Profession: Raising awareness - Across the profession, the awareness of the impact of fair and unfair treatment on individuals, organisations and projects needs to be raised. Fair and unfair treatment does not currently receive sufficient attention within our profession with no mentions of it in any body of knowledge or other publications by professional bodies. A first step to raising awareness is the publication of this research report, which should be followed up by appropriate dissemination activities such as webinars and articles along with further studies to develop an even better understanding of fair and unfair treatment in projects, e.g., how the perceptions of fair-ness impact on the health and wellbeing of project professionals or test quantitatively how sources, experiences and other factors influence justice perceptions in projects.
Organisations: Building skills and capabilities - Organisations need to invest in building the skills and capabilities of project managers and project team members in how organisational justice can be adopted in projects. This requires training leaders and senior project professionals in the application of justice in projects and embedding fair principles and procedures in project team working and enabling individuals to implement fair process and procedures within their own authority. Organisations will need to have an open and transparent culture which provides a psychologically safe environment for individuals to speak up. Appropriate governance arrangements such as fair project governance should also be implemented and an appropriate balance of authority and accountability across project roles and clarity over responsibilities should be considered. Organisations also need to ensure that learning from past organisational injustice is captured, understood and not repeated.
Individuals: Taking responsibility – project professionals need to be aware of the impact their actions have on subordinates, contractors, peers and project team members. However, previous research has shown that awareness is insufficient in this context, as it often varies how fairly a source perceives their treatment of others and how fair the receiving individual perceives the treatment. This means sources need to actively seek feedback from individuals if their actions are following justice rules and hence if they are improving justice perceptions in projects. These can be simple considerations of how their treatment could add excessive workload/stress to others, or how something that is ‘important’ for one team member is not ‘urgent’ for another team member, or how able team members are to voice their opinions and influence the project. Every individual working in projects can make a difference in creating a fair and equitable working environment for the other project team members. However, this effort should not stop at the individual level and needs to be supported by organisations working on projects, ranging from client to contractor to supply chain organisations and also requires the commitment from thought leaders in the profession.