In this case study analysis, there are three critical problems which include community participation, compliance to the laws and series of loses by the constructing company. Stately Homes, a small residential contracting firm owned by Anselmo Escobar has been experiencing a series of delays on approving its projects by the city zoning office, and this has caused it to have a string of losses, a problem. Escobar is anxious to begin building homes which will help him recover his losses. However, He is also in a dilemma whether to start his construction work before engaging the community or engage them before construction, another problem, hence the issue of community participation (Acharya, 2014). He fears the residents will oppose his housing project because he will remove nearly all mature trees in the area for him to build more homes. Anselmo Escobar gets torn between asking permission from the residents before beginning construction or begin construction and ask for forgiveness later from the community for not engaging them and from the city zoning office for not complying with the law of public participation. This paper, therefore, used Kidder’s Ethical Checkpoints of decision-making format to analyze a case scenario “is it better to ask permission or to ask forgiveness.” The outcome of the analysis is; it is better to ask permission than to ask forgiveness because the effect of an action such as Escobar cutting down the tree to build houses can have a permanent adverse impact to the residents, it may cause desertification which cannot get reversed by asking for forgiveness.
The principal actors in this scenario are Anselmo Escobar, city zoning office, contractor and the residents. Anselmo Escobar and is the owner of Stately Homes which is a small contracting firm, the company’s biggest project is Stately Vista and is a new subdivision that deals with the construction of houses. He has become faced with a series of costly delays caused by the city zoning office. Escobar is very anxious to begin constructing homes which would, in turn, help him recover the many losses he has encountered as a result of delay by the city zoning office. However, there is an underlying challenge from the residents who he feels will oppose his project because he intends to remove nearly all mature trees in the area so that he can build more homes. Residents value these trees and believe that they enhance the neighborhood and improve property value (Atkinson et al. 2017). Escobar has no legal obligation to consult with the neighborhood association about his plans. He fears that notifying neighbors might lead to additional delays. A successful protest by residents might force Anselmo to retain some of the trees scheduled for removal and further delay hence persisted loss, and a financial challenge will continue. On the other hand, the contractor is not comfortable starting the work before Escobar talks to the neighborhood representatives. It would increase the opposition magnitude from both residents and their representatives and result to negative publicity about the Stately Home developments hence affecting its reputation, which would change the company because no one would wish to be associated with it as a worker, a partner or contract it to handle his construction work.
He can decide to go ahead and start his construction before consulting the residents, however, he would face legal problem for not complying with the law of public participation his construction license would probably be revoked, and possibly he is jailed.
If he decides to consult the residents and they agree that he begin construction, it would be smooth and acceptable by the community and benefit from community goodwill. Hence he would succeed.
There is a moral issue arising from a plan to remove nearly all mature trees in the area for him to build more homes. This move will harm the value of the property and create bad blood between the owner of Stately Homes and the residents because they believe that trees enhance the neighborhood and improve property value (Leopold, 2014). Another moral issue is compliance to the laws on construction, if he starts building the homes before the city zoning office approves them, he may face legal problems, probably a fine or revocation of his construction license. Building without consulting or notifying the resident’s representatives is unethical, and it could generate opposition towards the construction of homes and escalate negative publicity to Stately Homes development. Any constriction company has a responsibility to the society which includes engaging the nation in its projects, and if Escobar does not engage residents in the Stately Homes development project, he will have failed it his moral responsibility to the community.
The specific strategy that Escobar should take in making an ethical decision is following the legal way of construction, and he should consult and ask permission from the residents who will be affected directly by his construction project.
Kidder’s Ethical Checkpoints system helped me in coming up with a better conclusion because I was able to check any ethical dilemma, which helped me identify the issues that required attention and distinguish facts and assumptions and this was very helpful in better decision making. Through this format, I was able to locate Anselmo Escobar as the one morally obligated to act on the issue that arise from this case scenario. He is obliged to work ethically and make ethical decisions on behave of the Stately Homes Company. It also helped me test for right-versus-wrong issues, through this I was able to establish the legal analysis and detect any law breaking involved, analysis for right-versus-right paradigms and apply the resolution principles. Through this format, I was able to seek lessons in the scenario helpful in ethical decision making. It helped me get an understanding of what was happening and who were the actors.
The strengths of the Kidder Ethical Checkpoints format are that it uses four basic paradigms that encompass most of the ethical dilemmas. These paradigms help if gathering facts and making predictions of the possible outcome of a decision (Starz, 2015). Moral choices often involved in decision making between, justice versus mercy, short-term versus long-term, truth versus loyalty and individual versus community. However, Kidder’s Ethical Checkpoints format has a limitation because it is subject to human understanding and interpretation. Human being tends to be biased in their interpretation hence this format may not give a perfect ethical decision.
This format would be a useful tool for solving the ethical problems I face at school and work because it would help me make sound moral decisions hence avoid issues with my boss at workplace and teachers in school. It would help me maintain good working relations with my colleagues. It would also help me solve ethical long term and short term dilemmas that face me each day when I am in school or workplace.
In this scenario, Christian worldview would play an important role, Christians get guided by moral values such as respect for all people, humility, honesty, patience, and forgiveness which would help the actors in this scenario in making ethical decisions. Obedience and honesty would help Anselmo Escobar, the owner of Stately Homes Company avoid problems with the residents and the city zoning office. Christian worldview would caution Escobar from being too anxious to begin constructing homes and be patient. Christians are encouraged not to be anxious or anything.
Acharya, A. (2014). Constructing a security community in Southeast Asia: ASEAN and the problem of regional order. Routledge.
Atkinson, A. E., Hutchison, P., Reischl, T. M., & Alaimo, K. (2017). “We don’t only grow vegetables, we grow values”: Neighborhood Benefits of Community Gardens in Flint, Michigan. In Community Research in Environmental Health (pp. 137-156). Routledge.
Leopold, A. (2014). The land ethic. In The Ecological Design and Planning Reader (pp. 108-121). Island Press, Washington, DC.
Starz, T. D. (2015). Ethical perspectives on leaders: A universal decision-making process (Doctoral dissertation, University of Phoenix).