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Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

In recent times, there has been an increasing concern in India to develop effective civil service ethics, code of conduct, transparency measures, ethics and integrity systems and anti-corruption agencies. In view of this, there is a need being felt to focus on three specific areas, which are directly relevant to the problems of internalizing integrity and ethics in the civil services. These are as follows:

Anticipating specific threats to ethical standards and integrity in the civil services,

Strengthening the ethical competence of civil servants and

Developing administrative processes and practices which promote ethical values and integrity in civil services.

Suggest institutional measures to address the above three issues. (250 words)  20


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

Rajendra is a reputed structural engineer and is working for a major metro rail project. He is in charge of design,construction and positioning of pillars of metro flyover.

A junior engineer in his team tells him that there is a major flaw in two erected pillars supporting a section of the flyover and they should be replaced/readjusted at any cost. These two pillars supported a flyover curve and if collapsed, it would cause a major accident and put many lives into danger. Moreover, in few days it is to be inaugurated for trial runs.

Rajendra brushes aside the apprehension and warning by his junior. But later in the evening, on second thought, he once again scrutinizes his plans and drawings, and finds that his junior was indeed  right.

Accepting his mistake would tarnish his reputation for Rajendra. If any accident happens, which is certain to happen at certain point of time in future, it would affect the reputation of the company that constructed it. It will embarrass the government too.

Also, replacing the pillars would inflate the cost for the company and would further delay the project.

In this situation:

1) What should Rajendra ideally do?

2) What would be the legal and ethical consequences of Rajendra’s continued silence?

3) What are the qualities that are tested in this case study? Examine.


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

You are heading the rescue operations in an area affected by severe natural calamity. Thousands of people are rendered homeless and deprived of food, drinking water and other basic amenities. Rescue work has been disrupted by heavy rainfall and damage to supply routes. The local people are seething with anger against the delayed limited rescue operations. When your team reaches the affected area, the people there heckle and even assault some of the team members . One of your team members is even severely injured. Faced with this crisis, some team members plead with you to call off the operations fearing threats to their life.

In such trying circumstances, what will be your response? Examine the qualities of a public servant which will be required to manage the situation. (250 words) 20


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

You are the DM of a hill district of an Indian state which has poor civil infrastructure. The Home Minister of the state has same place his constituency. Unfortunately there is a clash continuing between two group of laborers in a factory in the town on some unknown communal issues, but have not caused casualties yet. The state Home Secretary has instructed you to monitor the situation and prevent any miss-happening(s).

Around 9 pm in the evening it was raining heavily when you were informed that the minister had met an accident. The Home Secretary again asked you to facilitate things there. Coincidentally the time you reached hospital you see two brutally injured patients being pushed in simultaneously. You realized one as the minister. A police officer meanwhile briefed you that the other one was a laborer belonging to the minority community from the disputed site and had been brutally attacked around the same time the minister met the accident.

The team of doctors had started their emergency care. But then the superintendent of the hospital informed you of criticality of the two cases and said that both patients had casualties of same magnitude (clinically) and required immediate operations which for the hospital had an OT equipped minimally to carry one operation only. The town has no other private or govt. hospital to carry such critical operation. You contacted the officials in capital for a helicopter to fly the minister there but were informed that bad weather didn’t allow one. Roads in the rain will take 8 hours to reach the capital and adjacent district headquarters cannot be accessed by road till morning. The team of doctors is pushing you to take a decision between the two patients as who to be taken first for operation. Meanwhile, the hospital superintendent hinted you that the other may succumb to his injuries during the next 3 hours of operation.

Your choice is going to affect two lives. On one side is a VVIP and elected leader of masses, neglecting whom will create political, professional, social and personal upheaval. On the other is a poor laborer, lone bread earner of his large family. His death may lead to unwarranted situation of labor unrest and communal clash both.

You, the DM, belong to the same minority community to which belongs this dying laborer. You see the families of both the men. Women crying, children sobbing.

Assuming the above hypothesis true, propose an ideal approach as an administrator in the above case. (300 Words)


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

After finishing your IAS probationary training, you have come to visit your 85 year old grandmother who stays in a remote backward village.  You were received with lot of fanfare. At home, grandmother, whom you love most is ecstatic and has made all the arrangements to make you feel comfortable.

