It has been hailed as the first incident of corporate whistle-blowing, but were the allegations made against the company true? Did the company actually falsify tests and endanger the lives of test pilots and potentially others?
This case study, provided by the Engineering and Philosophy Departments of Texas A&M University, explores what has become a classic study of engineering ethics. Like most such ethics case studies, it is difficult, if not impossible to draw any final conclusions; however the essay provides fodder for the professional engineer to study and examine his or her own moral convictions and ethical beliefs.
The story begins as the B. F. Goodrich Wheel and Brake Plant in Troy, OH is awarded a contract to develop and produce brakes for the new A7D light attack plane being built as a joint project of the Air Force and Navy. A Goodrich technical writer, Kermit Vandivier, upon seeing what he considered to be irregular testing of the product, was asked and initially refused to author a favorable qualification report on the brakes.
Corporate pressure eventually convinced Vandivier to actually write the report; however he also consulted an attorney who advised him to tell his story to a local FBI agent.
You will follow the chain of events and be challenged to draw your own conclusions to this interesting situation.
To receive PDH credit for this course, the student will be required to pass a multiple-choice quiz consisting of ten (10) questions.
Specific Knowledge or Skill Obtained
This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:
- Follow the time-line of events in the Goodrich brake case
- See how the events escalated so as to make Vandivier believe that whistle blowing was the only solution
- The role played by failed technical innovation, poor communication, and erroneous qualification testing in the incident
Click on the following link to the PDF document to review the course material before taking the quiz for credit.
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