Ethics Case Study: 20

Ethics Case Study: 20

Rajendra is a reputed structural engineer and is working for a major metro rail project. He is in charge of design,construction and positioning of pillars of metro flyover.

A junior engineer in his team tells him that there is a major flaw in two erected pillars supporting a section of the flyover and they should be replaced/readjusted at any cost. These two pillars supported a flyover curve and if collapsed, it would cause a major accident and put many lives into danger. Moreover, in few days it is to be inaugurated for trial runs.

ethics case study

Rajendra brushes aside the apprehension and warning by his junior. But later in the evening, on second thought, he once again scrutinizes his plans and drawings, and finds that his junior was indeed  right.

Accepting his mistake would tarnish his reputation for Rajendra. If any accident happens, which is certain to happen at certain point of time in future, it would affect the reputation of the company that constructed it. It will embarrass the government too.

Also, replacing the pillars would inflate the cost for the company and would further delay the project.

In this situation:

1) What should Rajendra ideally do?

2) What would be the legal and ethical consequences of Rajendra’s continued silence?

3) What are the qualities that are tested in this case study? Examine.

 

 

 

 

 

34 Comments

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34 responses to “Ethics Case Study: 20

  1. Anjali

    Here Rajendra should admit his mistake, inspite of little damage to his respect, in the long run he will be admired for his capacity to give value to juniors advise.
    He will save many more lives which definitely going to lose in future if that pillars are not modified. Though cost will escalate.
    He should explain all these to his seniors, and wait for their decision.

    If he continue his silence, when accident will occur, company positions will be tarnished, And company will lose future contracts and he may have to lose his job and may have to face legal consequences. And he may be charged for corruption also.

    Emotional intelligence and honesty are tested in this case study.

  2. DSC

    In this situation Rajendra has to choose between his personal reputation at one hand and the safety of people using the metro rail on the other. Proper course of action for him would be to accept his mistake and submit his resignation to the higher authorities assuming moral responsibility for the flawed design. If the company spares him and allows him to continue in the job, he should immediately take up the work of replacing/ readjusting the pillar and request for more man power to complete the project in time. In this way he can save the reputation of the company.

    if the company decides to fire him, he shouldn’t be disheartened. He should submit a detailed report on the flaws in his design and suggest the future course of action to his successor. and quit on moral grounds This would establish his Integrity and perhaps save valuable lives of many people. As the design is flawed and is likely to fail even at a later date, the damage that would be done in terms of financial loss and loss of human lives could be minimized if corrective action is taken at a preliminary stage.

  3. Shantan

    1) What should Rajendra ideally do?

    Rajendra must immediately consult other structural engineers, ask for their review and if confirmed that the plan was wrong, he must accept his mistake and take all measures so that readjustment work begins at the earliest. Even if it tarnishes his reputation for now, he will have saved many lives including himself. He must give it in writing taking responsibility for incorrect plan and ask the concerned authorities/Government to give him a chance to correct the flaw. Inflated costs and delays amount to a lot lesser than the costs that the company would have to bear in the event of an accident.

    2) What would be the legal and ethical consequences of Rajendra’s continued silence?
    Legal Consequences:
    If the junior engineer complains about the issue to higher ups and upon enquiry Rajendra found guilty, not only will it amount to dereliction of duty but he also may face criminal action.
    If any accident would happen and upon enquiry these facts surface, Rajendra will have to face criminal charges, made responsible for several deaths and may end up leading remainder of his life in prison.

    Ethical Consequences:
    Rajendra by continuing to be silent, would be seen as someone trying to save short term interests rather than thinking about long term consequences. It could be some of his own people who could be travelling by Metro and disaster can strike any moment. A feeling of guilt will always haunt Rajendra for being dishonest and putting many lives in jeopardy.

    3) What are the qualities that are tested in this case study? Examine.

