Professional ethics of project managers

The professional ethics of project managers are classified into four groups comprising of;

  • Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Honesty

The following mind map depicts the professional ethics of project managers. Click on the diagram to zoom in.

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  • Ownership for errors or omissions. There is no room for blame game in project management. Ultimately, it is the project manager who is accountable for the impact on schedule and cost due to errors or omissions.
  • Report unethical or illegal conduct. Easier said than done. Only a principle centered project manager will be able to do it.
  • File ethics complaints only if they can be substantiated by facts. In some countries it is the responsibility of the defendant (accused) to prove their innocence. In majority of the countries, it is the responsibility of the complainant (suer) to prove that the other person is guilty with sufficient proof.
  • Protect the whistle blower. It is the responsibility of the project manager to protect the whistle blower.
  • Accept only those we can do. Saying ‘No’ to things that cannot be accomplished within the agreed upon time and cost is not a bad thing in project management, provided it is substantiated with reason.
  • Honor commitments. Irrespective of whether it is small or big, honor all commitments. It increases reputation.
  • Protect proprietary or confidential information
  • Follow policies, rules, laws governing work
  • Protect the interest of the society, public safety and environment


  • Avoid engaging in disrespectful behavior
  • Listen to other’s point of view, seeking to understand them
  • Approach directly those with whom we have a conflict
  • Conduct ourselves in a professional manner, even when it is not reciprocated
  • We negotiate in good faith
  • Will not use power or influence for selfish gains
  • Do not act in an abusive manner
  • Respect the property rights of others


  • Fully disclose any potential conflict of interest
  • We refrain from decision making when there is a potential conflict of interest
  • Will not be driven by favoritism, nepotism or bribe
  • Do not discriminate based on gender, race, age, religion, disability, nationality or sexual orientation
  • Demonstrate transparency in our decision making
  • Constantly reexamine our impartiality and objectivity
  • Provide equal access to information
  • Provide equal opportunities
  • Apply rules of the organization


  • Will not engage in dishonest behavior
  • Do not deceive others
  • Provide accurate information in a timely manner
  • Earnestly seek to understand the truth
  • Are truthful in our communication and conduct

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