An elevated corridor is being constructed to reduce traffic congestion in the capital of a particular state. You have been selected as project manager of this prestigious project on your professional competence and experience. The deadline is to complete the project in the next two years by 30 June 2021, since the project is to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister before the elections are announced in the second week of July 2021. While carrying out the surprise inspection by the inspecting team, a minor crack was noticed in one of the piers of the elevated corridor possibly due to poor material used. You immediately informed the chief engineer and stopped further work. It was assessed by you that a minimum of three piers of the elevated corridor have to be demolished and reconstructed. But this process will delay the project minimum by four to six months. But the chief engineer overruled the observation of the inspecting team on the ground that it was a minor crack that will not in any way impact the strength and durability of the bridge. He ordered you to overlook the observation of the inspecting team and continue working with the same speed and tempo. He informed you that the minister does not want any delay as he wants the Chief Minister to inaugurate the elevated corridor before the elections are declared. Also informed you that the contractor is a far relative of the minister and he wants him to finish the project. He also gave you a hint that your further promotion as an additional chief engineer is under consideration by the ministry. However, you strongly felt that the minor crack in the pier in the elevated corridor will adversely affect the health and life of the bridge and therefore it will be very dangerous not to repair the elevated corridor.
a) Under the given conditions, what are the options available to you as a project manager?
b) What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by the project manager and his response to overcome such challenges?
c) What are the professional challenges likely to be faced by the project manager and his response to overcome such challenges?
d) What can be the consequences of overlooking the observation raised by the inspecting team? (Answer in 250 words)
(a) The options available to me as a project manager are as follows
1. Obey the order of the Chief engineer and complete the project on time
2. Try to convince the Chief Engineer about the adverse consequences of completing the project.
3. Refuse to obey the order of the Chief Engineer, demolish and reconstruct the corridor.
4. Proceed on leave, seek tranfer, or resign from the job
5. Write to the officer senior to the Chief Engineer about the inspection team’s report and take remedial action.
6. Informally leak the news to the media.
(b) The project manager must take all decisions in the public interest. His main dilemma here is public interest vs. personal interest. If he refuses to obey the order, he may save the life of the public, but he may lose his promotion. He must first try to convince the chief engineer by opting option (2). If it fails, he must follow option (5) and inform the seniormost officer to reexamine the issue on merit. Finally, he can informally leak the news to build pressure on the department to take remedial measures.
(c) The project manager has to obey the orders of the senior officers once his objections have been overruled unless an even higher ranking officer endorses his view. He has to overcome the political pressure to take action against the contractor for using inferior material and doing an unsatisfactory job.
(d) If the corridor collapses due to cracks, many lives of innocent people may be lost. Consequently, he and his superiors may face suspension and criminal charges of negligence and not performing their duties properly. (272 words)
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