The First Aspirational Honesty Standard in the PMI Code of Ethics

Posted on February 10, 2010 by

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Honesty (Curtis Mayfield album)

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Honesty is one of the four major values of the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

The honesty standards are divided into aspirational and mandatory standards, and there are five aspirational honesty standards. The first standard is “5.2.1 We earnestly seek to understand the truth.” At first blush, this seems like something we would all want anyway—we don’t need an ethics code to tell us this. Don’t we all want to know what is really going on? Unfortunately, sometimes the truth is ugly and inconvenient and people do not want to know. For example, if your organization’s hiring practices lead to consistently underhiring certain protected groups of people, would the organization’s leaders want to know? It can certainly be easier at times to claim ignorance. How about if an internal survey shows that employees are very dissatisfied with several aspects of their organization—what is the temptation to “slice and dice” the data in different ways so that the organization can report more positive findings? Of course, problems and opportunities are not dealt with if they are ignored or denied, so understanding the facts is the basis of sound, well-informed decisions.

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