Company Connections

TitleCompany Connections
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2010
Date Published09/2010
PublisherCenter for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology
Place PublishedChicago, IL
Publication Languageeng
AbstractDavid, an undergraduate working on a semester-long team project, has run into some problems when working with the representative of his team's company sponsor. His team is working with a local company called ValCor to try and speed up the company's system for manufacturing and shipping the industrial components it makes. As the project progressed, Bruce, the engineering at ValCor who was supposed to be answering any questions David's team had, has not been answering telephone calls or emails. Should David say something about Bruce's lack of help in this project, and if so, who should he tell?
NotesCase from the Fall 2010 IPRO Ethics Bowl at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Full Text
It had been a long, often frustrating semester for David. The IPRO project had started out perfectly, he was in a team with three of his closest friends, and was interested in the problem his team was finding a solution for – working for the local company ValCor to try and speed up the manufacturing and shipping of industrial components. David knew that involvement in this project would look great on his resume, and he even had an in with the company. David had called Bruce, a family friend who worked as an engineer at ValCor, as soon as he knew about the project, and Bruce had volunteered to answer any questions the IPRO team may have. Things went smoothly for the first two months of the semester, with David and his team visiting the company to get a better idea of the different steps involved in manufacturing and shipping at ValCor, and with David acting as the main liaison with the company, emailing or calling Bruce a few times a week when his team had questions. However, as the weeks progressed, David had to wait longer and longer for Bruce to return his calls and answer his questions, questions that often needed an answer immediately for the IPRO project to move forward. When David tried to talk to Bruce about these delays, Bruce always responded with a long list of why he was so busy, and that he would try to get back to him will full answers to his questions in a day or two, but never did. Even when David tried to schedule a time he could come over to Bruce’s house to talk the elements of the project over, Bruce never could find the time. Finally, after asking the advice of one of his IPRO faculty sponsors, David managed to make contact with another engineer at ValCor who was able to help the team out in a timelier manner, though earlier delays did mean that the team did not get as far along in the project as they originally had planned. At IPRO day, the CEO of ValCor and David’s parents sat through the team’s presentation. Bruce, David noted thankfully, was not part of the audience. At the end of the presentation, Valcor’s CEO came up to congratulate the team on the work they had done. “You have made really good progress,” he said, shaking David’s hand. “I was talking to Bruce last week, and he was telling me about how much time the two of you had spent these past few months working together on this.” Behind him, David hears his parents chatting with other members of his team, obviously coming up to join in the conversation.