Responsible Leadership in Projects


Book Title:  Responsible Leadership in Projects: Insights Into Ethical Decision Making       
Author:  Nicholas Clarke, Alessia D’Amato, Malcolm Higgs, Ramesh Vahidi
Publisher:  Project Management Institute (PMI ®)
List Price:  $24.95
Format:  Soft cover, 150 pages
Publication Date:  2018
ISBN:  978-1-62825-476-1
Reviewer:  Les Foley, PMP, MPM, MBA, MA
Review Date:   March 2018



Responsible Leadership in Projects: Insights Into Ethical Decision Making, by Nicholas Clarke, Alessia D’Amato, Malcolm Higgs, and Ramesh Vahidi, investigates how relationships among the project manager, project team members, and “key” stakeholders bring about ethical and/or moral dilemmas during the management of a project. It takes a closer look at how managers’ leadership actions impact the decision-making process in an attempt to resolve ethical and moral dilemmas.

This book brings to the reader’s attention the significant role organizational culture plays in the ethical decision-making process and the importance of extensive stakeholder engagement in contributing to handling ethical issues and dilemmas.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The Chapter 1, “Executive Summary”, gives the reader background information about the objectives of the study, how the study was conducted, key findings, and the resulting contributions to theory and practice.  This is followed by a short “Introduction” (Chapter 2) explaining how a phenomenological approach survey was conducted to map the interrelationships between the various stakeholders in four projects located within the financial industry in the United Kingdom.

Chapter 3 deals with “Responsible Leadership” and contains, among other things, a statement regarding a 2009 poll conducted in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and the United States indicating the percentage of Americans and European adults who believe the behavior of their business leaders is unethical or irresponsible.  I think you will be amazed when you see these numbers in the book.

“Ethics in Project Management” is addressed in Chapter 4.  At this point, the authors give an overview of ethics concepts, contexts, theories, ethical dilemmas, ethical decision making, and behavioral theories they uncovered in their review of project management academic literature.  Names and dates of the authors, who produced this literature, are included for the reader who cares to investigate this material further.

After explaining that an ethical decision is a decision “that is both legally and morally acceptable to the larger community”, Chapter 5, Ethical Decision Making” addresses individual and situational factors that affect ethical decision making and various ethical decision-making models. Chapter 6 explains the aims of the study and details the methodology used.  This is followed by the longest chapter in the book, Chapter 7, describing the findings of the four case studies.

The book wraps up with some general discussion comments and a summary of key findings and conclusions in chapters 8 and 9.


This is the first study to investigate how relationships among project managers, team members, and “key” stakeholders bring about ethical or personal conflicts for project managers.  In spite of the fact that much has been published about the idea of a code of professional conduct in project management, there is a scarcity of academic studies on ethics in project management.


To read entire Book Review, click here


About the Reviewer

Les Foley, PMP

North Texas, USA



Les Foley, PMP, MPM, MBA, MA, BS earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Economics from Culver-Stockton College in 1977, a Master of Arts Degree in Computer Data Management from Webster University in 1985, an MBA Degree in General Business from Amberton University in 1997, and a Master of Project Management Degree from the Keller Graduate School of Management in 2012.  While serving at the Air Force Officer Training School (OTS) from ‘81 to ‘85, he attended the Academic Instructor School, conducted the OTS train-the-trainer program for three years, and earned his Master Instructor rating.   Les completed his military career with the Air Force in 1990 with the rank of captain and moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area.

Over the past 27 years, Les has worked in the eyewear, copier, aerospace, defense, and audio-visual industries in DFW; most recently, as a PMP Prep Class Boot Camp instructor for Rebus Business Solutions and as a Project Manager at Whitlock–an audio-visual integrator in Flower Mound, TX.  He earned his Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification in August 2005.

Les began teaching Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification exam prep classes in 2006 while employed at Elbit Systems of America, LLC in Fort Worth, TX and produced over a dozen new PMPs for that company.  Les and his wife Denise started D and L Training in 2011.  He has been teaching PMP®/CAPM® Cert Exam Prep classes at White’s Chapel in Southlake, TX, for the unemployed, since 2013.  This class has produced over 175 PMPs to date.

In his spare time, Les likes to read, listen to classical music and exercise.  He is passionate about teaching, project management, and helping others to be successful.


Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the PMI Dallas Chapter. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  PMI Dallas Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published.  Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books. 

If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact [email protected].