Ethics and Project Management: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Ethics and Project Management

1st Edition

By Ralph L. Kliem, PMP

Auerbach Publications

244 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781439852613
pub: 2011-10-14
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Ethics plays a critical role in project management, but all too often, its importance is overlooked. This benign neglect can result in serious consequences to individuals and organizations, ranging from tarnished reputations to civil and criminal liability. Ethics and Project Management demonstrates the importance of making ethics a key consideration in managing projects and describes the impacts that occur when ethical transgressions arise.

Providing the tools necessary for project managers to avoid an ethical lapse that can put themselves and their organization at risk, this volume:

  • Defines ethics and places it within the project management context
  • Discusses the contents of the Project Management Institute’s code of ethics
  • Enables project managers to recognize the trends that precipitate ethical dilemmas on a project
  • Demonstrates how ethical concerns permeate the entire project life cycle
  • Provides tips on establishing a governance protocol to ensure ethical compliance
  • Explores legal issues that arise from unethical behavior
  • Examines how ethical concerns on a project can have global implications, and how to operate in international settings with cultural differences

Each chapter ends with a Getting Started Checklist, facilitating immediate application of the concepts discussed and making it easy for project managers to determine whether they are in compliance with ethical standards. Providing a solid roadmap for the ethical health of a project, this volume is essential reading for all those concerned with avoiding the disastrous consequences of a cavalier approach to ethics.

Praise for the book:

… a great desktop reference for any project manager. It is a must-have title to complete any project management library and I recommend it to both new and highly experienced project managers.

—Gregg D. Richie, PMP, MCTS, CNP, Managing Principal, P8, LLC


After 33 years in the project management profession, I have seen ethics treated as sacred by most and valued much less by others. Ralph Kliem has taken the subject of ethics for project managers, dissected it with the accuracy of a skilled surgeon, and then explained it in exacting detail for the entire community to easily understand. In a world where we usually see ethics gone awry, he proves that taking the hard right over the easy wrong still is (and always will be) the best option. Since project management is a global profession, today's project manager is faced with integrating the rules, customs, cultures, and ethical values of different countries into their projects. Using the information in this book will sustain the foundation of ethical behavior and decision-making at all levels of the organization, regardless of project size and/or location. The use of graphics, check lists, examples, and other tools, turn this book into a working document and a great desktop reference for any project manager. It is a must-have title to complete any project management library and I recommend it to both new and highly experienced project managers.

—Gregg D. Richie, PMP, MCTS, CNP, Managing Principal, P8, LLC

Table of Contents

Ethics and Project Management

What Is Ethics?

Misperceptions about Ethics

Key Factors

Common Terminology

Theoretical Underpinnings

Why Ethics Should Matter to Project Managers

Unique Circumstances

Hard and Soft Ethical Issues

Consequences of Ethical Failure

Cloudy Perspective

The Ethical Dilemma

Two Key Considerations

Sensitivity of Issue

Intensity of Response

Project Management Code of Ethics



Categories of Principles

The Ethical Trends and Challenges Confronting Project Managers

Global Trends

Adapting to Global Trends

Straying from the High Road

How Ethics Permeates the Entire Project Life Cycle

Contextual Factors

Five Major Project Management Processes

Categories of Ethical Dilemmas

Ethics and Project Management Processes

Planning and Ethics

Executing and Ethics

Monitoring and Controlling and Ethics

Closing and Ethics

General Ethical Dilemmas

Ethics and Project Governance

What Is Governance?

What Are Controls?

What Is Risk?

Effective Risk Management

Ethics and the Law

The Relationship between Law and Ethics

Key Legal Terms

Key Legal Principles and Concepts

Numerous Laws and Regulations

Ethics, Globalization, and Project Management

Important Factors

Key Dimensions

Independence, Integration, and Interdependence


Breeding Ground and Consequences

Key Actions

Making Ethics a Reality

Why Ethics Takes a Back seat

Making Ethics on Projects a Reality

The Mark of an Ethical Project Manager




About the Author

Ralph L. Kliem has more than 25 years of experience with Fortune 500 firms in the financial and aerospace industries. His wide, varied experience in project and program management includes managing compliance and information technology projects and programs.

He is the author of more than 15 books that have been translated in several languages. He has also published more than 200 articles in leading business and information systems publications.

Mr. Kliem is an adjunct faculty member of City University in Seattle and a former member of the Seattle Pacific University faculty. He is an instructor with Bellevue College and Cascadia Community College and a frequent presenter to the Puget Sound chapter of the Project Management Institute and other professional organizations. He also teaches Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and other project management seminars and workshops in the United States and Canada.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Management Science
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Project Management
COMPUTERS / Information Technology