There is a steady stream of villagers visiting your home to see  and talk to you. A childhood friend of you, who belongs to a Scheduled Caste, much excited, rushes into the room where you are taking rest.  Your friend and villagers belonging to his caste are still observed as untouchables in the village.

Your grandmother, seeing your friend inside the room sitting next to you, gets very angry and abuses him. She asks him to get out of the home immediately. She accuses him of polluting the home and you. She insults him in front of you.

Your grandmother has committed an offence under section 7(1) of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955. It is also an offence under SC/ST act 1989.

In this situation, what should you be doing? (150 Words)


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

Honesty and uprightness are the hallmarks of a civil servant. Civil servants possessing these qualities are considered as the backbone of any strong organization. In line of duty, they take various decisions, at times some become bonafide mistakes. As long as such decisions are not taken intentionally and do not benefit personally, the officer cannot be said to be guilty. Though such decisions may, at times, lead to unforeseen adverse consequences in the long-term.

In the recent past, a few instances have surfaced wherein civil servants have been implicated for bonafide mistakes.  They have often been prosecuted and even imprisoned. The instances have greatly rattled the moral fibre of the civil servants.

How does this trend affect the functioning of the civil services? What measures can be taken to ensure the honest civil servants are not implicated for the bonafide mistakes on their part? Justify your answer. (250 words) 20


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

Annie has been recently hired full time at a major tech company where she interned for two summers during her college career. Annie loves her job and has established many strong relationships with her co-workers over the time she has worked there. The company encourages the interns and new hires to interact with VPs and upper management in order to create an open and friendly atmosphere.

During her time as an intern, Annie began to notice that one of the VPs paid her extra attention. When he was around he would always make an extra effort to stop by Annie’s cubicle and chat: something he did not do with any of the other interns. He reached out to her over social networking sites and even invited her to a gathering at his house. Some of her co-workers began to make offhand comments to Annie about the extra attention.

Now that she was in a full time position, Annie began to dread that she would soon have to work with this VP directly. While he has not done or said anything explicitly inappropriate, the extra attention—and the fact that her co-workers noticed it—made her very uncomfortable and undermined her concentration on work. When she was hired, she was told that she should always speak to her manager if she was uncomfortable or had issues with the work environment. While at the same time, she is afraid to come across like a tattletale since the VP hasn’t explicitly done anything wrong.

What course of action should Annie take?


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

An apparel manufacturing company having a large number of women employees was losing sales due to various factors. The company hired a reputed marketing executive, who increased the volume of sales within a short span of time. However, some unconfirmed reports came up regarding his indulgence in sexual harassment at the workplace.

After sometime a woman employee launched a formal complaint to the management against the marketing executive about sexually harassing her. Faced with the companies’ indifference, in not taking cognizance of her grievances, she lodged an FIR with the police.

Realizing the sensitivity and gravity of the situation, the company called the woman employee to negotiate. In that she was offered a hefty sum of money to withdraw the complaint and the FIR and also give in writing that the marketing executive is not involved in the case.

Identify the ethical issues involved in this case. What options are available to the woman employee? (250 words) 20


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

A former employee who was fired due to poor quality work, absences, and lateness related to her drinking problem, informs you that she has applied for a position at another company and has already given your name as a reference. She desperately needs a job (she is a single parent with three children), and she asks you to give her a good recommendation and not mention her drinking, which she assures you is now under control.

She also asks you to say that she voluntarily left the company to address a family medical crisis, and that the company was pleased with her work. You like this person and believe she is a good worker when she is not drinking. You doubt that she really has overcome her drinking problem, however, and you would not recommend your own company hire her back.

What do you say to this woman?

What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?

What if the prospective employer was a friend?

Suppose the problem was a theft?

Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?

What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

In a modern democratic polity, there is a concept of the political executive and permanent executive. Elected people’s representatives form the political executive and bureaucracy forms the permanent executive. Ministers frame policy decisions and bureaucrats execute these. In the initial decades after independence, the relationship between the permanent executive and the political executive were characterized by mutual understanding, respect and cooperation, without encroaching upon each other’s domain.

However, in the subsequent decades, the situation has changed. There are instances of the political executive insisting upon the permanent executive to follow its agenda. Respect for an appreciation of upright bureaucrats has declined. There is an increasing tendency among the political executive to get involved in routine administrative matters such as transfers, posting etc. Under this scenario, there is a difinitive trend towards ‘politicization of bureaucracy’. The rising materialism and acquisitiveness in social life has also adversely impacted upon the ethical values of both the permanent executive and the political executive.

