Define ethical behavior according to professional values, industry standards, and/or personal ethical principles.
Specify ethical issues provoked in communication.
Outline options for addressing/resolving issues.
Articulate personal action necessary in the face of ethical issues.
Your Assignment: Intercultural Ethics Scenario
The following scenario is a fictionalized account of a potential business deal. Please read the following scenario and then write a 1000-1500 word essay which addresses the instructions below the scenario:
You are an engineer working for Engineer Services, a large environmental engineering firm. You have recently finished a Phase 1 (preliminary review of public documents) environmental assessment for International Malls, one of the firm’s largest clients.
The property you have analyzed is a large strip mall located in an area which used to be heavily industrialized and is now being converted to residential and commercial uses. The site being investigated is not being sold; it is being used as collateral for a refinancing loan being sought by International Malls from a local lending institution.
None of the public records you have been asked to evaluate mention any environmental concerns with the site.
However, while you are conducting the research and preparing the report, you happen to have a conversation with an older woman at a nearby lunch counter who tells you that the property is known among long-term residents of the neighborhood to be contaminated because of the operations of a heavy metal plant that sat on the site many years ago. The strip mall, built 38 years ago, was placed directly over the old heavy metal plant “because that’s how they used to do it back then.” This casual conversation is the only indication of contamination you have been able to uncover through your research on the site.
As a result, you prepare and submit a draft of the report to International Malls, recommending that the site be the subject of a Phase 2 site assessment, which will require drilling inside of the existing mall to obtain samples of the soil beneath the structure. Within a day or two, the attorney at International Malls returns the draft report to you, deleting the part about the alleged heavy metal contamination and the recommendation for additional testing in a Phase 2 assessment.
Not understanding why this has occurred, you telephone Jennifer Davis, International Malls’s attorney, who tells you that:
a. The personal information you gathered about the alleged heavy metal plant on the site was only rumor, and cannot be relied upon. In addition, you were not requested to conduct such personal anecdotal research.
b. The property is not being sold, therefore International Malls still owns it, and they now know about the alleged contamination.
c. You have a contractual obligation to have the final report completed and delivered by noon today.
d. The refinancing is set to close later today, and if it does not close the financing will be lost and a new loan will have to be obtained at a higher rate. The loan being sought is to be used to finance a new project, which will fail to materialize (possibly irrevocably) without this financing. There will be total damages in the millions of dollars if the closing does not take place because they have to go on to Phase 2 testing.
e. If you fail to provide the final report as requested by the client’s attorneys, neither you nor your firm will ever do work for International Malls again.
You relay this conversation to your manager, who indicates that since you are providing the client, who is not selling the property, with the final report, and since the client has all of the information you reported in the draft report, it does not matter what the final report says. He tells you to go ahead and issue the final report as revised, and strongly suggests that your own future with the firm will be affected by whether you comply with this directive or not.
Identify and describe the ethical issues present in this case.
Clearly outline the main options you would have (if you were the engineer) for addressing this issue.
Provide an argument for which option/action you should take in order to ethically respond to this scenario. Be sure to articulate the strengths and weaknesses of your option/action and demonstrate which professional values or ethics standards you are using to help you determine your best course of action.