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Possible Ethics Violations in Project Procurement Procedures

Review the Scenario and the following addenda items:

1. The Director of ONS (your boss) owns 2,000 shares of Worldview stock and is on the procurement selection committee for the project.

2. Ralph, a network engineer on your project team, has a spouse who is employed by one of the potential vendors for this project.

3. Another vendor in contention for this project has offered everyone on your team tickets to the hockey game this weekend in the company box with dinner included.

4. Yet another vendor in contention has sent a $25 sympathy bouquet of flowers to you on the recent demise of your great uncle.

5. Your stock broker is recommending the purchase of a technology mutual fund that contains stock belonging to several of the vendors in contention.

These five events contain possible ethics violations. For each one, determine if there is an ethics violation. Defend and explain the position and discuss alternatives that would avoid an ethics conflict. In your responses, consider and discuss the impact (and any legal ramifications) of your alternatives on the effectiveness of the project: will the alternatives adversely or positively affect the effort?

Solution Preview

First, a general comment about ethical behavior. There are many situations in which black and white answers aren't easily seen. There isn't a source to check for yes or no, and often passing the smell test is maybe as decisive as any other method of determination.

1. If Worldview is bidding on the job, your boss, the director, should withdraw or abstain from the selection committee. Being in a position to influence a decision which may result in personal gain is unethical and inappropriate. It doesn't pass the smell test. If Worldview has nothing to do with your business, then it is a non-issue.

2. Ralph's spouse would have to be involved ...

Solution Summary

This 450-word solution discusses each possible ethical violation in the project procurement procedures. Conclusions are stated where obvious, but other discussions are not as obvious. Some generalizations are made for these types of issues.