Fuzzy Decisions [#2] - The Poor Representative
This is the second in a series of three blog posts from EPP member Ken Rosenbaum. This series is designed to inspire discussion about fuzzy decisions that we face in our work. We hope you will share responses and join the discussion in either the comments below or on the EPP LinkedIn discussion for this topic.
Some people think that ethical issues are rare in our profession, encountered once in a career, or, if we are lucky, never. Actually, we make decisions reflecting our ethics in almost every process or project we conduct.
Most of these are easy and automatic. Do we lie about our qualifications? Do we promise particular outcomes? Do we bill for work we didn’t do? No.
Some of these decisions are more difficult. The rules to follow are not always clear. In this series of blog posts, I invite a conversation on some of the fuzzier decisions we face.
The Poor Representative
Here’s another ethics question for your consideration and comments.
You are conducting a process involving representatives of several groups including the local environmental club. The club representative is a volunteer, a retired professor of engineering. He is bright, cooperative, and well-engaged in the process, but you begin to believe that he is soloing—taking positions on his own and not reporting back to his group. If things work out he will have to carry the deal back to his group, and at that point the compromise could collapse.
Is it proper to discuss this with him, or does that turn you from a neutral into his advisor? If he admits to the behavior but denies that it is a problem, can or should you go around him and discuss his behavior with his group? Does that threaten to affect your neutrality? Your obligation to keep confidences?