(Conflicting Interests and Conflict of Interest) An engineer discloses a potential conflict between his interests and those of his client.
Noda, an engineer, is retained by the State to conduct a study regarding the construction of a highway spur. The State is considering building the spur in an area next to Noda's neighborhood. Upon learning this, Noda advises the State that his home is near the proposed project, and that this could represent a conflict of interest. The State retains Noda's services anyway. Noda conducts the study and ultimately recommends the construction of the highway spur. The spur is constructed.
Is there a danger that Noda's recommendation may have been biased? Did the State act appropriately after Noda's disclosure? Despite the disclosure, was there still a conflict of interest? Was Noda morally required to do more than disclose the potential conflict of interest?
--adapted from NSPE Case 85-6
NSPE Code of Ethics An earlier version may have been used in this case.
Return to Professional Ethics in Engineering Practice: Discussion Cases Based on NSPE BER Cases
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