Ethics frameworks

Definition

An ethics framework sets recognised standards of conduct and behaviour within the P3 profession.

General

A key requirement of a profession is that individual members should act ethically.

Trust and respect are vital to the success of anyone who wants to be regarded as a professional. This trust is gained by working consistently in a moral, legal and socially appropriate manner. It is reinforced by a commitment to act in accordance with a code of conduct.

Ethical leadership depends on a fundamental understanding of the legal boundaries (such as the UK Bribery Act) and stakeholders’ norms of behaviour, expectations and moral values. The latter will vary by location, culture and sector.

The P3 manager needs to consider the ethics of the process by which deliverables are produced and the use to which they are to be (or could be) put. A basic knowledge of ethical theory and how to resolve ethical dilemmas is needed in order to deal with these issues.

The moral values of different stakeholders, as well as the relevant national and international laws, have to be understood.

Personal and professional codes of conduct do not always align with those of the organisations involved in projects, programmes and portfolios and this can lead to conflict. The P3 manager must ensure that the project, programme or portfolio’s values, or code of conduct, are clearly articulated and understood by all. This can be achieved through training, taking part in workshops or issuing specific guidance.

The most powerful way to ensure that teams and stakeholders understand and abide by the code is for the P3 manager to lead by example.

If a professional believes that they have a conflict of interest, or difficulties with the ethics of their activities, then advice or direction should be sought from a relevant authority.

Society now demands increasing transparency and expects professionals to behave in an ethical manner. So the P3 manager needs to be able to take and explain ethical decisions in a way that maintains the commitment of all stakeholders.

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