Sharpe, DeVeaux, Velleman: Honest Harry p. 259
The Lackawax River Group is interested in applying for state funds to continue their restoration and conservation of the Lackawax River, a river that has been polluted from years of industry and agricultural discharge. While they have managed to gain significant support for their cause through education and community involvement, the executive committee is now interested in presenting the state with more compelling evidence.
They decided to survey local residents regarding their attitudes toward the proposed expansion of the river restoration and conservation project. With limited time and money (the deadline for the grant application was fast approaching), the executive committee was delighted that one of its members, Harry Greentree, volunteered to undertake the project.
Harry owned a local organic food store and agreed to have a sample of his shoppers interviewing during the next one-week period. One committee member questioned whether a representative sample of residents could be found in this way, but the other members of the committee thought that the customers of Harry’s store were likely to be just the kind of well-informed residents whose opinions they wanted to hear. The only instruction the committee decided to give was that the shoppers be selected in a systematic fashion, for instance, by interviewing every fifth person who entered the store. Harry had no problem with this request and was eager to help the Lackawax River Group.
Respond to each question in detail. The best responses will use the case material itself to show what is going on and what is going wrong. Identify the ethical dilemma in this scenario. What are the undesirable consequences? Propose an ethical solution that considers the welfare of all stakeholders.
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