    Attitude.
    Professional Integrity.
    Honesty.
    Selflessness.
    Empathy.
    Emotional Intelligence,

  4. Jyeshtha M

    The urge to learn and acknowledge anything good is one of the qualities which a leader must have. Specificaly in case of infrastuctural mega projects, human lives and its safety must be prioritised. Mr. Rajendra is the trustee of public safety thus he should thank his junior for recognizing this major flaw. A good leader is a good student too. He learns and rectifies his mistake, so ego should never come across. Mistakes are inevitable but the one who corrects them then itself is considered prudent.

  5. jd

    Rajendra should immediately brought this to the notice of his senior and stop the construction in that part. He should call for a meeting of concerned stakeholder to discuss on the course of action. The pillars to be readjusted or reconstructed. He needs to discuss with the finance / business guys of the company to explain the additional cost burden. He need to explain them the cost-benefit analysis, consequences and convince them to spare the additional cost. This may damage his reputation and delayed timelines, but in long term, he will be come a person of integrity.

    If he continued with construction, the defect may be found in audit and verification mechanism and the company will be penalised and further actions as per the contract. If this is missed, the project went into trail operation. It will lead to an accident. An enquiry committee will be constituted and as per the report, Rajendra will be arrested and tried. The continued silence brings the dilemma of importance private gains versus public safety. It shook the confidence of government and public in entire private sector.

    Here, this particular case tests the adherence to honesty, courage to take responsibility for your actions and accepting mistakes done, damage to self-reputation and consequences. It also tests the ability to choose between short term benefits and long term gains.

  6. Santosh

    1) What should Rajendra ideally do?

    Human life is precious than anything anything else. Time and money can’t be compared with human life. Rajendra should call a meeting to accept the problem in the construction of the pillars. He should suggest that the pillars be reconstructed from the scratch again.
    This will enhance the credibility of the company rather than ruining its reputation.

    Thanks

  7. Prasad

    In this case, we see that Rajendra has worked hard to reach this position & has been identified as a responsible person to handle this job. With great power comes greater responsibility, here attitude also matters, but as a team leader he should understand the rules of engagement at a team level. He should show qualities like selflessness, empathy, encouragement of juniors for their findings.
    Yes there are deadlines to meet, but if they have somehow overlooked some flaws in the design in earlier stages, they should now for public safety reasons put across the table all concerns to their seniors. Arrange for a meeting to make necessary changes in design & implementation. A great leader is one admits his mistake and corrects it with all humility.
    2. If he is silent about this matter, it is not ethically right to hide such concerns. Also he is delaying the arrival of the problem which may be larger at a later date due to some accident. He will face an enquiry committee & law will have its own course. His honesty in accepting th e mistake is a great chance to arrest the consequences of a disaster in making.
    3. The qualities tested in this case are:
    a. Self awareness – accurate self assessment
    b. Self Regulation – Trustworthiness, & adaptabilty
    c. Social awareness & empathy – Understanding & developing others.
    d. Social skills – Conflict management.

    Rajendra is lacking in all above mentioned emotional competences. He scores low on emotional intelligence aspects. If he is able to realise & bring about change in his attitude, he shall transform into a very good , honest & efficient manager & leader.

  8. neeraj

    Rajendra should immediately meet his superiors and admit his mistake and the flaw in the design of the pillars as the safety and life of public is of utmost importance.

    Rajendra’s continued silence would put his reputation, his company’s reputation, the government’s accountability and the general public to risk. This may lead to collapse of bridge leading to death/injury of several people on and around the bridge. It will also cause loss of exchequer. Though the replacement of two pillars would inflate the cost and delay the construction, it will save cost in long run as after the collapse, it would cost much more in reconstruction of bridge and compensation for injury and life. It may also lead to suspension of the engineer and blacklisting of the company. It will also publicly embarrass the govt. and may rise questions on the probity of the govt.

    The qualities tested here are utilitarianism(greater good of the maximum), self sacrifice, forthrightness and ability to accept one’s fault.

