Project Management

Are You an Ethically Mature Project Manager?

Let’s talk about feelings. Amidst the highly technical landscape of the IT world, an approach to project management that embraces the centrality of workplace ethics and their associated impacts is in increasing demand. As senior consultant Alistair Godbold explains in a post for the Association for Project Management Blog, ethics management is no longer considered a peripheral concern for PMs. It more often resembles a core skill.

A Shrinking and Transparent World

Today’s work environment presents the PM with a broadening range of stakeholders who hail from a diverse range of cultures and locales. The result of this complex and varied setting, coupled with and compounded by the impacts of ever-evolving technologies, is a managerial climate riddled with individual and communication issues. Additionally, in a shrinking world where news gets around fast, a business’s reputation becomes harder to defend. Godbold summarizes the mounting challenges to maintaining an ethical workplace and pinpoints an ideal solution: 

a.       Public Interest in Transparency

b.      Scandals are Sought After

c.       Laws Targeting Corruption are Stronger

d.      Social Norms are Changing

e.      Confrontation between Cultures

[The] ethical view of a project has to be considered as an asset to be managed, it is not enough to 'do the right thing' and obey the law when the situation arises. Issues have to be anticipated and planned for, project teams have to be equipped, prepared and supported and the image of a project has to be presented and not left to chance. 

Over time, codes of conduct become outdated and do not reflect the nuanced nature of the workplace. In Godbold’s opinion the enlightened, or “ethically mature,” project manager has a fuller understanding of laws and ethics. They possess the requisite emotional intelligence to respond properly to various stakeholders, including individuals and society at large. Most importantly, in a globalized and multicultural world, the ethical project manager leads by setting good examples and confronts ethical dilemmas as a vital part of doing business. 

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