Responsible Leadership in Projects



Book Title:    Responsible Leadership in Projects: Insights Into Ethical Decision Making
Authors:        Nicholas Clarke, Alessia D’Amato, Malcolm Higgs, Ramesh Vahidi
Publisher:     PMI
List Price:     $24.95
Format:  Paperback, 150 pages
Publication Date:   Feb 1, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-62825-476-1
Reviewer: John Poulos, PMP
Review Date:   May 2018



 The authors – Nicholas Clarke, Alessia D’Amato, Malcolm Higgs and Ramesh Vahidi, professors and researchers in human resource management, organizational behavior and project management – present the results of a PMI-funded research study focused on responsible leadership and ethical decision making.

As sustainability and an interconnected business world are growing concerns of leaders, the need for corporate social responsibility and the ethical practice of project management are drawing increasing attention. These factors underpin the concept of responsible leadership. The authors note the paucity of empirical research in this area, and are seeking to contribute to the understanding of ethical decision making and how it can better inform the development of project managers. This qualitative study explores the ethical issues faced by project managers as they interact with team members and stakeholders – and how ethical decision making occurs – in the context of four individual projects undertaken in a major insurance company in the UK.

Overview of Book’s Structure

Chapters 1-2 provide an introduction, background and context for the research effort.

Chapters 3-5 provide a review of the literature on the foundational concepts of Responsible Leadership, Ethics in Project Management and Ethical Decision Making.

Chapter 6 describes the design of the research project and the approach followed to analyze the resulting data.

Chapter 7 details the findings within each of four project case studies that form the basis for research findings and insights.

Chapter 8 discusses findings and analysis of the four case studies in the context of ethics and responsible leadership.

Chapter 9 summarizes key findings and conclusions, and outlines contributions to both study and practice.


The need for responsible leadership and ethical decision making is widely recognized in the corporate world as well as the project management community. To illustrate, the authors cite a poll conducted in Europe and the US that found that between 65% and 81% of adults considered the behavior of their business leaders unethical or irresponsible.

The authors present the results and insights obtained from a qualitative study that examined over a 12 month period four particular projects conducted at a major UK insurance company. The research looked into how project members engage in ethical decision making. The projects and their associated ethical dilemmas were as follows:


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About the Reviewer

John Poulos, PMP

Chile / USA




 John Poulos has over thirty years of experience providing guidance on the effective use of information technology while delivering business-driven, technology-based solutions to a wide range of private and public sector organizations. In his current position as Senior Director of Infrastructure, Cloud and Security at NTT DATA Services, he manages strategic projects for NTT DATA/ICS leadership. In addition, he delivers infrastructure and IT strategy consulting services to corporate and government clients.

He is currently leading a global project to migrate 30,000 employees of a company recently acquired by NTT DATA from their original end-user computing environment to the standard NTT DATA PC image and SW configuration. In prior positions, John provided IT consulting services across various industries and geographical regions. He managed complex projects for clients in private enterprise, higher education and government. John holds E.E. and Engineering Management degrees from Southern Methodist University, MIT, and The George Washington University.

Email address: [email protected]


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].