The Fifth Aspirational Honesty Standard in the PMI Code of Ethics

Posted on February 12, 2010 by

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Honesty (Billy Joel song)

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We’re continuing our discussion on Honesty in Project Management, which is one of the four major values of the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Just like the other values of Responsibility, Respect, and Fairness, the Honesty standards are divided into aspirational and mandatory standards. The third out of five aspirational honesty standards is “5.2.5 We strive to create an environment in which others feel safe to tell the truth.”

I especially like this standard because it goes beyond governing one’s own behavior to making it easier for others to behave in an ethical manner as well. The second and third aspirational honesty standards concerns being truthful and accurate, and the code contains a comment stating that “this includes having the courage to share bad news even when it may be poorly received.” Sometimes it is difficult to share the truth and be the bearer of bad news. However, it can be really difficult when one’s boss reacts with anger. Even worse, is having a boss pressure you to communicate inaccurate information. In order to make sound decisions, one needs accurate information. So as a project manager, it is to your benefit to make people feel comfortable in reporting information accurately no matter what it is. Perhaps more importantly, you are serving as an example of encouraging ethical behavior in others.

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