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Case
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Reference no. HKS1463.0
Published by: Harvard Kennedy School
Published in: 1998
Length: 6 pages
Topics: Ethics

Abstract

An Air Force engineer heads a team evaluating proposals from two engine manufacturers vying for a contract to build a new fighter aircraft. The engineer''s project manager appears to have a casual attitude to Air Force regulations on dealings with contractors. When it is suspected that he is leaking critical information to a company competing for the engine contract, the engineer approaches the general supervisor with her concerns. They devise a strategy for determining if the suspicions are correct, and find that they are. The general manager moves the project manager to a less sensitive part of the project. But the general manager soon leaves for another position, and his replacement, unaware of the history, gives the project manager the highest level of clearance, with access to privileged information. Concerned about security on the project, the engineer deliberates over what she should do, how she might be perceived, and the repercussions of any action she might take. The case exhibits an organizational culture in which the value of loyalty severely constrains the exposure of wrongdoing.

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Abstract

An Air Force engineer heads a team evaluating proposals from two engine manufacturers vying for a contract to build a new fighter aircraft. The engineer''s project manager appears to have a casual attitude to Air Force regulations on dealings with contractors. When it is suspected that he is leaking critical information to a company competing for the engine contract, the engineer approaches the general supervisor with her concerns. They devise a strategy for determining if the suspicions are correct, and find that they are. The general manager moves the project manager to a less sensitive part of the project. But the general manager soon leaves for another position, and his replacement, unaware of the history, gives the project manager the highest level of clearance, with access to privileged information. Concerned about security on the project, the engineer deliberates over what she should do, how she might be perceived, and the repercussions of any action she might take. The case exhibits an organizational culture in which the value of loyalty severely constrains the exposure of wrongdoing.

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