  9. prerna

    Rajendra must immediately order for replacement of the two pillars, and also thank his subordinate to having pointed out his mistakes which has helped save many lives and also the reputation of the company. As ensuring safety must be the main motive of every organization.

    IF Rajendra continues to keep quite in case of any accident then it would seriously affect the reputaion of the company and the trust of the people on the company and it would mean a huge loss to the business. On the legal side company may have to face criminal charges imposed by the government.

    Values such as integrity, personal and professional commitment, objectivity in decision making are tested in this situation.

  10. Shweta

    The public good is in conflict with Rajendra’s personal interest. As he very well know the flaw in flyover and has the authority and responsibility of the project, he has the duty to take a careful action. His morals and principles as human and as holder of public trust in building flyover should not allow him to risk public life. His professional integrity ,commitment towards his company, and obligation towards nation’s government should take over his personal interest of saving his reputation for short term.
    He should accept the fault, bring the matter in view of company’s heads, explain the consequences and commit to complete the project as early as possible if given the chance.This will allow him to maintain his integrity and satisfaction.

  11. vipul

    In this situation:
    1) What should Rajendra ideally do?
    Rajendra is sure about the design flaw and he knows that many people may even die if flyover collapses. In case of mishap, his own reputation will be permanently damaged and no one will be interested to work with him after the incident. Government reputation will be tarnished and cost of rebuilding flyover will be much higher than cost incurred so far in the project.
    Rajendra should immediately call a meeting with his project management team. He should inform all the stakeholders about the design flaw and convince them to halt the project construction. He should admit that he failed to scrutinize the flaw in initial phase. He might be repudiated or removed from his job, but he will still have scope of seek employment in other firms.
    2) What would be the legal and ethical consequences of Rajendra’s continued silence?
    Rajendra continued silence may result in future flyover collapse. He might be charged of murder as he ignored the warning of his junior and went ahead with design. He might even be barred from working in any other construction projects under the government. His company might be asked to pay the compensation for human life loss & flyover damage loss.
    His continued silence would prove that he compromised public well-being due to his selfishness. His act would be in violation of code of ethics for a public officials.
    He action would be considered as a complete departure from Integrity & objectivity that are foundation of any profession. Keeping such a vital information away from government, he would be lying to them.

    3) What are the qualities that are tested in this case study? Examine.
    Prudence
    Integrity
    Objectivity
    Being Responsible
    Compassion

  12. Rahul Agarwal

    1) What should Rajendra ideally do?

    The immediate course of action for rajendra is to immediately inform the higher management about the fault in design and request them to take the corrective steps. He should provide verifiable proof of defects of design so as to expedite decision making as trial runs are going to start shortly. He can also provide a preliminary account of rework and cost involved in rectifying the fault.

    2) What would be the legal and ethical consequences of Rajendra’s continued silence?

    Rajendra has a choice to keep silent in order to not to expose his mistake. But this will have both legal and ethical consequence:

    Legal: In case of any unortunate accident in future, the criminal liability will fall upon the concessionaire company for faulty designing of metro rail. Law may persecute him and the company for volunatry ommission of a known defect in design. This will bring both punishment and reputation loss to him and the company.

    Ethical: Even if he escapes the legal tangles, still it would be ethically wrong for rajendra to keep silent. Though it may impact his reputation and the rework may be very costly, still it cant be equated with the loss of so many innocent lives in case of any unfortunate accident. While it might be good for rajendra to keep silent, but it will not be right for large ampunt of people. Thus, he should think about the greatest benefit to greatest number of people

    3) What are the qualities that are tested in this case study? Examine

    This case study tests the quality of “putting others before self” of a individual. By admitting his maistake, his repuation will suffer drastically and may even result in demotion or loss of job, while by keeping silent he would put lives of large amount of innocent lives in danger. Thus, this case study examines whether a person is capable to take a tough stand to ensure greatest benefit to greatest number people, even if at his own cost.

