Ethical Decision Making

635 words | 3 page(s)

The ethical scenario involves the work that I have been involved with as a member of a team to recommend the cables to be used for the construction of a large office block. We first invited bids from prospective suppliers and carefully evaluated the bids based on the price and quality of the products to be supplied. In addition, we considered the financial and technical abilities of the prospective suppliers to meet our requirements. On the day that we were to make decision to award the tender to the qualified company, one of the directors of the companies that had placed their offers approached me with a voucher for an all-expenses paid trip. He also gave me some gifts including watch and jewelry. He informed me that he had given the same to my colleagues and that I should not decline the offer. I thought of consulting my supervisor about this but I did not.

The ethical framework that describes my perspective of the situation is virtue ethics. Virtue ethics is an ethical framework that focuses more on the individual virtues of mind and character. From the scenario, it is seen that if I accepted the gift, then this would have easily amounted to bribery. The timing of the gift is before the decision is made and I would have had a personal gain from the all-expenses paid tri together with the other gifts that were offered. The effect of this is that I would not have been objective in evaluating the quality and costs that the company quoted in the tender documents.

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The decision-making model that was considered is a framework for making ethical decisions. I first started by asking myself whether the decision involved a choice between a good and a bad alternative. I then determined the individuals and groups that had stakes in the outcomes of the decision. From this, the company that I worked for and the companies that placed their bids for supply of cables had the highest stakes in the outcome. I then evaluated the options for acting. In this case, I realized that I did not need to consult anybody as the company’s policies state that no individual employee should receive gift or money from external companies that seek to supply materials to the company. The policies are consistent with engineering code of ethics which prohibit electrical engineers from engaging in any form of bribery. I then evaluated the options and determined that it was not proper for me to take the gifts and declined.

Another person may consider taking the gifts as the best decision. The ethical framework that may be considered by such a person is fairness and equity in which the other person may feel that both parties benefit from the decision. In this regard, even if the company was not qualified and is awarded the tender/contract, then care will be taken to ensure that the quality of the products supplied is improved.

I will use an ethical framework in my future professional life while designing and supervision of implementation of systems that I design. I will strive to ensure that the chosen materials are the ones used for implementation. I will utilize the duty to care ethical framework. The reason for this is that duty to care ensures protection of the welfare of the society (Harris et al., 2018). As an engineer, I know that my actions and decisions have a direct impact on the lives of people. It is therefore important that I apply ethical principles in my undertakings in order for me to protect the lives, rights and interests of many people in the society.

  • Harris, C.E., Pritchard, M.S., Rabins, M.J., James, R., & Englehardt, E. (2018). Engineering ethics: Concepts and cases (6th ed.). New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

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