The Scaffold Plank Incident
Q1. Ethical issue or dilemma that Bob Hopkins faced
A recession loomed large and the reason was that the level of construction and the shipments of lumber had momentarily halted due to the twelve inches of snow that covered the ground. Bob Hopkins had received a call from Stan Parrish with a quotation and an order of 600 pieces of 3 x 12 planks. As if by coincident, Bob’s partner Mike got the same order and when they sat down with him to discuss the order, Mike insisted that they deliver regular construction planks rather than the ordered scaffold planks. However, Bob wanted to deliver quality scaffold planks while all the three; Stan, Mike and John White, made verdicts that any material could do since the grading on the scaffold planks were unusually restrictive.
Q2. Stakeholders and conflicting values in Bob’s decision
The two stakeholders were Mike Fayer-Weather, Stan and John White. When the partner of Bob, Mike asked whether he had negotiated an order about a truck of sixteen-foot scaffold plank his answer was negative. Later, when they were discussing about the plank enquiries, both Bob and Mike had contrasting ideas. Mike put it that since the order was specified; it implied that the order could be swapped with one that was not certified (the ones that were used as regular construction lumber.) (Hill Charles, 2001).However, Bob opines that since there had been four enquiries with the same figure of planks, then it was worth making an assumption that the quotation that had been given to Stan about the sixteen-foot planks was the same material.
Bob gives an opinion that to be specific about the quotations, he would have to call Stan and confirm the order. Contrary to his opinion, Mike negates the idea of Bob calling to confirm and the reason behind it is that Bob may make the suggestion in Stan’s view be that he was viewing him to be unethical. He also said that it could affect the dealings between the two companies. (Bob suggests on calling but Mike suggests against the idea of calling)
After Bob calls Stan to confirm the order, the reply of Stan falls under the league of Mike’s. Mike had said that the planks being for scaffold plank or regular construction planks could do. Similarly, like how the opinion of Mike had contrasted with the one of Bob, Stan too says that the scaffolds would do, whether they are scaffold planks or not.
When Bob finds a note on his desk telling him to see John as soon as possible, he goes to John’s office and sees the order filled with his name, he breathes brimstone and fire and sputtering in his argument. Unlike Bob, John “…calmly puffs on his pipe.”(Page C86)
Q3. Bob’s alternative
Alternative: when Mike asked him whether he had received any order of sixteen-foot scaffold planks, he lied.
Consequence: Coincidentally, there was another order that was placed to Mike with the same quantity and it compelled Bob to approach Mike.
Alternative: to confirm the type of scaffold planks needed, Bob called Stan.
Consequence: Stan didn’t like the call that he made to be a debating platform and so he told him that if Quality company couldn’t rely on Bob’s company to deliver the order, the Quality company would resort to other companies since there were so many of them that were calling and that it was upon Bob to decide whether he was in or out.
Alternative: after Bob locked horns with John over the quality of the scaffolds to be delivered, he thought of quitting the job.
Consequence: John’s point of view, with the finesse of many years of experience in the job, made sense and it made him to respect him.
Q4. What Bob should do
Everyone, from Stan of the company supplying, the partner of him and the employer of Bob were against his views. He was supposed to join them for two reasons. One, he couldn’t fight them and like the old adage,” if you can’t fight them join them.” Second, John White had been in the business for forty years while Bob had been in it for merely three years and it was evident that with those all years of experience, he knew the secret of the business.”…while I have been making this decisions for forty years.”(C87)
Hill Charles, J. G. (2001). Strategic management: an integrated approach. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.