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Case Study Analysis: Government Firefighter Training Facility

925 words - 4 pages

Case Study Analysis: Government Firefighter Training Facility

In this case a large engineering consulting firm was contracted by the government to perform civil engineering work for the installation of equipment that would be later used to train firefighters. Prior to the actual work being commenced on site, Donald J. Giffels, president of the consulting firm soon realized through careful observation that there was a significant amount of ambiguity in how critical safety systems were to be designed. In this situation, what are the ethical issues that the consulting firm faces in accepting such a contract from the government. What is the optimal strategy in responding to what Donald J. ...view middle of the document...

By maintaining communication with the government agency that contracted his firm, Giffels was able to gain cooperation that resulted in risks being reduced and an overall safer facility for the end users.

Giffels’ consulting firm in this case encountered a bevy of factual issues related to the specifications of sprinkler systems, fuel controls, and other systems that would be required to prevent accidents while firefighters were training. Mr. Giffels felt that the lack of pertinent information could not be simply ignored and passed on as a problem for others who may not discover the issues. The firm also faced the possibility of losing the contract by refusing to proceed with the safety issues present due to the facility still very much being within the limits of the law and the problem areas being outside of their responsibility. Upon initial contact with the government agency Giffels was informed that as a government agency it had the authority to deem the training facility safe and could seemingly override any of his firm’s recommendations, presenting the challenge of how to best convince the agency that the current situation was a travesty and that there was a better way to proceed. By following a utilitarian strategy of performing a cost-benefit analysis, the firm calculated the risk that firefighters would be exposed to, along with the potential for accidents and the associated costs in lives and negative press coverage. This was determined to have outweighed the benefits in reducing costs gained by simply omitting the proper safety system design needed for the liquid propane being used. Giffels’ use of effective communication is what allowed his firm to overcome the challenges they faced with dealing with their client.

The engineering consulting firm’s client was a government...

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