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Case Analysis (11 marks)

Scenario: A. Mobile phone company (6 marks)

JB is a young engineer working for a Mobile phone manufacturing company. During off hours he did some research. In one of his literature searches, he read the latest report about the susceptibility of the brain to radiation. The next day he reviewed the calculations of the radiation given off by the antenna of his company’s hottest selling mobile phone. He found that the S.A.R. (specific absorption rate) to the brain was 0.32-0.35 W/kg. Later that afternoon he visited his boss with a suggestion to modify the antennas on the phones and perhaps doing a recall on the ones already sold. “JB, ” screamed Athena, supervisor engineer, “what you’re suggesting would cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars! You can’t possibly be serious. That’s our fastest seller. Recalling them would be a disaster and there are more important things to be done. You don’t even know that this is dangerous!”.

” But what about our obligation to the public?” “What about your obligation to the company? Look, I don’t want to make a big issue out of this. We’re within IEEE standards and unless we have further word from them then we’re in the clear.”

  1. What would you do if you were in JB’s shoes?
  2. Would you talk to someone above Athena or try to convince her, etc.?
  3. Can you think of options that would be fair both to the company and to the public, especially in the light of the uncertainty about the health risks?
  4. What will you do? Explain your reasoning.

Scenario B. Professional Engineer (5 marks)

You are a professional engineer. At the beginning of the year you became employed by a municipality X as head of the municipality’s procurement department. Your new responsibilities include participating in the bid selection and contract granting process for various municipal construction projects. Your staff review the bids and submit them to you with a recommendation for your approval.

Before joining the municipality, you were a partner at a very successful consulting engineering firm. At the end of last year, you sold your interest in the consulting engineering firm to your partner.

Shortly after your appointment to your new position with the municipality, you learned that your former partner sold the consulting engineering firm to Corporation “X”. Your partner is now an officer of Corporation X.

You have now been in your new job for 9 months. In your new capacity, you have been presented with documents recommending the award of a major engineering contract to Corporation “X”. You have been asked to approve the award.

  1. Discuss the situation in which you find yourself.
  2. What steps should you take? Explain your reasoning.
  3. Will you suffer any consequences from your boss? Discuss.


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