  13. 1) Firstly, Rajendra should accept his mistake and try to find out feasible solution to the problem. He should discuss the matter with his junior engineer as he pointed to the problem. The joint efforts will surely lead them to find a cost effective and time bound solution. This will also make the work environment conducive for subordinates as they know that they will also be heard.

    2) Instead of correcting his mistake if Rajendra continues his silence then first of all he will demoralize his subordinate. If any accident occurs or if his junior complaints to higher authorities, then this can create legal problem for Rajendra & can also attract punishment. Ethically,remaining silent, even after knowing what is correct and what is not, is a grave mistake and this can also hamper the work environment at present and also can cause a huge loss to human lifes and the goodwill of company and Govt.

    3) This case study tests the ethical & moral component, team managing & self correcting skills of Rajendra. This also shows through the Junior Engineer that one should not blindly cover up mistakes done by superiors and bring them to their notice as soon as possible.

  14. pls post ur valuable feedback as this is my first attempt of answer writing..

    • deepak931

      Firstly u hav focussed mostly on jr engr and compny work culture
      What about legalities cmpny shud face?
      Emotional and legal consequences on rajendra?
      Point 3 was superb and worth apperitiation.
      Thanks

  15. Sunil

    1.Ideally Rajendra should accept the flaws made pointed by his junior fellow and discuss the steps to be taken to overcome these flaws with his junior and other experts in order make it correct in more efficiently manner in minimum time.

    2.If Rajendra would keep silence then it would definitely bring major accident in upcoming years which would make him,his company under legal bars as well as government into large public distress and crisis.

    3.Rajendra at one point ignores his junior but at second thought he scrutinises whole plan again and accept his own mistake.
    It shows his orientation more to the public interest rather than his own reputation and government’s temporary embarassment.
    Also junior engineer shows his own public interest and focuses light on his seniors mistake in order to avoid future accident and consequenses.

  16. kuldeep

    In this situation Rajinder should inform his seniors about the flaws putting aside his reputation.Because public safety is his first duty as a engineer of the project.And moreover if inform the flaws prior to any accident it will show his legal ethics that may help him from any future imprisonment.so its better for him to consult his seniors and accept his mistake.

  17. prerna

    Rajendra should immediately call his team members and consult with them about the flaws in the project. He should appreciate his junior member to boost his confidence. They should talk to their project manager about replacing the pillars and delaying the project so that manager would request the clients for extension of project or he can employ more persons to completed the project in specified time.His manager should appreciate him of his loyalty and honesty toward company.It will encourages other employees to work sincerely towards company and ethical standards.

    If Rajendra would not pay attention to the problem this can have adverse effects in future as it can lead to the loss of life , ruining of company’s reputation and even his own. As far as legal consequence is concerned , he could be arrested if his junior complaints against him after the accident.
    and ethical consequences is concerned , his actions would not allow his mind to stay peaceful as his unethical behavior would remind him every time about his misconduct.

    The qualities that are tested :
    >Loyalty
    >Honesty
    >Emotional Intelligence
    >Integrity

  18. Nanda

    1) What should Rajendra ideally do?

    Rajendra has to accept his mistake and it is in the best interests of large no of people that he reports the same to the higher authorities immediately.He should not think about his image being tarnished or about his career prospects, rather it would earn him a lot of applause for avoiding a major disaster.Even major organisations like ISRO postpone their launch because of some problems but that does not mean that the scientists are being fired it is for the larger interest.Even cost over runs are not a big thing compared to the bad image that the company earns incase of a disaster, he should try to convince the authorities on the same to postpone the inaguration until the problems are resolved.

    2) What would be the legal and ethical consequences of Rajendra’s continued silence?

