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Introduction to Engineering

The issue of conflict of interest is among the most fundamental ethical situations faced by
engineers. In the course of their professional practice, engineers face situations involving
conflict of interest on an ongoing basis. Each situation must be evaluated based upon the
individual and specific facts in the case as there is no one-size-fits-all rule that can be applied to
conflict of interest situations. Some situations involve obvious answers while others are more
complicated and require careful analysis and examination. While sometimes the appropriate
response is disclosure of all of the facts and circumstances to all parties, in other cases,
disclosure is insufficient and other courses of action are necessary. In other situations, the
engineer must avoid the conflict entirely or else run afoul of basic ethical principles.

Assignment Scenario:
You are an engineer employed by a building construction firm, assigned to the drainage systems
group. You receive the following solicitation from a company:
ACME Building Supply Company would like to invite you to participate in a new program
tailored for engineers of septic/drainage systems. To qualify for this plan, attend the
complimentary ACME Building Supply Company Seminar on Septic/Drainage Systems. If
you are convinced of the value of our system, simply note on your construction plans
that ACME carries septic and drainage products. For the ACME Building Supply Company
Rewards Program, your customer makes discounted purchases of ACME septic pipe on
your ACME cash account (this is strictly a pay as you go basis). Every month you will
receive a rewards certificate. This certificate is based on a percentage of monthly sales.
Priority cash coupons may be redeemed at ACME and the East Westville Resort and
Country Club.
As a new engineer, you are very interested in increasing your knowledge of the types of
systems and technology available and of the potential suppliers of materials for your projects.

  1. Would it be ethical for you to attend the complimentary ACME Building Supply Company
    Seminar on Septic/Drainage Systems? Why or why not?
  2. Would that decision change if the seminar were being held in Las Vegas, Nevada or on
    board a cruise ship? Why or why not?
    ENGR 105 Introduction to Engineering
  3. Would it be ethical for you to participate in the ACME Building Supply Company
    Rewards Program? Why or why not?
  4. You discover that the owners of ACME are active in the LBGT community. Does that
    affect your previous decisions? Why or why not?
  5. Based on ENGR 105 class discussions, the course text, your knowledge of the NSPE
    Code of Ethics (available at and your research, reflect on the proper
    course of action you should take in the scenario presented. Your position should be
    specifically based on contents of the Code and on upon your worldview. Clearly
    identify how you would address any potential conflicts of interest. Synthesize the
    similarities and differences between the Bible’s approach to ethics and the engineering
    creed as they pertain to this scenario. Keep in mind that you are an employee of the
    construction firm, not a manager or executive in the company. You must carefully
    balance your personal views with those of the company and the international
    standards represented by NSPE.
  6. Prepare a 1200-1500 word report (length of main body, not counting title or reference
    page) on your evaluation of this situation, taking care to properly cite sources both intext and in a reference list at the end of the report. Reports that contain verbatim
    copied passages without proper citation will receive zero (0) credit. In addition,
    reports that contain lengthy copied passages from sources, even if they are properly
    cited, will be severely marked down.
  7. Your report is to be to be submitted through Blackboard prior to due date / time
    shown in Blackboard in a doc, docx, or pdf file with the following specifications:
    • use font styles Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman with a font size of 12
    • use 1.5 line spacing
    • use 1 inch margins on all sides
    • file name format: lastname_firstname_ENGR105-section# (e.g.,
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