Motivations of the Stakeholders - Paper Example

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Middlebury College
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Step 1:Determine the facts in the situation  obtain all of the unbiased facts possible

Donald J. Giffels is a civil engineer and head of an engineering consulting firm. His company was in an agreement to installing tools at a facility to that was meant for training firefighters dealing with fire crashes of airplanes. Jet fuel was recently substituted with liquid propane for the reason that it contaminated the soil to simulate fires. Giffels was worried about the deficiency of design in areas critical to welfare. No design breakdown was submitted either. He contacted the designers for justification in approving the design.

Giffels communicated with another engineering organization that had installed like designs, and they had confirmed the cause for worry about safety when observing at the design. A mechanical engineering firm was asked to do a design study but was turned down due to liability fears. Thus Giffels firm requested the government to be pardoned of any accountability in case of accidents due to faulty design. The firm refused to continue with the installation until safety concerns were addressed. The government agency approved and brought in three other companies to fix the safety issues.

Step 2:Define the Stakeholders - those with a vested interest in the outcome

The Government agency would be a stakeholder. Where they have ignored the welfare designs and failed to present an analysis.

Giffels civil engineer is a stakeholder also who would have felt the guiltiness of overlooking the design although his firm is only required work for installation.

The training firefighters would be the utmost stakeholders since it is their lives that would be at risk during training.

Step 3:Assess the motivations of the Stakeholders - using effective communication techniques and personality assessment

The government agency was motivated by the completion of the training facility for firefighters. They wanted the facility to be completed and the training programs to commence. Later on, they were motivated by the Giffels security concerns as well as the firm's refusal to proceed with the installation program.

Giffels civil engineer firm was initially driven by the safety of the firefighters who were to be part of the training program. He was also concern by the fact that the government and the company that approved the design ignored the issue, that why he wrote a letter absorbing them of any mishaps that might occur. Later on, he was motivated by the fact that he might fail to fulfill his responsibility to the society and the guilt that would follow if the firefighters would have faced any accident.

The firefighters were motivated by anger, the fact that their lives were at stake and that the government was ignoring their safety.

Step 4:Formulate alternative solutions - based on most complete information available, using basic ethical core values as guide

Giffels firm could have chosen to ignore the fault in the designs and do their job which was installation, just as the other companies had done. It is a decent action of being a minimalist and staying within the law, but based on the safety of the firefighters this could have been immoral.

Secondly, they could have chosen to ask the government to absorb them of any mishap that may occur in future, and then proceed with the installation program. This action is excellent since it is within the law and the government wish, and Giffels is promised of future contracts. However, it is immoral; it can ruin the company's reputation and could result in guilt in the case of an accident.

The other option was to push the government until they agree to solve the design issues. This option saw all the three stakeholders lay on the safe side. This action is morally right since it ensures the safety of the firefighter, a good reputation to both Giffels and government.

Step 5:Evaluate proposed alternatives - short-list ethical solutions only; may be a potential choice between/among two or more totally ethical solutions

The first option is unethical as those people who are supposed to ensure the safety of the firefighters ignore it. It also encourages the government to ignore such important issues that could be fatal in future. It can also ruin the reputation of the firms involved.

The second option is ethical in a way that Giffels does his job that he was assigned to do and ignore others that would not make him liable in future. However, it is immoral in a way that it does not consider protecting the firefighters thus fails his responsibility to the society.

The last option is the most ethical and morally right. It upholds Giffels firm competencies and ensures future firms follow suit. It also keeps the government responsible for it citizens, and the firefighters safety is protected.

Step 6:Seek additional assistance, as appropriate - engineering codes of ethics, previous cases, peers, and reliance on personal experience, prayer

The first action disvalues the lives and safety of the firefighters; they would be very vulnerable during the training program. It also disregards the competent level of the firm that approved the design and thus the public and other potential clients might lose faith on the firms were involved in the project; the government would also receive a lot of criticism from the media in case of an accident.

The second option may see Giffels firm lose a future contract and hold a bad reputation from the public for ignoring key issues in protecting the society from the government's ignorance.

The last option is the best for the firefighters, the government, and Giffels firm. It reassures all the stakeholders without undermining either.

Step 7:Select the best course of action - that which satisfies the highest core ethical values

The best course of action was to ensure that all the parties were accountable. The government to solve the design issue, and Giffels to do his installation job when he was satisfied that the safety measures were up to the standard.

Step 8:Implement the selected solution - take action as warranted

Giffels organizes a meeting with the government agency and explains to them clearly what the design is supposed to be and how the design currently is. He describes to the office the implications of ignoring the safety measure that is not addressed in the design; the cost of the damages that will occur. Giffels then outlines recommendations on what the agents can do to implement the safety issues as an ethical responsibility to all the stakeholders in the project.

The government agents adjourn to decide whether Giffels recommendations are viable and could be implemented. The agency assures Giffels of further communications.

Step 9:Monitor and assess the outcome - note how to improve the next time

The public body agrees with Giffels firm recommendation and brings in three other companies to deal with the concerns. Giffels firms contract is modified to provide assurances that the safety issues would be addressed. Thus all the parties are responsible. Giffels, excellent communication skills, prove successful in bringing all the parties on board. His mandate to serve the society responsibly is upheld.


Case 1 (41-5e) Training Firefighters

Donald J. Giffels, civil engineer and president of a large engineering consulting firm, was puzzled by the design of a government facility to train firefighters dealing with fire crashes of airplanes. His firm was under contract to do the civil engineering work for installing equipment at the facility. Because it contaminates the soil, jet fuel had recently been replaced by liquid propane for simulating crash fires. However, Giffels was concerned about a lack of design specificity in some areas crucial to safety (e.g., sprinkler systems, safeguards against flashbacks, fuel quantity, and fuel controls). Furthermore, no design analysis was submitted. Giffels concluded that none existed. However, none of this fell within the direct responsibility of Giffelss firm, whose contract was simply to do the civil engineering work required for installation.

Nevertheless, Giffels concluded that his firm could not simply let this go. He contacted the designers and asked them how they could justify putting their professional seal of approval on the design. They replied, We dont need to. Were the government. Giffels agreed, but he persisted (to the point, he suspects, of making a pest of himself). Noting that it is easy to be a minimalist (e.g., stay within the law), Giffels worried that one might nevertheless fail to fulfill a responsibility to society. He contacted another engineering firm that had installed a similar design at 10 sites. It, too, he said, had been concerned about safety when looking at the designs. It contacted a mechanical engineering firm, asking it to do a design study. This request was turned down because of liability fears. So, the civil engineering firm asked the government agency to write a letter absolving it of any responsibility in case of mishaps due to the inadequate design.

While not contesting the legality of this firms way of dealing with the problem, Giffels insisted that this was not the correct way to proceed. His company refused to proceed with the installation until the safety issues were adequately addressed. The government agency agreed to bring in three other firms to deal with the concerns. Giffels firms contract was modified to provide assurances that the safety issues would be addressed. Giffels stresses the importance of being able to communicate effectively about these matters a communication responsibility. Good communication, he says, is essential to getting others on board.

Although successful in his efforts to ensure safety, Giffels says that this is not a story that would receive press notice. However, not resisting, he insists, might well have resulted in press coverage such as from the deaths of firefighters going through their simulations.

Discuss the ethical challenges facing Giffels and his strategy in dealing with them.


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