Between contractors and owner
The person with the ethical dilemma is the owner of the job, Brown Equipment Company, a heavy equipment dealer. The company wants to construct an office/warehouse and has therefore invited bids from several contractors to do the same. The contractors include Smith Construction, Jones, and Capone among others.
This person should follow the normal ethical practices that deal with bid solicitation between contractors in the building sector. The normally accepted bidding process starts with the advertisement for bids. Advertisement for bids is a public notice to members of the public, and contractors notifying them about the project. To go with the advertisement for bids is the bid deadline that stipulates the last date designated for the receipt of the bids from the contractors. The contractors should be requested by Brown Equipment Company to attend a pre-bid meeting to familiarize themselves with the requirements of the contract. In this meeting, they will also undertake a job-walk, together with discussing the contract documents.
The owner of the proposed job can modify the contract documents issued to the bidding contractors before the bid deadline. Modification of these documents is made possible by using an addendum.
After submission of the bids, the contractors would be allowed the freedom to modify or withdraw their bids before the deadline passes. Resubmission of a withdrawn bid is possible, as long as the resubmitted bid meets all of the bidding requirements.
It is possible for the job’s owner to solicit informal, yet competitive bids. In this case the owner, through the company’s agent has to preclude favoritism during the bidding process. Details of the proposed project have to be made available to all the bidding contractors. The solicitations have to ensure the business contracts do not go against the requirement of providing equal business opportunities while contracting.
The claim is that Brown Equipment Company’s agent should not have gone to Smith Construction, Jones and Capone Construction with the intention of awarding the contract to the contractor with the lowest bid. By approaching Smith Construction first and requesting that the contractor lower its bid to $2,550,000, Brown’s agent can be said to have entered into a binding contract with the contractor. The agent should not have subsequently approached the other two contractors, Jones, and Capone Construction to ask for bids of $2,550,000 and $2,521,000 respectively after talking to Smith Construction about the lower bid price. By acting in the way it did, the agent broke the contract it had made with Smith Construction.
The theory that best fits my reasoning is Kantian ethics. Kantian ethics was put forward by the German philosopher, Immanuel Kant. The theory proposes that different types of actions were unconditionally forbidden, even in circumstances in which the action would ultimately bring more happiness than another alternative action. According to the theory, there are two questions one must ask himself before deciding whether to perform an action. These questions are: (a) Can I reasonably will that everybody acts I am proposing to act? (b) Do my proposed actions respect the goals of all human beings instead of simply using them for my gain? If the answers to the two Kantian questions are no, then we must not carry out or effect the action. According to Immanuel Kant, these questions were comparable.
The theory of Kantian ethics can is applicable to the actions of the owner of the proposed job (through the company’s agent). The variations of the two Kantian ethics questions are (a) Can the agent for Brown Equipment Company expect everybody to act as he proposes to act? (b) Do the agent’s actions respect the goals of all human beings instead of simply using them for his (and his company’s purposes)? The answers to the two Kantian questions are both no. To the first question, the agent cannot wish that everyone goes around, soliciting very low bids from contracting companies. The agent then moves on to another company and asking them to come up with an even lower bid. To the second and final question, the answer is no because the agent’s actions are merely meant to meet his and his company’s financial needs. It is not meant to ensure the respect of the bidding companies who were approached to lower their bids (Smith Construction and Jones).
The actions of the agent are meant to profit only himself and the company at the expense of the contractors. Had he asked himself the two questions contained in Kantian ethics, he would have most certainly avoided the unethical solicitation of the lowest bids that put the contractors Smith Construction and Jones at a disadvantage the. The theory of Kantian ethics is based on the idea that one has to act exclusively on the maxim through which he or she can at the same time wish that it should be made a universal law. In other words, one is forbidden to do anything that he or she is not willing to allow everybody else to do as well. One is not allowed to make exceptions for himself. It is possible that had the tables been turned and the owner of the job (through its agent) placed in the Smith Construction’s position then they too would have felt hard done by, and they would have also sought legal help.
Principle relevant to the claim
The claim that Brown Equipment Company unethically chose Capone as the contractor for its proposed job is supported by Kantian ethics, and the consequential philosophy about the outcomes of ones actions. The theory of consequentialism derives from the fact that the consequences of one’s actions are the definitive basis for the judgment of the actions. From a consequential viewpoint, an action that is morally right is the one that yields a good or favorable outcome or consequence. By applying this to the actions of Brown Equipment Company, the consequence is that Smith Construction and Capone were wrongfully and unethically denied the chance to take part in fair bidding for the proposed construction job.
The theory of consequentialism stipulates that the end of an action justifies the means used. There are numerous consequentialist theories, including utilitarianism, hedonism, egoism, asceticism and altruism. The one that fits well with the actions of Brown Equipment Company’s agent is egoism. The theory of egoism posits that an action is morally right if it maximizes the good for the person doing the action. Egoism validates actions that are good for an individual entity (such as a company) even though they may be harmful welfare of the general public. The actions of Brown Equipment Company to improperly choose the contractor for the job put Smith Construction and Jones at a disadvantage.