Ethics and Culture in Organizations

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This subject looks at the at the central role of ethics, culture and the associated outcomes such as CSR, sustainability, and the 'triple bottom line', in successful organizations.

Topics included in ethics and culture in organizations:

- The Importance of Ethics in Governance
- The Culture of Organizations
- Useful External Web-links & Resources.

Other related sections of the PMKI:

- Personal Ethics & Sustainability 
- The Evolution of Governance & Ethics

The Importance of Ethics in Governance

EthicsThis section looks at the central role of morals, ethics, values, principles and policies in shaping effective governance. These in turn influence the organization's culture (see below), and its approach to social responsibility (CSR), sustainability, ESG, and the 'triple bottom line' (TBL). The ethical standards apparent in the way an organization conducts its business is a reflection of the personal ethics of people in positions of power,
see more on personal ethics

Blg: The moral underpinnings of good policy. The relationship between morals, ethics, values, principles and policies.

Art: Ethics, Integrity and Governance. Different ethical approaches and how they effect good governance.

Blg: Practical Ethics. Blind trust in the ethical standards of others is dangerous. The role of ethical leaders is first to set the ethical standards, and then implement systems that require their followers to conform.

Blg: Practical Ethics 2. The ethical standards of an organization are set by the actions of its leaders (not what they say). What they do sets the ceiling and what they tolerate in others the floor. 

Blg: Ethics and Governance in Action. The best governed organizations will have ethical failures, even criminal activities, occurring from time to time. The difference between a well governed organization with a strong ethical framework and the others is how they deal with the issues.

Blg: Governance and ethics. A toxic culture and poor ethics will trump good intentions every time; an update of the CBA and FIFA scandals.

Blg: Making Ethics Effective. An organization can espouse the highest ethical standards but if these are not supported and enforced they are simply nice statements that look appealing. The challenge is to have the right levels of support and just enough enforcement.

Blg: Tired workers lose their ethics. Research as found that a lack of sleep, partcularly small amounts of lost sleep, produced higher levels of unethical behaviour.

Blg: The value of Practical Wisdom in organizational governance. Sufficient freedom is needed to allow people to apply practical wisdom to achieve the strategic objectives of the organization.

WP: The Value of Trust. Trust is a key element in the effective management of project teams and contracts. High levels of trust speeds up decisions and lowers costs.

Art: Sustainable project management. Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and 'Green Project Management' to enhance your project's 'triple bottom line'.

Blg: Ethics and sustainability. Building ethics and sustainability into a project does not limit its success; in fact the reverse is often true. The disposal of millions of tones of excavated material from the Crossrail project has created a wildlife haven.

Art: CSR, TBL, and Too Many Other Acronyms. This article looks at the relationship between ESG, CSR, TBL and a range of other concepts built around the need for organizations to act in ways that are socially and environmentally sustainable.  ESG, CSR, TBL and sustainability are important aspects of governance, these are covered in our section on: Sustainability   

See more on the evolution of ethics.


The Culture of Organizations

CultureThis section looks at organizational culture, and how this impacts the governance and management of projects, programs and portfolios.

Art: Measuring Culture. The culture of an organization or team is a key determinant of success and an important measure of effective governance - this article suggests ways to measure culture.

Art: Ethics is not enough. Recent cladding fires demonstrate that achieving reliable quality standards needs more than simply relying on the ethical standards of everyone in the supply chain - the supply system needs to actively support ethical standards to ensure the defined scope is delivered.

Art: Is project management a standard process or a cultural process? Project processes have to be effective within the culture of the organization undertaking the work of the project. This article suggests change is needed, one-size does not 'fit all'.

Blg: Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Most business changes involve a strategic intent, implemented by a project or program supported by training. And the changes still fail! The challenge is changing the culture os the people after they have been trained.

Blg: Culture eats strategy for breakfast 2. This post looks at the entrenched nature of culture and its affect on change.

Art: ‘Not knowing’ is no longer an option. Ethical governance and management requires timely access to ACCURATE information. Ensuring the information used to manage the organization is ACCURATE is an ethical responsibility.

PP: Advancing Project Management in Learning Organizations. Successful completion of a project depends on both ‘hard’ skills and ‘soft’ skills supported by the ability to tap into the organization's power structures. See also: PP: Tapping the Power Lines (how to connect to this organizational influence grid).

PP: The Paradox of Project Control in a Matrix Organization. The ‘zone’ between the strategic vision set by senior management and the projects created to fulfil it, is a highly complex, dynamic and complex organism. A paradigm shift in management thinking needed to succeed in managing projects across the ‘zone’. See also: Blg: Disappearing into the Zone.


Useful External Web-links & Resources

PGCS For papers on organizational ethics presented at the PGCS Annual Symposium see: 


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