- Published: December 31, 2021
- Updated: December 31, 2021
- University / College: Lehigh University
- Level: Undergraduate
- Language: English
- Downloads: 41
The start of the video depicts Fred being hired by Phaust which is in competition with Chemitoil and where Fred is employed previously. It is highly unethical for competing businesses to hire professionals from each other in order to gain a competitive advantage over each other. While it was wrong for Phaust to pursue a policy that encouraged hiring the competition’s strategic person, it was equally wrong on Fred’s part to become part of a new company such that it would pose ethical dilemmas. Although Chuck reaffirms his decision of hiring Fred by replying that Fred was under no disclosure agreement with Chemitoil but the implications and the real intent behind such hiring is clear. When Phaust is deciding on the name of the new paint remover the new name is “ Strip-Teasy” which is quite similar to the new “ Easy Strip” name being used by Chemitoil. This also presents an ethical dilemma as the marketing team is trying to lure customers into buying their product out of confusion with the existing brand name. Rather than blurring up the customer’s vision, the team at Phaust should have pursued a larger marketing campaign directed at the target market segment to pursue ethical sales figures. Given also that the new plant is envisioned for construction in Mexico it is clear that Phaust is looking to lower its cost of building the plant. This is achieved as Mexico has far less stringent environmental protection standards, lower costs of inputs and a large amount of cheap labor that can easily be exploited. The Mexican government like other third world and developing world economies tries to promote FDI (foreign direct investment) by luring investors such as Phaust that are looking for unfair competitive advantages. On the one hand, the ethical dilemma here falls with the management at Phaus while some of the blame must be shared by Fred for pursuing the project whilst knowing that its construction would be unethical as environmental standards would be lowered in Mexico. In terms of engineering ethics, the construction of such a plant on Mexican soil also indicates that the technical approving authorities in Mexico also possessed loose ethical standards. The video also depicts that the corporate culture at Phaust encourages efficacy and speed over the safety of the involved stakeholders. Chuck clearly tells Fred that Phaust is faster. The decision making that Fred was subjected to by Chuck and Phaust’s management was snappy and the time provided was not adequate to assess the overall risks and allowances required. During the design of a petrochemical plant, it is common practice to take a number of years to design the plant completely because dangerous chemicals are being dealt with. In order to deal with dangerous chemicals it is necessary to adopt engineering and human controls to manage risks more effectively. However, it takes time to decide which situation warrants the implementation of what type of controls. The failure to deal effectively with such risks can result in unfortunate episodes such as the Bhopal incident. Fred is also pressed to buy up control systems manufactured by Lutz and Lutz that have an inside connection at Phaust in the form of Chuck. Engineering procurement should be based on strict ethical considerations such as system performance and safety rather than creating connections. The squandering of resources on expensive components may leave other areas vulnerable because resource allocation may become inadequate. In a similar manner when the plant is being constructed the construction costs are cut down by 20% without any formal assessment or any other formal procedures. This forces the construction team to use a variety of cheap products in the form of valves and fittings in order to deal with reduced costs. This, in turn, leads to the leakage failure during testing. Ethically the construction team ought to have stopped the project when they were forced to operate the plant above the design pressures and temperatures. The utilization of equipment above design recommendations subjects the equipment to design challenges that may cause unanticipated failures at any point in time and in any manner at all. The practice of taking a plant on manual control in order to avoid automatic overrides is also reprehensible. The point in using automatic controls to handle the plant is because plants are cumbersome to operate manually for human beings because of their slower reaction times. In contrast, computing allows quicker implementation of control decisions so running a plant on a manual override is ethically abhorrent, to say the least.
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