    Disasters are not natural and it is our inaction that make them, so it is his moral responsibility to avoid a catastrophe from taking place or else he should suffer the guilt for the whole life.
    If Rajendra keeps silent, he is committing an ethical blunder for which he is bound to face charges one day for being the incharge of design and implementation.Incase such a disaster happens and which is for sure bound to happen, he is the first to be pointed at as his colleague has already made him aware of it, and also he may even land up in jail. The company may as well try not to take his case up as it want to get rid of the bad image it had accrued and even let him suffer for his wrongdoings putting the blame totally on him.
    So his silence can only satisfy his short term ambitions, but in long term it is going to affect a large number of people including him, so its better to speak out rather than being silent.The silence of a good man is more dangerous than the actions of a bad man.

    3) What are the qualities that are tested in this case study? Examine

    Honesty , Integrity, Empathy, Emotional intelligence, Attitude ..

    IGNITES please review…

  19. manishsinghrajput88.singh@gmail.com

    After mentioning flaw in particular metro pillar that means rajinder work is good and they have completed his task at time and by some negligence two pillars are not build as required conditions so there is not more burden at rajinder they should explain all the fault to his senior engineers to take action to control future damage and loss and to build that pillar once again there is no big issue because human make error and they have chance to solve this issue …

  20. Arpan

    1) Being the in-charge of such an ambitious public project makes Rajendra highly responsible towards discharge of his duties. The timely observation by his junior colleague about the flaw before project completion should be hailed as an opportunity to correct mistake before it’s too late. Rajendra’s self-verification of the pillar positioning flaw displays a weak design review process of his company which can be later strengthened to avoid future repetitions. The position of pillars should be corrected without delay and without any second thought notwithstanding the project over costs or timeline delays.

    2) Continued silence may bring him and his team accolades for timely completion of a prestigious and big project in short term, but in the event of an almost certain accident will bring in lot of legal implications, the company can be sued for faulty design and negligence on charges of causing death due to negligence, imposed with heavy penalties, ex-gratia to the deceased & injured and even black listed for further business. The costs incurred will be many times larger for the company if he does not proceeds with design and pillar position change. Ethically he may not forgive himself for keeping silent over this known negligence which causes deaths of many innocent citizens. Despite being warned by his team mate within time.
    3) Honesty, emotional intelligence, integrity, responsiveness, sensitivity towards human life and safety, leadership, quality of accepting mistakes, making a choice between career growth and concern for human life are being tested in this case.

    PS: What should be the word limit for case studies ideally??

  21. Ankit

    Rajendra is incharge of design, construction and positioning of pillars. This means that it is his responsibility as per his work ethics to accept the mistake in the construction plan. Moreover, as per his valuative judgement too, it is clear that the lives of so many people is much higher than accepting any tarnishing of image. Thus in such a scenario, Rajendra should report the matter to his superior and prepare the most safe alternative plan with corresponding cost and time overruns.

    If Rajendra remains silence, his legal responsibility shall remain in force. While analyzing the plan, if he could point out that it was bound to fail, then any investigative committee in future too could easily hold him accountable. Moreover, he is incharge of design, construction and positioning thereby also legally responsible. More importantly, it’ll be a heavy burden on the conscience of Rajendra. Ethically, he should be guided towards speaking up as this is the right action. If he remains silent, he’ll lose inner peace and will be surrounded by fear, anxiety, guilt which have far more negative consequence than disfame. Moreover, speaking up requires courage and courage is the core of all values which constitute an ethical person. Thus, remaining silent will make him valueless.

    The qualities that are put to test in such a scenario include – honesty, courage, humanism, rationality. A rational decision directs him to speak up honestly taking into account humane concerns and courageously accepting responsibility for the incorrect plan.

