Questions about Ethics and Professionalism

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Questions about Ethics and Professionalism

Ethics and professionalism are essential aspects of project management. Whitton (p.3) explains that ethics involve differentiating between what is wrong and right. On the other hand, professionalism refers to how a person conducts him/herself by portraying attributes such as effective attitude, competence, appearance, mannerisms and communication skills. There is need to act in accordance with the ethics specified in a given group such as a lawyers, doctors and engineers and to apply effective professionalism to ensure success in project management. The section below explores the various aspects relating to ethics and professionalism in project management.

Importance of professionalism and ethics in project management and how it may impact the success of a project

Application of ethics and professionalism is essential to project management in various ways. One of the importance of ethics and professionalism is the fact that it raises the standards of conducting the activities involved in a project (Vee & CMartin p.112). The set codes of ethics in a given field such as in engineering elevate the profession and act as a guideline on how those in the field should conduct themselves to facilitate the success of a project.

Professionalism and ethics are also crucial based on how they imprint the right behaviors and mindsets among individuals. For the success of a given project, there has to be effective coordination between the individuals involved. Professionalism and ethics demand that individuals involved in a project are trustworthy. This ensures effective relationship between participants. It also raises the faith that a manager has in those who work below him/her to carry out activities assigned to them.

Another importance of ethics and professionalism relates to the way they improve business relationships at different levels of a project. Effective relationship with other stakeholders who contribute to successful completion of a project such as suppliers is imperative. Being keen on ethics and professionalism attracts the best organizations to work with a given firm. Working with such companies implies that a project is undertaken in an effective way (Mishra, Dangayach &Mittal, p.399).

Ethics and professionalism also promote fair decision making in project management. Decision-making is a crucial area of project management. Individuals are motivated when they have the assurance that they are treated fairly such as in terms of payment based on their job description during a project. Ethics and professionalism act as a guide on how a manager can ensure that others are treated fairly.

The other importance of ethics and professionalism in project management relates to the fact that they ensure the activities involved are carried out following strict and high standards. Adhering to strict and high standards reduces the risks that may arise; hence increasing the chances of success of a project (Richardson, p.510).

Importance of leadership and its relationship to the social responsibility of organizations

Leadership plays a crucial role in project management. Ensuring that there is productivity is one of the benefits of leadership in project management. An effective leader allows project team members to have the freedom to make their decisions. Such freedom improves creativity and eventually the productivity of an organization.

Leadership in project management is indispensable as it helps in establishing trustworthy relationships. A competent leader creates an effective bond with the project team members (Xiong, p.35). He/she works as a collaborator between the various departments of a project and helps in addressing obstacles faced by team members. The mutual trust created between a leader and a project team member is important as it promotes honesty.

Leadership is also crucial to project management as it mentors team members. A leader does not only concentrate on project completion but is also keen on the personal development of team members. Influencing other people to conduct themselves in the right way is crucial for project management as it ensures that employees’ effort is directed towards the success of an organization.

It is also worth noting that leadership greatly influences the decision-making process. Moylan and Walker (p.6) explain that unlike the project manager, a leader makes a careful analysis of the decisions that he/she makes. He/she considers the impact that the decisions will have on those involved. Therefore, a leader does not only focus on the success of the project.Leadership also contributes to creativity, which is essential in project management. The freedom given to team members determines the level of creativity of undertaking tasks in the course of a project. A leader promotes creativity in regard to how team members undertake their decisions. A leader considers many options that may be utilized to make improvements to a project.

Social responsibilities of an organization require effective leadership. According to Du, Swaen, Lindgren and Sen (p.155), the leadership style utilized by an organization is a major determinant of how it conducts its social responsibilities. Transactional leadership, for instance, facilitates achievement of both personal and group goals; thus accomplishing the social responsibilities of an organization (Du, Swaen, Lindgren & Sen, p. 155). Charismatic leadership focuses on developing trust in an organization. A charismatic leader is one who strives to meet employees’ needs and promote a positive impact on the society. A visionary leader has a more active stance on social responsibilities of an organization. Shi and Maolin (p. 877) explain that they follow set codes of ethics seeking to ensure that an organization accomplishes its social responsibilities.

