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Intl Engineering - International Engineering...

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International Engineering Professionalism
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Hanna’s Dilemma The clothing industry is perhaps the most competitive in the world. It has been the first level of industrialization in most countries, including the sweatshop phase. Harwell and Jones (H-J) has only 1.5% Levi Strauss’s market share. It owns a plant in country X, employing young women at $.80/day in a clean save factory. The young women say they prefer the work to village life. H-J employs no children under 14.
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Hanna has been asked to design and supervise the installation of some new equipment in the H-J plant that will improve the efficiency and safety of the plant. Nevertheless, some of Hanna’s engineering colleagues argue that she should not take the assignment, because it makes her a party to the exploitation of the young women.
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Two Problems Home country - engineers country of origin Host country - country other than thehome country. Problem: What should be done when home and host country standards conflict? Lesser industrialized countries (LICs)= countries of a lower level of industrial development. Problem: What should be done when technology transfer threatens the traditions and values of LICs?
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Two Extremes Avoid two extremes in these “boundary- crossing situations.” Absolutism Home-country values should always guide. But - Our own values may not apply. May not be possible to do business with non-corrupt firms. Host-country standards may be as good. (Is individualism better than group orientation?) i Relativism. (“When in Rome…”) But- May be illegal (FCPA, 1977) M Action may be too immoral (slavery, safety and health standards) h
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Ethical Resources for Solving Boundary-Crossing Problems Creative Middle Ways (CMWs) C Honors home-country and host-country demands. To accept CMWs, we must reject: - Moral laxism: apply so loosely that moral considerations are eliminated. Act in your self-interest. - Moral rigorism: apply moral principles strictly in every situation
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Consider the following case: Laura’s plant operates in Country X and produces fertilizer in an area where farmers live at almost a subsistence level. The plant produces relatively inexpensive fertilizer that the local farmers can afford, but it also produces pollution. However, although it would violate U.S. standards, the pollution produced does not violate the standards of Country X. In order to remedy the pollution problems, the plant would have to raise the price of the fertilizer so much that the farmers could not afford it. Laura has been asked by management to give her advice as to what the plant should do.
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Creative Middle Way Solution: CMW: Continue to produce the fertilizer at the cheap price, attempting to find a better solution -Sometimes a situation does not allow a CMW. Example: Slave labor.
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