Project Management Ethics in Information Systems

Jessica Leong and John Paynter



The growing public concern about ethical standards is a strong motivation for conducting this study. Four scenarios posing ethical issues based on Information System (IS) Project Management were written. We modified Reidenbach and Robin’s (1990) multidimensional ethics measurement scale to reflect the duty of care professionals owe stakeholders. A questionnaire was constructed to ascertain respondents’ attitudes to the ethical dilemmas in each scenario for the 11 items.


240 respondents, surveyed from the Universities of Auckland and Otago, were asked to respond to each scenario, then to answer questions on project management and ethics. Similar factors were developed to those of Reidenbach and Robin. The survey found differences in item scores by residency status, ethnicity, employment group and major, but none by gender.


Results of this study suggested that “Western” respondents have different attitudes to ethical scenarios than Asian respondents and that Information Systems students had different attitudes than Computer Science and Operations Management students. Few respondents had previous exposure to project management ethics; they considered that project management and ethics should be part of the curriculum.


The results of this study allow for future research where more insight can be gained in this area of research. With this in mind we are conducting a survey ( through the Project Management Institute and will present the results from that at the conference.