Summary and analysis of the main components of the codes of ethics of the following institutions:

  1. NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers)

Professional engineers are supposed to exhibit high standards of integrity, impartiality, fairness and honesty. They are expected to be dedicated to protecting the welfare, health and safety of the public. They must observe a standard of professional behavior. There are various primary components of the ethics of this institution. One of the components stipulates that engineers should only provide services in their areas of competency. They should also uphold the welfare, health and safety of the members of the public, avoid deceptive acts and issue statements relating to public matters only truthfully and objectively (Schwartz, p.19).  Engineers are also supposed to act for each of the client or employer as trustees or faithful agents and conduct themselves honorably, lawfully, ethically and responsibly to maintain honor, usefulness and reputation of the profession.



  1. IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

Despite IEEE being under the general institution of professional engineers, they have their codes of ethics. Their code of ethics aims at maintaining the importance of their technologies relative to the life’s quality in the world. One of the main components states that they should always avoid any perceived or real conflicts of interests and they ought to disclose them to the affected parties if they occur (Kline, p.14). They must also reject bribery of any form, be realistic and honest in generating estimates or claims based on data available and avoid causing harm to others, property, their reputation, employment through false action.  They should also accept, seek and provide honest criticism to technical work, acknowledge and rectify errors of contributions made by others. They are also supposed to hold supreme the welfare, health and safety of people.

  1. ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers)

The significant components of codes of ethics of ASME relate to the objectives and guidelines provided by the general engineering profession. Members of ASME should refer to the set code of ethics in specific situations. One of the main components of ASME code of ethics relates to the fact that they should observe safety and health, welfare and safety of the public first in performing their duties. Kasher (p. 67) explains that members should also continue their professional development in the span of their careers and strive to improve the field. They are also supposed to observe honesty by ensuring that they build their reputation on merit and avoid competing unfairly. Associating only with reputable partners, persons or organizations, observing truthfulness and honesty in public statements and considering environmental factors are other significant components of ASME code of ethics.



  1. AIA (American Institute of Architects)

Members of this institution are dedicated to the highest standards of competence, integrity and professionalism. The codes of ethics relating to the institution act as a guide for the members to fulfill their obligations. One of the main components of AIA code of ethics relates to the fact that members should always strive to improve their knowledge and skills regarding their profession (Sadri, p. 80). They should also uphold the law based on how they perform professional activities and ensure that they render public interest professional services even if they are pro bono services. Observing fairness and honesty in the activities that they perform and ensuring that they promote dignity and integrity in their profession are other crucial components of the institution’s code of ethics.

  1. ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers)

This institution’s primary components of its codes of ethics also relate to the guidelines specified in the general engineering profession. Pfatteicher (p.2) explains that its code of ethics focuses on how its members should perform activities and how they should relate to the public. One of the essential components relates to the fact that members will adhere to the set sustainable development’s principles hence observing the welfare, health and safety of the public. They should also work only in areas of their competence. Other components involve acting with zero tolerance for corruption, bribery or fraud seeking to uphold the integrity and honor of the profession and competing based on merit.