What are the consequences of this ‘politicization of bureaucracy’? Discuss. (250 words)     20


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

You are an Indian diplomat send to china to negotiate on border issue.
The diplomat you work with Mr. Xi is a senior diplomat and in a decision taking position.he has great fondness for Indian culture.and his soft side makes him agree to some Indian demands which otherwise might not go through that easily.

The pact is to be finalized in the next week but other modalities have to be worked out. On Saturday Mr Xi invites you for a Chinese dinner at a famous restaurant. On the way back he insists to drop you at your hotel and on the way his car hits two cyclists, injuring them fatally. You were aware that he was driving fast and thus lost control.

The police comes to investigate the matter and you are the sole witness to it apart from Mr. Xi and know it was a grave mistake on part of Mr xi.

Knowing the strict laws of china on road accidents, .your truthful account of incident could implicate Mr Xi.and that just wont be an end to his career and harsh sentence, but would also jeopardize the border pact which is of immense importance to India.

What are the dilemmas you face and will be your response to the situation?


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

In one of the districts of a frontier state, narcotics menace has been rampant. This has resulted in money laundering, mushrooming of poppy farming, arms smuggling and near stalling of education. The system is on the verge of collapse. The situation has been further worsened by unconfirmed reports that local politicians as well as some senior police officers are providing surreptitious patronage to the drug mafia. At that point of time a woman police officer, known for her skills in handling such situations is appointed as superintendent of police to bring the situation to normalcy.

If you are the same police officer, identify the various dimensions of the crisis. Based on your understanding, suggest measures to deal with the crisis. (250 words) 20


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

You are posted as Superintendent of Police to a District. The stenographer, a beautiful young lady who is smart and hard working, grows close to you. You take her assistance in many office tasks. In the office and beyond a rumour spreads that you are having an affair with her. To make things worse the stenographer has confessed to her friends in office that she loves you. You are affectionate towards her but you are faithful to your wife. You do not worry about rumours and carry on with your work meanwhile growing more close to stenographer. Your wife comes to know about these rumours. A point is reached where the stenographer becomes powerful in the office thanks to your close association. Your continued association is straining your relationship with your wife and is also affecting your public image.

What will you do in these circumstances? Which values would you uphold most in such a scenario and explain why.(250 Words)


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

You are a Probationary Officer in a Public Sector Bank and you have been transferred to a branch located in Naxal affected area. On the very first day, while returning from work, you were stopped by a Naxal group. They sought 25% of your salary as ‘protection money’ which should be paid every month, and if you fail, you will be killed by the group without offering you any second chance. You are an IAS aspirant managing your preparation along with the work pressure. You are from a very poor family and this job has brought a ray of hope to you and your parents. You are unmarried though.

The local police is aware of this Naxal problem, which is common in the region,  yet they are not taking any action for fear of their own lives and corruption.

What will be your course of action in this circumstance ? (250 Words)


Ethics Case Studies (15 Case Studies)

As a senior officer in the Ministry, you have access to important policy decisions and upcoming big announcements such as road construction projects before they
are notified in the public domain. The Ministry is about to announce a mega road project for which the drawings are already in place. Sufficient care was taken by the planners to make use of the government land with the minimum land acquisition from private parties. Compensation rate for private parties was also finalized as per government rules. Care was also taken to minimize deforestation. Once the project is announced, it is expected that there will be a huge spurt in real estate prices in and around that area.

Meanwhile, the Minister concerned insists that you realign the road in such a way that it comes closer to his 20 acres farmhouse. He also suggests that he would facilitate the purchase of a big plot of land in your wife name at the prevailing rate which is very nominal, in and around the proposed mega road project. He also tries to convince you by saying that there is no harm in it as he is buying the land legally. He even promises to supplement your savings in case you do not have sufficient funds to buy the land. However, by the act of realignment, a lot of agricultural lands has to be acquired, thereby causing a considerable financial burden on the government, and also the displacement of the farmers. As if this is not enough, it will involve cutting down of a large number of trees denuding the area of its green cover.

Faced with this situation, what will you do? Critically examine various conflicts of interest and explain what your responsibilities are as a public servant. (250 words)




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