PMI® Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
The PMI® Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct sets a standard for the profession of project management of what is right and honourable to do. It articulates ideals to which we aspire as well as behaviours that are mandatory.
When to use
The code applies to everyone who is a member of PMI. In addition, it applies to non-members who either have received or are applying for a PMI certification (such as the PMP® certification). It also applies to non-members who volunteer to work at PMI events.
The code was developed with input from project management practitioners from around the world. They identified four values which form the structure of the code:
The code includes both aspirational and mandatory standards in each of those four areas. The aspirational standards are those that we strive to achieve. They are hard to measure, but they are still important standards that each individual holds themselves accountable to meet. The mandatory standards are firm requirements that often limit or prohibit certain behaviours. Failure to comply with the mandatory standards can result in disciplinary procedures before PMI’s Ethics Review Committee.
“Responsibility is our duty to take ownership for the decisions we make or fail to make, the actions we take or fail to take, and the consequences that result.”
The aspirational standards are what you would expect as the definition of personal responsibility:
(1) “We make decisions and take actions based on the best interests of society, public safety, and the environment.”
(2) “We accept only those assignments that are consistent with our background, experience, skills, and qualifications.”
(3) “We fulfill the commitments that we undertake – we do what we say we will do.”
(4) “When we make errors or omissions, we take ownership and make corrections promptly. When we discover errors or omissions caused by others, we communicate them to the appropriate body as soon they are discovered. We accept accountability for any issues resulting from our errors or omissions and any resulting consequences.”
(5) “We protect proprietary or confidential information that has been entrusted to us.”
(6) “We uphold this Code and hold each other accountable to it.”
The mandatory standards are straight-forward:
(1) “We inform ourselves and uphold the policies, rules, regulations and laws that govern our work, professional, and volunteer activities.”
(2) “We report unethical or illegal conduct to appropriate management and, if necessary, to those affected by the conduct.”
(3) “We bring violations of this Code to the attention of the appropriate body for resolution.”
(4) “We only file ethics complaints when they are substantiated by facts.”
(5) “We pursue disciplinary action against an individual who retaliates against a person raising ethics concerns.”
Project Management Institute, Project Management Professional (PMP)® Handbook, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2010, Page 44.
“Respect is our duty to show a high regard for ourselves, others, and the resources entrusted to us. Resources entrusted to us may include people, money, reputation, the safety of others, and natural or environmental resources. An environment of respect engenders trust, confidence, and performance excellence by fostering mutual cooperation – an environment where diverse perspectives and views are encouraged and valued.”
Another way of describing the aspirational standards is to use good manners:
(1) “We inform ourselves about the norms and customs of others and avoid engaging in behaviors they might consider disrespectful.”
(2) “We listen to others’ points of view, seeking to understand them.”
(3) “We approach directly those persons with whom we have a conflict or disagreement.”
(4) “We conduct ourselves in a professional manner, even when it is not reciprocated.”
The mandatory standards focus on the abuse of power:
(1) “We negotiate in good faith.”
(2) “We do not exercise the power of our expertise or position to influence the decisions or actions of others in order to benefit personally at their expense.”
(3) “We do not act in an abusive manner toward others.”
(4) “We respect the property rights of others.”
“Fairness is our duty to make decisions and act impartially and objectively. Our conduct must be free from competing self-interest, prejudice, and favoritism.”
The aspirational standards in this category focus on avoiding a conflict of interest, or even the appearance of it:
(1) “We demonstrate transparency in our decision-making process.”
(2) “We constantly reexamine our impartiality and objectivity, taking corrective action as appropriate.”
(3) “We provide equal access to information to those who are authorized to have that information.”
(4) “We make opportunities equally available to qualified candidates.”
The mandatory standards address conflict of interest and discrimination:
(1) “We proactively and fully disclose any real or potential conflicts of interest to the appropriate stakeholders.”
(2) “When we realize that we have a real or potential conflict of interest, we refrain from engaging in the decision-making process or otherwise attempting to influence outcomes, unless or until: we have made full disclosure to the affected stakeholders; we have an approved mitigation plan; and we have obtained the consent of the stakeholders to proceed.”
(3) “We do not hire or fire, reward or punish, or award or deny contracts based on personal considerations, including but not limited to, favoritism, nepotism, or bribery.”
(4) “We do not discriminate against others based on, but not limited to, gender, race, age, religion, disability, nationality, or sexual orientation.”
(5) “We apply the rules of the organization (employer, Project Management Institute, or other group) without favoritism or prejudice.”
Project Management Institute, Project Management Professional (PMP)® Handbook, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2010, Pages 44 and 45.
“Honesty is our duty to understand the truth and act in a truthful manner, both in our communications and in our conduct.”
The aspirational standards are focused upon telling the truth in all our communications:
(1) “We earnestly seek to understand the truth.”
(2) “We are truthful in our communications and in our conduct.”
(3) “We provide accurate information in a timely manner.”
(4) “We make commitments and promises, implied or explicit, in good faith.”
(5) “We strive to create an environment in which others feel safe to tell the truth.”
The mandatory standards prohibit deception:
(1) “We do not engage in or condone behavior that is designed to deceive others, including but not limited to, making misleading or false statements, stating half-truths, providing information out of context or withholding information that, if known, would render our statements as misleading or incomplete.”
(2) “We do not engage in dishonest behavior with the intention of personal gain or at the expense of another.”
Project Management Institute, Project Management Professional (PMP)® Handbook, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2010, Page 46.
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