The Third Mandatory Respect Standard in the PMI Code of Ethics

Posted on February 19, 2010 by


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Thirty-seven percent of workers have been bullied, 45% of targets suffer stress-related health problems, and 62% of employers ignore the problem (Workplace Bullying Institute survey at Workplace Bullying). The poor psychological treatment of workers is a prevalent and serious problem.

The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct contains four mandatory Respect standards, with the third one being: “3.3.3 We do not act in an abusive manner toward others.”

Although most importantly it is morally wrong to harm others in this way, the fact that it also leads to turnover, lower productivity, and litigation are additional incentives for an organization to be concerned about workplace abuse. In teaching this Code of Ethics, I have found that most project managers quickly recognize and condemn given examples of abusive behavior. However, some do not. This standard is well-placed in the Respect section, because abusive, bullying behavior shows a lack of respect for another person. Humiliating, belittling, intimidating, or threatening someone, stealing credit for their work, spreading gossip, and excluding them socially are all examples of abuse that must be avoided by project managers.

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