Honesty as the Basis of Ethics in an Organization

Why Ethics Are That Important



By Angelica Larios, MBA, PMP

Mexico City, Mexico



‘‘The time is always right to do what is right.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nowadays, more and more articles, books, and guides to ethics and codes of conduct are high on the agenda of every organization, enterprise, business unit, and projects. The concern is evolving and growing; and it is now necessary to have a model that directs behavior inside organizations. But where does this anxiety come from?

Recent headlines report several financial corruption scandals, conflicts of interest, and collusion in different spheres, among many other events—revealing a moral crisis. This crisis of values, morals, and ethics in business is present not only in the United States, but other countries as well. It is advisable to revisit some crucial aspects of ethics to maintain the integrity of organizations and keep them from ethical threats.

Ethics is a concept commonly used to refer to the morality of an individual or an organization, and if well applied, ethics can become a principle that improves decision-making processes. However, ethics does not describe a specific norm or conduct ethics is related to an intimate way of reflection, and it helps to determine what the correct path is and how individuals should act. According to Mahatma Gandhi, it is more important to obey the inner voice of conscience than the highest law of courts or governments.

Ethics must be expressed as a policy within the organization that defines the way a person should behave. Ethics should help to identify behaviors that are correct and accepted. On the other hand, ethics are a mechanism to teach others what those values are, and what an organization stands for. Ultimately, ethics should delineate the acceptable from the unacceptable with no ambiguity.

At the bottom line of ethics, there is honesty, which should be part of every transaction, interaction, decision, or action that an organization and its employees take. Langlois says, “Ethics will play a paramount role in allowing leaders to turn towards organizational or professional values in order to justify their decisions.”

PMI recalls the importance of ethics in the decision-making process, “like all leaders, project managers build trust by the way they make decisions.” (PMI, n.d.) PMI also states, “Ethics is the discipline of ‘how to do it best’. To guide behavior and help with tough decisions, we have crafted a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and an Ethical Decision-Making Framework. To deepen your knowledge and perspective, we provide numerous articles, papers, and webinars”  (PMI, n.d.). This shows concern for addressing the importance of ethical aspects in day-to-day actions and decisions.

“When unethical behaviors arise, take action. Use our ethics complaint and review process and see the specialized resources available. In practicing ethics, honesty plays an essential role in helping to maintain ethical aspects since it offers the foundation of moral behavior,”  (PMI, n.d.).

In this article, I propose implementing a policy of honesty within an organization as a way to face current challenges that organizations encounter regarding ethics. I am providing six steps to help improve relationships between organizations and the employees, orienting the application of ethics though steps of honesty.



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How to cite this article: Larios, A. (2020). Honesty as the Basis of Ethics in an Organization: Why Ethics Are That Important, PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue VI, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/pmwj94-Jun2020-Larios-honesty-as-basis-for-ethics-in-organizations.pdf



About the Author


Angelica Larios

Mexico City, Mexico


Angelica Larios, MBA, PMP, is a project manager with more than 20 years of experience in implementing software projects related to business intelligence, planning and budgeting, and financial consolidation solutions based on software applications to support the business decision process. She is the owner of ALACONTEC, an I.T. consulting company founded in Latin America. She has held several professional positions in private and public organizations, such as the Health Ministry in Mexico as I.T. director, and as a business manager for several firms in Mexico.

She holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from National University of Mexico (UNAM) in addition to her studies in project management and her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification, which have helped her to consolidate her career and have a better understanding of what businesses and projects need nowadays. She is a doctoral student in strategic leadership at Regent University, VA, USA; she is a PMI volunteer since 2007 starting in the local Mexico chapter, being Past President and and currently serves on the Board Volunteer Advisory Committee (BVAC) that supports the PMI Board of Directors (2016–2018).

Angelica can be contacted at angelica.larios@gmail.com

To view other works by Angelica Larios, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/angelica-larios/