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  • People Impacted by Hughes
    against Hughes also and in favor of Goodearl and Ibarra Still there seems little reason to believe that Goodearl and Ibarra were merely gold diggers There is clear evidence that both Goodearl and Ibarra were worried about their jobs And rightly so since they were eventually both forced to leave Goodearl upon being fired and Ibarra upon being moved to a position with no responsibility They tried several times to resolve the matter internally And they paid a great price over the ten years it took to finally reach a settlement Back to Top of Page Hughes Upper management of Hughes Here we are referring to anyone in management at Hughes who was not directly on the manufacturing or testing floor This includes the reporting hierarchy from Division Manager down to Frank Saia the assistant manager for hybrid production Hughes Aircraft and thus all management had a large stake in keeping the production and shipping of hybrid microchips at peak performance A primary problem for them was the 10 failure rate when chips were tested This was a dramatic loss of money and time Reducing this loss was important to Hughes as was maintaining its pace of production Changing production to produce chips that failed less often would reduce its pace But baby sitting the chips through the testing procedure to make sure they passed the tests if at all possible was a relatively easy way to reduce the loss from failed chips particularly chips that were needed immediately by customers Thus was started the process to declaring some chips hot parts that were to be rushed through testing as quickly and with as low a failure rate as possible One other important level of upper management was the personnel office On more than one occasion Goodearl spoke with people in the personnel office about her concerns and about the harassment she thought she was receiving because of her complaints about test skipping But personnel did not have any independent way to investigate these incidents Instead on one occasion Goodearl saw the personnel officer walk directly from meeting her into office of Frank Saia the manager of her division Saia was one of the people she had complained to personnel about and he was almost immediately notified of the complaint and almost as quickly summoned her to his office to shout at her Thus personnel saw itself as on the side of upper management against workers who complained Quality control Ruth Ibarra who s later married name was Aldred was the primary Quality control employee with responsibility to oversee the testing environment for strict adherence to the testing rules But there is nothing in the extensive legal documentation in the case that suggests she had an independent way to enforce her oversight Time and again we find that when she sees a problem she has to report it to Goodearl or LaRue Thus Hughes did not really have an independent Quality control office but instead required these individuals to report

    Original URL path: http://computingcases.org/case_materials/hughes/analysis/hughes_sts_people.html (2016-04-30)
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  • A Socio-technical view of Hughes Procedures
    passwords and access to the databases in this system and can still alter data It is instructive to note that most financial loss from computer systems in banks and other organizations is from fraud perpetrated by those with trusted access to information No matter how secure the technical part of a system is there is no security if the personnel cannot be trusted So if management wanted to alter information to make the chips appear to pas inspection they would do so regardless of the kind of technical system was in place What is needed in fact is independent supervision of the process Back to Top of Page Oversight Procedures The procedures in Hughes for handling oversight were badly flawed Not only was there no independent oversight of the testing process there was also no independent way to investigate an internal charge of fraud Hughes did have a quality control group to check on the testing procedures but their only course of action if they discovered something wrong was to ask the very people who might be doing the thing they were complaining about Thus Ibarra in quality control could only ask LaRue why such and such a test had been skipped and often LaRue simply replied none of your business LaRue s immediate subordinates were the girls on the testing line who were actually performing the tests On several occasions these people complained to Goodearl that LaRue was asking them to mark chips as passed when they had actually failed LaRue would simply explain that the chips in questions were special and required different treatment Or sometime he would not explain at all and simply say Do what I say It was clear that the atmosphere of the testing floor was one of great power disparity and the girls

    Original URL path: http://computingcases.org/case_materials/hughes/analysis/hughes_sts_procedures.html (2016-04-30)
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  • U.S. Whistleblower Law
    if they knowingly defraud the government with one of these false claims By knowingly the Act states that a person with respect to pertinent information about the false claim has actual knowledge of the information acts in deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information or acts in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information This means that violators can be prosecuted not on clear and convincing evidence which was required in the 1863 Act but only on a preponderance of evidence An employee does not need to prove that their employer submitte4d a false claim just have a good faith belief that a violation had been committed False claims as defined by the 1986 Reform Act are as follows 3729 False Claims a Liability for Certain Acts Any person who knowingly presents or causes to be presented to an officer or employee of the United States Government or a member of the Armed Forces of the Unites States a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval knowingly makes uses or causes to be made or used a false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by the Government conspires to defraud the Government by getting a false or fraudulent claim allowed or paid has possession custody or control of the property or money used or to be used by the Government and intending to defraud the Government or willfully to conceal the property delivers or causes to be delivered less property than the amount for which the person receives a certificate or receipt authorized to make or deliver a document certifying receipt of property used or to be used by the Government and intending to defraud the Government makes or delivers the receipt without completely knowing that the information on the receipt is true knowingly buys or receives as a pledge of an obligation or debt public property from an officer or employee of the Government or a member of the Armed Forces who lawfully may not sell or pledge the property or knowingly makes uses or causes to be made or used a false record or statement to conceal avoid or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the Government The penalties for violations can be very costly Violators can pay up to 10 000 for each false claim as well as attorney s fees and other costs But if the violator admits to submitting a false claim within 30 days of the Government discovering it the fines are reduced to no less than twice that suffered by the Government All other damages are waived Most importantly the 1986 revision includes a whistleblower protection provision 31 U S C 3730 h Any employee who is discharged demoted suspended threatened harassed or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment by his or her employer because of lawful acts done by the employee on behalf of the employee

