Case: The Engineer’s Dilemma
Ellen works as an engineer for XYZ Construction, Inc. The company recently signed a contract with the city for building a new pedestrian bridge across a busy street. XYZ is an experienced company and has done similar projects in the past. Construction was going well and the basic structure of the bridge already spans across the street. One day, Ellen visits the construction side to check the progress of the project. While inspecting the bridge, she recognizes a couple of cracks that indicate to her a problem with the stability of the construction. Ellen calls her supervisor, who is not an engineer, to let him know about the issue. She explains to him the safety issue and that she thinks the work needs to be stopped and authorities at the city should be informed. However, the supervisor rejects her suggestion. He tells Ellen that he would not consider stopping the work and informing the city, because this would result in a delay of the project and financial harm to the company. He points out to her that the construction project was previously approved by other engineers of the company and is in compliance with all regulations. He advises Ellen to not pursue the issue any further. However, Ellen feels that, as an engineer, she has the professional expertise and responsibility to evaluate and communicate the dangers of the situation. She is afraid that the bridge might collapse and crash on the busy road, potentially injuring and killing people. Ellen is wondering now, whether she should follow the advice of her supervisor or inform the city nevertheless?
- What would be the ethically better decision? Apply the utilitarian method, CI method A, and virtue method A, to analyse the case and provide a recommendation.
- What would be the better decision with regard to the business success of XYZ Construction and Ellen’s career?
- Word count: about 1000 – 1500 words
- You can provide a chart for the utilitarian argument, but you still need to explain you chart/evaluations
- Make sure you properly apply all three ethical methods in your analysis. We do not grade the outcome but rather the accurate application of the methods.
- For evaluation criteria please see the rubric posted in the module ‘class info’