Summary of the Code of Ethics





(These are based on application except for AIA)

The Seven Fundamental canons: uphold Public safety, offer truthful Public statements, act as clients’ trustee, avoid deceptive acts, maintain profession’s reputation and ensure profession development Expect all fields of engineering follow the seven fundamental canons Confined to Electrical Engineering Confined to Mechanical Engineering Confined to Civil Engineering Does not follow the seven fundamental canons like the engineering institutions
Similarities All these institutions follow seven fundamental canons of engineering that include observing Public safety, offering truthful Public statements, act as client trustee, avoid deceptive acts, maintain profession’s reputation and ensure profession development. Promotes honesty, fairness, dignity, integrity and developing the profession just like the engineering institutions




Case study analysis

The case study “The Leaning Tower” relates to a scenario that involved poor designing of the demolition of a clock tower that caused it to tilt (Texas Tech University, par. 13).Turnbuckle, an engineering consultant, assessed the situation and provided recommendations that helped rectify the problem in time. All designers of the tower except I.B Stout are sued for causing the tilt. Despite Turnbuckle playing a major role in solving the problem, he had no license relating to practicing engineering since he was an out-of-state engineer. Three weeks after helping in solving the problem, he was in the process of seeking permission to practice engineering in the state when he receives a letter that I.B Stout had filed a complaint against him. He was suing him for practicing engineering without a license in the state. The dilemma lies in whether Turnbuckle is at fault for what he did.

In reference to the case study, it is essential to observe that Turnbuckle observed one of the PMI codes of ethics regarding public safety, health and welfare (Project Management Institute, par. 1). He ensured that he provided the best assistance to prevent any loss of life or harm to the public by providing the appropriate recommendations for solving the problem. Despite the fact that he conducted the operation without a license in that particular state, he should be supported for solving the issue. According to Schwartz (p.19), NSPE Code of Ethics for Engineers specifies that engineers should uphold public health, safety and welfare. As an engineer, this is what Turnbuckle observed.  In addition, he made the application for a temporary license to work in this state in good faith. Therefore, he should not be held responsible because the Board had not finalized on the process of granting him license before he received the letter complaining about his action. It is thus important to note that he is not at fault for what he did.

In conclusion, it is prominent that ethics and professionalism are important in project management. They play a pertinent role in determining the success of a project. Various professions such as engineering have codes of ethics that guide them in activities that they perform. Code of ethics, for instance, help in solving cases where there are violations of some of its guidelines such as in the case of “The Leaning Tower” situation.



Works Cited

Du, Shuili, et al. “The roles of leadership styles in corporate social responsibility.” Journal of business ethics 114.1 (2013): 155-169.

Kasher, Asa. “Professional ethics and collective professional autonomy: A conceptual analysis.” Ethical Perspectives 12.1 (2005): 67-97.

Kline, Ronald R. “Using history and sociology to teach engineering ethics.” IEEE Technology and Society Magazine20.4 (2001): 13-20.

Mishra, Piyush, G. S. Dangayach, and M. L. Mittal. “An Ethical approach towards sustainable project Success.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 25 (2011): 338-344.

Moylan, William A., and L. W. Walker. “Ethics in Project Management–Research on Values-Based Leadership in Project Driven Arenas1.” PM world journal 1.3 (2012).

Pfatteicher, Sarah KA. “Depending on character: ASCE shapes its first code of ethics.” Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice 129.1 (2003): 21-31.

Project Management Institute. Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct, n.d, Accessed 29 Jan. 2018.

Richardson, Gary L. Project management theory and practice. CRC Press, 2010.

Sadri, Hossein. “Professional Ethics in Architecture and Responsibilities of Architects towards Humanity.” Turkish Journal of Business Ethics 5.9 (2012): 86.

Schwartz, Arthur E., and CAE Deputy Executive Director. “Engineering Ethics: The Basics.”

Shi, Yang, and Maolin Ye. “Responsible Leadership: Review and Prospects.” American Journal of Industrial and Business Management 6.08 (2016): 877.

Texas Tech University. Murdough Center for Engineering Professionalism, n.d, Accessed 29 Jan. 2018.

Vee, Charles, and CMartin Skitmore. “Professional ethics in the construction industry.” Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management 10.2 (2003): 117-127.

Whitton, Howard. “Implementing effective ethics standards in government and the civil service.” Transparency International2 (2001): 2001.

Xiong, Riyue. Leadership in project management. Diss. Georgia Institute of Technology, 2008.

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