  22. Deepak Saini

    Since the project is almost ready for trial runs, immediately notifying superiors wouldnt be a proper way. As a second thought rajendra should make detailed analysis on the constructed pillars and review the designs by consulting with experienced consultants and team workers. As a project executor he must be knowing the theoretical life span of the project. If the design featurs are not up to the mark and the project is sure to fail in trial run itself, he should immediately inform the seniors and should postpone the trial run date. Accepting the truth of his mistake can save many lives ( keeping aside his reputation, company`s revenue and promise of govt to hand over the project to people welfare). A delay in project is acceptable in this case.
    However if he continued to keep silence on his mistake and the accident happens, first of all he is risking lives of innocent people at stake. If the bridge collapses ( whice is sure to happen due to design failure) lives of many would be lost. His company will be blacklisted, and definitely in future, company will find difficulty in taking projects because of lost faith. Company will run into loss figures. Rajendra himself will begin to loose his confidence and job for not notifying the fault already known to him.
    THE qualities being tested are strength of character to accept the mistake without caring for money and reputation.

  23. deepak931

    Nice reply neeraj and prerna

  24. Anand

    1) What should Rajendra ideally do?
    He should stop the inaugration process of the flyover.He has to inform his company about the weakness of these two pillars.and should take responsibility to ensure the strengthness of the pillars and overall infrastructure.He can consult his junior during the readjustment process.This will increase his reputation and company’s one further

    2) What would be the legal and ethical consequences of Rajendra’s continued silence?
    Legal consequences:- Being a engineer in charge of the construction process,he needs to address the issues which were being brought by any person.But he deviated from his duty.It will lead to the criminal prosecution because his silence will lead to the loss of many lives.He is majorly responsible to this injusticable act.

    Ethical consequences:- Rajendra’s morality has been lowered.
    Reputation of the company and rajendra reduced.
    Public faith on government reduced.
    Human lives are not valued.

    3) What are the qualities that are tested in this case study? Examine.
    —> Listen to subordinates: Rajendra didn’t recogonise his junior’s concern.One should listen to their fellow workers causes though he’s superior than them.

    —>Negligence attitude: He showed gross negligence while performing his duties.He was ready to do anything to save his name and reputation..

    —->Safety of the public was not ensured: it will cost the life of innocent people.

    —->Failure to accept his mistake: If he has made mistake then he should take responsibilty to correct it.

    —–>Put the blame on others for his wrong doing…

  25. Pri

    1) What should Rajendra ideally do?
    Having realised that there is a possibility of flaw in the structure of the pillars erected, he should prepare a report taking into account the design,structure,flaws and the consequences of such an erection. The report should also take into consideration the costs of reconstruction and the time stipulated for completion. He should then give this report to his seniors and take their written views on the same. In the situation, he is solely responsible for the Project, having analysed and being convinced about the structural flaws, he should take steps to amend the same even if it means a slight blow on the reputation and costs and time.

    2) What would be the legal and ethical consequences of Rajendra’s continued silence?
    if indeed there is a flaw in the design and Rajendra continues to keep silent about it, he could face charges of negligence and criminal breach of trust when the truth will surface. Moreover, he could be charged with serious criminal offence if there is an accident pursuant to such flaw.

    3) What are the qualities that are tested in this case study? Examine.
    His personal and professional integrity,
    honesty,
    accountability,
    prudence,
    fortitude

  26. Nitish Singh

    Dear INSIGHT,
    I think you should start the Ethics case session again since 1 question has already appeared in the mains exam out of your 30 case studies. So I don’t think you were heading in the wrong direction, which was the reason for the closure of this session. If possible for you, please start this session again.

    Regards,
    Nitish Singh

  27. 1) What should Rajendra ideally do?
    He realised there is a flaw in structure so he modify the structure and give a request for sometime to the authority.
    2) What would be the legal and ethical consequences of Rajendra’s continued silence?
    As the position of Rajendra he is the reputed person .He keep silence it will affect mani lifes.
    3) What are the qualities that are tested in this case study? Examine.
    Here can see their making structure wanted more serious this is the problem for this issue,unior engineer is do his duty of found it.It will not found he it will destroy many lifes.

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