Ethics in project management : some Aristotelian insights

Bredillet, Christophe (2014) Ethics in project management : some Aristotelian insights. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 7(4), pp. 548-565.

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My aim is to introduce, in the project management field, an Aristotelian ethics lens moving beyond the classical deontological and consequentialism approaches underlying the current ethical practices and codes of ethics and professional conducts. In doing so, I wish to pose the premises of a debate on the implications of a conscious ethical perspective for the structure and agency relationship within the project management field


Project management is a knowledge field on its own right. However the current perspectives applied to make sense and develop the field (modernism vs. postmodernism) leads to dichotomous thinking rather than recognizing the merits and contextual validity of both sides. I call for Aristotelian Ethics as a way of moving beyond this dichotomous thinking. I introduce briefly Aristotelian Ethics and its consequences in term of relation theory – practice, means and ends, facts and values, and finally politics (i.e. being part of a community of practitioners). Then I illustrate some consequences for the field taking PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and APM Code of Professional Conduct as supports for discussion


I suggest a need for revisiting and/or redesigning the codes of ethics and professional conducts for project management according to an Aristotelian perspective, in order to move beyond the normative limitations of classical deontological (conflict between competing duties, exemplified by PMI Code) or consequentialism (focusing on the "right" outcome to the detriment of duties, exemplified by APM Code) approaches (both, in fact, leading to a disconnection means and ends, and facts and values). This implicates shifting our view from the question "what is my duty?" to the questions "why should I undertake my duty?" and "how ought I act in this situation?"

Practical implications

Raising Professional Bodies, Industry and Education institutions awareness and consciousness and leading them to rethink about codes of ethics and the implications for the way they conceive practice and research, bodies of knowledge, credentialing, education...


To the best of my knowledge, this kind of discussion has not yet been conducted within the project management field, and considering the implication of project management in our life and for the well being of the society, an ethical debate may present some value(s)

Impact and interest:

5 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 74444
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Aristotle, ethics, project management
DOI: 10.1108/IJMPB-08-2013-0041
ISSN: 1753-8378
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > BUILDING (120200) > Building Construction Management and Project Planning (120201)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Emerald Group Publishing
Copyright Statement: This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Deposited On: 27 Jul 2014 23:11
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2015 17:41

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