Project Management

Project Management Central

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Topics: Estimating, Legal Project Management, Manufacturing, Organizational Culture, Stakeholder Management
You are a business development manager at a mid-sized automobile manufacturing company. Recently, you were given a project to assess the feasibility of manufacturing light-duty trucks in a Southeast Asian country. To develop a cost estimate, you visit the country with a team of experts to analyze local resources such as power, labor, and real estate. After the visit, you discuss the findings with an automobile manufacturing consultant. The consultant notes that the local laws and government bureaucracy typically make foreign investors spend more than a year obtaining all necessary permits. To avoid these delays, the consultant advises giving a small amount of company stock to the son of the country’s president. In return, the president’s son will personally expedite the issuing of all required permits. What should you do?
A.Add the opportunity costs associated with the year delay in getting permitted without local assistance.
B.Notify your company that a bribe is necessary to avoid lengthy delays in permitting.
C.Facilitate a meeting with the president’s son and your managing director to finalize the details of the stock for services arrangement.
D.Determine the legality of the proposed exchange of stock for permitting assistance.
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Muhammad -

I'd go with "A" but before that, I'd use influence and persuasion to try to show how getting the project completed in a timely manner is in the country's best interest and would make the president look good.

In some countries, some people may choose C knowing that it is unethical not only to get documents but also to avoid disturbances, we can not deny that bribe exists. It exists in different forms, in some countries. Some people call it donation.
Option A because that reflect the reality. Unethical environment is fueled by unethical decisions. I know, sounds very idealistic and I don’t really think that corruption can be fought any easy way but if I’m the person to give recommendation I would want to stay ethical because no project is worth compromising a personal integrity.
You are right Lenka, if a project starts with corruption it is likely to collapse on the way, because corrupt people always create problems. So I will too go for option A
Hi Guys, I hope we are getting some to learn. Well, i will go with option "D"
Determine the legality of the proposed exchange of stock for assistance with permitting. If this arrangement does not violate the laws of your country, the country where you are hoping to start work, corporate regulations, or industry regulations, the cost of the exchange may well offset the opportunity cost of a yearlong permitting delay. Once the legality has been established, a plan forward can be developed.
I am not comfortable with any of the answers above as this can set an endless presidency. However, if I had to choose, I would go with Option A.
I am not sure. I have struggled with some of the ethics questions because I always err on the side of caution. So I originally considered answer A. But maybe B is correct. For B, you are actually not making any decisions. You are telling your management that the local culture expects bribes which may encourage them to find another location to scout. If management comes back and tells you to move forward with option A then that is their decision and they will be aware of the extended timeline.
I would think one would have to commence with D. as suggested by Muhammad. Determine the legality of this situation in your country and in the host country. With this information I would then progress to B. as Dinah suggests. This keeps everyone informed of all the details involved in the situation.

If the action is not illegal... then it is not really unethical. I know that might raise some hackles but having traveled and worked in many areas of the world I have found that greasing the skids is a time honoured way of doing things. Just because it isn't the way we do things in the majority of the developed countries of the world doesn't mean that it isn't actually acceptable elsewhere.

having said that...

Both Rami, Lenka and Janvier are correct. Once you start down that path... you are forever expected to continue.

Kiron seems to have the best solution and one that, were I not the one in charge at my company, would be the path I would hope my company would take.
the culture has a big influence on ethics and global teams with multiple cultures represented creates a challenge for sure
If something is legal, is it then ethical?

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