of any business is to make a profit. The businesses, therefore, undertake new projects to expand and earn profit. There are various ethical issues that arise in regard to how businesses manage their projects. The decision to undertake a project by a business affects different stakeholders. Therefore, project managers have to make ethical decisions to ensure that the different stakeholders are not affected negatively. Ethics in project management can be summarized into four main areas, according to the project management institute, which includes accountability, respect, equality, and truthfulness (Project Management Institute). The lack of four values leads to making unethical decisions.
Globalization has brought different economies closer and increased awareness about how ethics in project management may differ from one culture to the next. This introduces new challenges, including ethical and professional dilemmas. However, it does not mean that ethics and professional standards are not applied to different cultures. The business is supposed to conduct its projects with the highest ethical and professional standards to ensure that the different stakeholders are not negatively affected by the project.
For a multinational firm with global projects in different locations across the world located in areas with different cultures, it is not easy to determine which ethics and professional standards are to be applied in each location (Global Infrastructure in the financial crisis). First of all, the company has to undertake the process of understanding the ethical issues the projects are facing in different locations. The company also has to understand the values and viewpoints of different stakeholders in these locations. The understanding can be achieved through a selection of methods such as group discussions and surveys involving different stakeholder groups such as the public, project managers, and the local authority. The company then decides which ethical and professional standards can be used from its own code of ethics and the global best practices in project management (Project Management Institute).
The majority of the ethical dilemmas are not obvious and, therefore, require careful thought first. The multinational firms, therefore, have to address the differences in ethical demands at different locations. This is done in an effort to ensure project managers are able to navigate the murky waters of an ethical issue in project management. Firms take various measures to ensure that the ethical issues are solved to the satisfaction of the stakeholders.
One of the methods that organizations use to solve the ethical dilemma caused by having projects in different global locations is establishing standards of ethics to guide their project managers. Project managers also register as members of project management institute a professional body with its own code of professional ethics. The project managers are required to learn and understand this code. The standards supported by code of ethics of project management institute have been identified as important to ensure the integrity of project management.
Another way that companies try to solve ethical dilemmas is by establishing project management offices. The offices monitor the issues that are driving change within the project management profession. These offices help in improving the project management approaches, harmonize project activities in different locations, and helping in the economical use of resources (Monique, Hobbs, & Müller, 2010).
The other method that companies use to manage the ethical issue in project management is through stakeholder management. Projects have different interest groups, including the clients, customers, and the public. Managing stakeholders is one of the biggest ethical challenges. The project manager should communicate all the information they have straightforwardly and fully to all stakeholders using an understandable language as required by Ethical and professional standards. The stakeholders should be informed swiftly by the project manager when ethical issues arise. The project managers should stay vigilant in order to identify efforts by the interest groups to manipulate their decision making in the wrong or unlawful way (Ferrell, Hirt, & Ferrell, 2009).
In conclusion, ethical and professional practices differ depending on the business profession and location. However, multinational firms should always apply the best practices in project management. The companies should use stakeholder analysis, establishing a code of ethics, and establishing a project management office to address ethical issues in a satisfactory manner.
Brenner, R. (2006). Dubious Dealings. Web.
Ferrell, o. c., Hirt, G., & Ferrell, L. (2009). Business: A changing world. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Global Infrastructure in the financial crisis. (2008). Web.
Monique, A., Hobbs, B. J., & Müller, R. (2010). Identifying Forces Driving PMO Changes:Summary Report. Web.
Project Management Institute. (n.d.). Project Management Institute Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Web.