In the two class periods that we have meet, we have talked about multiple issues that come up during a project. We have talked about hard deadlines, contracts, contractor/client relations and so on. One aspect that has not really been talked about and it might be one of the most important aspects of project management is ethics and ethical issues in project management.
I found an article, “Ethical Issues in Project Management” that discusses some ethical situation that might come up during a project and that a project manager might have to address. The article focus is on three possible situations that could affect a project team and the ethics involved. The following is discussed in the article: admission of wrongdoing, focus of blame, and hard choices regarding contracts.
The first ethical issue the article discusses is “admission of wrongdoing”. Admission of wrongdoing can sometimes be the hardest thing to for a person to do. When a project does not go well or issues arise during a project, a project manager has the dilemma of having to admit and take responsibility for what went wrong. According to the article, ethically, if the project manager is at fault for the unsuccessful venture of project completion, then that project manager must be able to admit this wrong. Not admitting wrongdoing can greatly damage the team relationship. Have you ever been a lead on a project or member of a project team were the admission of wrongdoing became an issue?
The second ethical issue the article discusses is “focus of blame”. As we all know it is easier to blame someone else when something does not go right then to take the blame ourselves. This is also true for project managers. The article states that ethically, no one person should be singled out if a project fails unless it is the project manager. The project manager is in charged of getting the project completed. Sometimes a task can fail despite the project manager’s best efforts. If this is the case, ethically, the team should take responsibility for the failure and not one or two individuals. Have you ever been part of a team and the lead tried to blame you for the failures of the project? Have you ever tried to blame someone else on your team for a project failure?
The last ethical issue the article discusses is “hard choices regarding contracts”. Contract may have clauses built into them that may violate ethical beliefs and values. The article gives the following as an example: a defense contract may stipulate that members of a project team cannot be of a certain race or origin to qualify to work on a project. Is this ethical or unethical? The answer may be debatable. To some, this is ethical in order to ensure the protection of the country’s top-secret initiatives and projects. To others, however, this would be an example of discrimination based on race or ethnicity and labeled unethical. The question I have is with all of the technology and resources that are available today to do background checks, is it still ok to discriminate for any reason?