As a manufacturing and repair motorcycle shop.

As someone who is training to become a
mechanical engineer, a possible situation in which I was supposed to do
something ethically problematic could be to follow the customer’s wishes rather
than repair a product to improve the customer’s safety. The idea that “the
customer is always right” has always caused ethical issues in the design concepts
of a product. They could make choices due to cost and style rather than safety
which can cause the engineer to become hesitant in fabricating this product for

For example, a customer comes into a
manufacturing and repair motorcycle shop. They want the engineer to repair the
motorbike’s brake lines, which seemed to have snapped, without any changes to
the appearance of the custom bike. As a product quality engineer at a
motorcycle shop, you should be finding safe and reliable design solutions to
repair the broken motorcycles. The engineer finds that the brake lines broke
due to a low-quality choice of material and could have been prevented with
knowledge of what material worked best for brake cables. You tell your manager
that to repair lines, and improve the reliability and durability of this bike, it
would need to change the aesthetics of the motorcycle. Without the suggested
types of repairs, the engineer believes that the lines could soon falter again
and possible put the customer in dangerous, yet preventable situation. The
manager conveys that the engineer should just do what has been asked and not be
concerned with the foreseen outcome.

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                 (Ethical Concern #4) The main ethical concern is that
if the engineer follows the orders of the customer and his manager, the
customer could get hurt and the company and its workers could be blamed. (Stakeholders #2) The stakeholders in this scenario
are the customer, the engineer and the company. The client may not have a vast
knowledge of the product as the engineer does and they may not understand the
severity of their choice. If the initial repairs are made, then the customer will
be hurt as a consequence of the bike lines faltering again. The engineer will
feel responsible for not making the appropriate adjustments to the motorbike.
The company will also gain money from the customer’s continued repairs, but at
the cost of the possibility of customer’s detriment. (Interests
#3) It is important to consider the various needs and interests of the
people involved. The engineer is focused on repairing and design bikes that are
durable and safe. The customer could only want to repair the motorcycle, but
not ride it, in which case, an extensive repair doesn’t need to occur and the
engineer will not need to worry about the safety of the customer. The company
is generally concerned with making the most money. In some sense, they win
either way. If the customer wants the original repairs and the cables break
again, they will return to get them fix. If the customer decides on the
recommended solution, they will have to pay more to get the repair done. Thus,
the company will gain profit either way. It is essential to discuss and
understand the true interests of the customer so that the engineer can make a
sound decision about addressing the issues. 

                 (Thought Process #6) Therefore, as the engineer, I
would decide what to do by looking at each of the involved people’s needs.
First, I would recognize what I would like to do for the customer, which is to
make sure they are safe as possible using my product. Then, I’d try to
understand the client’s needs that may conflict with mine, such as low costs
and personal appeal. After finding, for example, a cost-effective and minimally
aesthetic altering solution, I would present that to the customer and try to
come to an agreement, or compromise.

(Decision #7) The best decision to resolve this
ethical issue, as the engineer, would be to convey your professional
recommendation to the client. It is your main concern to produce a good product
to satisfy the customer while assuring their safety. I would ask the manager to
reach out to the customer so that the solution could be presented to them. If
the manager and company objects, the engineer can persuade them by enticing
them with the prospects of more monetary profit. If the customer agrees, the
repairs would likely to cost a bit more, but they would be safer with the new
solution.  Once the customer is fully
aware of the issues and the recommended solutions and if they still decide on
the initial repairs, then the original repairs can be made without guilt. (Justification #8) The justification for resolving the
issue in this manner is that all participating parties have addressed their
concerns before the decision has been made. Without discussing the ideas for
resolution with each other, the customer and the engineer would ultimately be
left unsatisfied in their choices.