    Original URL path: http://computingcases.org/case_materials/hughes/support_docs/whistleblowing/whistleblower_us_law.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Whistleblowing Sources
    and official misconduct http www whistleblower org All About Qui Tam An online resource for whistleblowers about qui tam lawsuits and the False Claims Act This site is presented by a law firm http www all about qui tam org Illinois Institute of Technology Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions Includes international resources as well as various industries http ethics iit edu codes coe html Markkula Center of Applied Ethics Santa Clara University http www scu edu SCU Centers Ethics Advice on Whistleblowing By Franklin Hoke reprinted with permission from The Scientist May 15 1995 pp 1 15 http www indiana edu poynter tre3 3 html Web Clearinghouse for Engineering and Computing Ethics http www4 ncsu edu jherkert ethicind html Back to Contents International Resources Australia William De Maria s Whistleblowing Bibliography http www uow edu au arts sts bmartin dissent documents DeMaria bib html A useful paper on Australian whistleblowing by Stuart Dawson www uow edu au arts sts bmartin dissent documents Dawson html Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics includes links to associations news and other resources pertaining to ethics http www cappe edu au Whistleblowers Australia Offers support group information as well as other resources www whistleblowers org au Canada Center for Applied Ethics Computer and Information Ethics Resources on the WWW Links to ethic centers articles and various other resources http www ethicsweb ca resources computer publications html Korea People s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy Welcome pspd review law the PSPD Whistleblower Support Group and the Korean Association of Action Guidelines 15 March 2002 Whistleblowing is where an insider discloses www pspd org UK A short blurb about whistleblowing primary focus is bullying This site it supported by the sales of books which are advertised throughout the site There are a few

    Original URL path: http://computingcases.org/case_materials/hughes/support_docs/hughes_resources/hughes_sources.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Hughes Use of Power
    and potential loss of life Goodearl and Ibarra cite their concern about safety as the primary reason for their whistleblowing There were less upset because LaRue and Saia were merely bending the rules but were driven to action by the safety implications of those departures from the rules LaRue and Saia also used the coercive power that came with their position to punish Goodearl because she was not being what they called a team player Surely this fails the reversibility test and also the publicity and harm beneficence tests It is important to recognize why it fails these tests Every organization wants employees to be team players This expectation is reasonable and it may be necessary to sanction or even dismiss those who do not meet it But the code of ethics test helps us to see how the balance was missed The ACM Code of Ethics Section three of that code specifies organizational leadership imperatives the responsibilities of those who are leaders in organizations that deal with computing Item 3 1 reads ACM member and an organizational leader I will articulate social responsibilities of members of an organizational unit and encourage full acceptance of those responsibilities So one of the responsibilities of an organizational leader according to the code is to make clear to employees their social responsibilities and to support employees in accepting those responsibilities But LaRue and Saia were only emphasizing loyalty to the organization to the team And not only were they not encourag ing full acceptance of social responsibilities they were actively punishing Goodearl and Ibarra for attempting to fulfill their social responsibilities Finally LaRue and Saia used their expert power to claim a right to selectively test chips On the surface this seems reasonable and perhaps even laudable If in fact their use of their position as experts on testing to make sure the chips were make the line more efficient or even to simply make more money for Hughes while maintaining the required quality all would be well But in fact they misused their expert power either to claim falsely that no harm was being done or to minimize the harm being done by the fraud they were committing In either case this clearly fails the publicity test The publicity test focuses on personal character what would publicity reveal about the kind of person you were and were are thereby alerted to the possibility that their misuse of expert power is wrong because it highlights the lack or a virtue honesty or the presence of a vice greed perhaps or cowardice Since honesty and deception is one of the main ImpactCS categories we will deal in more detail with this angle of LaRue and Saia s unethical behavior in that section Goodearl and Ibarra In her initial attempts to reform the testing procedure from the inside Goodearl attempted to use her informational expert power to convince the organization that it needed to follow the testing protocol She was stymied in these attempts and

    Original URL path: http://computingcases.org/case_materials/hughes/analysis/ethical/hughes_use_of_power.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Hughes Safety
    the implementation level This bring home the point that a sociotechnical system needs to include those systems that contribute to its manufacture And it highlights the ethical responsibilities of computing professionals to design systems that take into account the way components are designed in the real world Of course it is impossible to design a system to avoid fraud on the part of component suppliers But one can certainly think

    Original URL path: http://computingcases.org/case_materials/hughes/analysis/ethical/huges_safety.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Hughes Privacy
    A clear privacy issue in this case is the handling of the reporting of fraud in the Personnel office Personal information that was given in confidence was transmitted to the complainer s immediate supervisor resulting in retaliation for the complaint

    Original URL path: http://computingcases.org/case_materials/hughes/analysis/ethical/hughes_privacy.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Hughes Honesty and Deception
    works So in fact one has to skirt the rules to get an organization to function at all There are clear cases of fraud like the one perpetrated by Hughes and we can condemn these straightforwardly But between outright fraud and a work to rule slowdown there is a gray area in which people of goodwill can disagree Labeling some of the chips hot parts and expediting their testing or even babysitting them through the process seems to be a legitimate bending of the rules For each of these using the ethics tests we have presented here help in establishing the important issues The tests do not always make the answer clear but they help to make the questions more clear Part of Goodearl and Ibarra s dilemma was that if they became team players according to LaRue and Saia s rules they would be participating in the fraud the Hughes was committing The doctrine of respondent superior helps some in this case in that it holds the employer responsible to the action of the agent when the agent is really acting on the behalf of the employer This is in part the reasoning that the jury used in not

    Original URL path: http://computingcases.org/case_materials/hughes/analysis/ethical/hughes_honesty.html (2016-04-30)
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