Tensions between compliance, internal controls and ethics in the domain of project governance

  • Paulo Sergio Scoleze Ferrer, Graziela Darla Araujo Galvão, Marly Monteiro de Carvalho
  • International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, May 2020, Emerald
  • DOI: 10.1108/ijmpb-07-2019-0171

Tensions Between Compliance, Internal Controls and Ethics in the Domain of Project Governance

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

What is it about?

This study aims to investigate how the dynamics of compliance, internal controls and ethics can generate tensions in the domain of project governance. Moreover, it investigates the tensions between these constructs and the search for project success from a practice-based perspective. A project governance framework is proposed. The framework identifies four types of tension among compliance, internal controls, ethics, and project success. The framework explores the implications of project governance on project success. Data were gathered through a wide range of evidences from 58 projects and interviews.

Why is it important?

This study has implications for practice, as it highlights weaknesses that may occur in organisations owing to tensions between the elements of compliance, internal controls and ethics. This, therefore, implies ways of strengthening the consistency of project governance. The project governance domain and its tensions affect the project-success holistic view in both efficiency and effectiveness, since the elements of internal control and compliance can create tensions that favour one project success perspective to detriment of the others. Understanding the nature of tensions, their implications and the long-term holistic perspective can lead to better decisions by managers.


Paulo Ferrer
Universidade de São Paulo

This article was born with a certain naturalness. When studying decisions and possible trade-offs, we ask ourselves how much the components of organizational systems can lose balance, if they do not receive due attention from decision makers. This was our motivation and starting point.

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The following have contributed to this page: Paulo Ferrer and Professor Marly Monteiro de Carvalho