Excalibur Construction or the Dilemma of the Young Go-Getter

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CASE STUDY. A young engineer at a major Quebec construction company realizes that, over time, he has placed himself in a tricky legal and ethical position: at the request of his immediate superior, a man he respects and to whom he feels indebted, he has repeatedly falsified cost estimates for the public works projects his company is bidding on.

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Excalibur Construction or the Dilemma of the Young Go-Getter: Abstract

A young engineer at a major Quebec construction company realizes that, over time, he has placed himself in a tricky legal and ethical position: at the request of his immediate superior, a man he respects and to whom he feels indebted, he has repeatedly falsified cost estimates for the public works projects his company is bidding on. The young man thinks about what he should do and the potential impact of his decision on his career and loved ones.

Teaching objectives

  • Make students aware of the frequent complexity of ethical dilemmas in organizational situations.
  • Introduce students to some of the research on the subject.
  • Have students think about ways to manage ethical challenges from the perspective of both employees and the senior management of an organization.

Main themes covered

  • Frequent complexity of ethical dilemmas in organizational situations
  • Learnings from the research on the subject
  • Practical ways to deal with ethical challenges

Concepts and theories related to the case

  • Case analysis (Déry)
  • Organizational culture (Schein)
  • Stages of moral development (Kohlberg)
  • Hazards of whistleblowing (Verschoor)
  • Normative frameworks (Sherman, Lussier, Lawrence, Weber, etc.)

Additional information

Also available in French.

Teaching notes are available for teachers only. Contact the HEC Montréal Case Centre for more information.

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