Case Study 5 (2023/250 Words)

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You have just been appointed as Additional Director General of Central Public Works Department. The Chief Architect of your division, who is to retire in six months, is passionately working on a very important project, the successful completion of which would earn him a lasting reputation for the rest of his life. A new lady architect. Seema, trained at Manchester School of Architecture, UK joined as Senior Architect in your division.

During the briefing about the project, Seema made some suggestions which would not only add value to the project, but would also reduce completion time. This has made the Chief Architect insecure and he is constantly worried that all the credit will go to her. Subsequently, he adopted a passive and aggressive behaviour towards her and has become disrespectful to her. Seema felt it embarrassing as the Chief Architect left no chance of humiliating her. He would very often correct her in front of other colleagues and raise his voice while speaking to her. This continuous harassment has resulted in her losing confidence and self-esteem. She felt perpetually tensed, anxious and stressed.

She appeared to be in awe of him since he has had a long tenure in the office and has vast experience in the area of her work. You are aware of her outstanding academic credentials and career record in her previous organisations. However, you fear that this harassment may result in compromising her much needed contribution in this important project and may adversely impact her emotional well-being. You have also come to know from her peers that she is contemplating tendering her resignation.

(a) What are the ethical issues involved in the above case?

(b) What are the options available to you in order to complete the project as well as to retain Seema in the organization?

(c) What would be your response to Seema’s predicament? What measures would you institute to prevent such occurrences from happening in your organization ?

(a) Ethical Issues Involved:

  1. Workplace Harassment: Seema is subjected to disrespectful and humiliating treatment.
  2. Professional Jealousy: The Chief Architect’s insecurity leading to unethical behavior.
  3. Merit Recognition: Failure to recognize and utilize Seema’s expertise and suggestions.
  4. Work Environment: Creating a toxic and stressful work environment affecting employee well-being.

(b) Options Available:

  1. Mediation Session: Organize a meeting between Seema and the Chief Architect to address the issue.
  2. Sensitization Program: Implement training programs focusing on workplace ethics and respect.
  3. Reassignment: Consider reassigning Seema to a different project where her contributions are valued.
  4. Mentorship Program: Establish a mentorship program to support young professionals like Seema.

(c) Response to Seema’s Predicament and Preventive Measures:

  1. Direct Intervention: Address the issue with the Chief Architect and communicate the organization’s stance against harassment.
  2. Support to Seema: Assure Seema of her value to the team and organization, and provide her with the necessary support.
  3. Policy Implementation: Strengthen and enforce policies against workplace harassment.
  4. Regular Feedback and Reporting Mechanism: Establish a system for employees to report such issues confidentially.

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