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Cash Door Prize and Ethics of Its Receiving

Facts: Engineer A works for UVW Engineering. As part of Engineer A’s activities and employment responsibilities on behalf of UVW Engineering, he attends various conferences and trade shows. While attending a recent conference and trade show at UVW Engineering’s expense, Engineer A won a door prize worth $5,000.

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Question: Would it be ethical for Engineer A to keep the door prize or is he required to remit the prize to UVW Engineering? Would your response be different if you’re a PE?


According to the case study, engineer A attended an educational event at the expense of the company that hired him. During this conference, the engineer won a door prize ($5,000). According to the Code of Ethics that applies to engineer A, “engineers shall not solicit or accept financial or other valuable consideration, directly or indirectly, from outside agents in connection with the work” (NSPE). The rule, however, cannot be applied to the case study as the received money is not connected to the engineer’s work. It was not a gift from an outside agent, and, therefore, there is no conflict of interest. The same would apply to a PE since there is no direct involvement in the work of the individual or attempt to bribe him or create a conflict of interest.

The next rule that could be applied to the described situation is the following: “Engineers shall not accept commissions or allowances, directly or indirectly, from contractors or other parties dealing with clients or employers of the engineer in connection with work for which the engineer is responsible” (NSPE). However, it also does not apply to the case as there was no involvement in the work for which engineer A was responsible. It is difficult to label the prize as an attempt to directly influence engineer A since it is based on the same rules as a lottery and is a matter of luck. The responsibilities of a PE are greater, but the ethical basis is similar, and thus the situation would not change even if engineer A had a different license (NC State University).

The described case partially applies to the following point of the Code of Ethics, but, as previous points, it does not indicate that the door prize could be considered a violation of this Code or an attempt to create a conflict of interest: “Engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers and should keep current in their specialty fields by engaging in professional practice, participating in continuing education courses, reading in the technical literature, and attending professional meetings and seminars” (NSPE). The engineer utilized his right to continue professional development, and since it was not proven that the door prize was awarded deliberately to him to affect his interests, there is no evidence that his actions (his decision to accept the price) could be considered unethical.

However, another important factor that has to be considered is the engineer’s decision to notify the executives or other representatives of the administration about the prize. ASCE reports that if an engineer suspects that his or her actions are being influenced, he or she should report about it to the Executive Board or any other administration that handles ethical dilemmas. Tackling ethical dilemmas alone can be difficult and not always productive (Bellamy 21; Shapiro and Stefkovich 146). Additionally, since the prize was received at an event for which UVW Engineering paid, it would be incorrect to conceal this fact.

The solution to the problem would not change if engineer A were a PE. Professional Engineers Ontario emphasizes that engineers need to act as trustful agents and avoid or disclose any conflict of interest to the executives. If the educational event were not related to UVW Engineering, the engineer could conceal the information about the price as it would be his private matter.

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Works Cited

ASCE. “Avoid Situations Leading to Conflicts of Interest.” American Society of Civil Engineers, Web.

Bellamy, Alex. Fighting Terror: Ethical Dilemmas. Zed Books Ltd., 2013.

NC State University. “Professional Engineer Licensure.” College of Engineering, n.d., Web.

NSPE. “NSPE Code of Ethics for Engineers.” National Society of Professional Engineers, Web.

Professional Engineers Ontario. “Code of Ethics.” Peo Portal, Web.

Shapiro, Joan Poliner, and Jacqueline A. Stefkovich. Ethical Leadership and Decision Making in Education: Applying Theoretical Perspectives to Complex Dilemmas. Routledge, 2016.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, May 6). Cash Door Prize and Ethics of Its Receiving. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2021, May 6). Cash Door Prize and Ethics of Its Receiving.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Cash Door Prize and Ethics of Its Receiving." May 6, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Cash Door Prize and Ethics of Its Receiving'. 6 May.

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