Property Rights and the PMI Code of Ethics

Posted on March 17, 2010 by


Project Management Institute

Image by craig.martell via Flickr

Respecting both tangible things and intellectual property that do not belong to you is a matter of showing respect for the owner. The fourth mandatory Respect standard in the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct ( is “3.3.4 We respect the property rights of others.” Owners, which include both individuals and entities, have rights regarding their property and there may be ramifications if those rights are violated.

For example, when using company property in the course of our job duties, we should not carelessly allow it to be damaged or to be wasted. Intellectual property is perhaps even more fragile. It would be difficult to discreetly remove the desks and chairs from your organization and auction them off; but in comparison, intellectual property can be relatively quietly sold, shared, or left unprotected.  An employee who fails to share source documentation, e.g., in Microsoft Word or Excel, and only distributes via a PDF file demonstrates an abuse of an organization’s intellectual property.  They may think they’re protecting their investment, value or retention, when in fact they’re only demonstrating a disregard for intellectual property rights.

Some individuals do not even show respect for their own property so it can be expected that they will not show respect for what belongs to others. Whereas other employees “take ownership” in the figurative sense that as a member of the company they treat company property as well as they treat their own belongings.

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