Table of Contents

Situations Related to Ethical Principles

1. Fulfilling the letter or the spirit of the law?

2. Ensuring diverse points of view

3. Putting a square peg in a round hole

4. Protecting an individual's right to privacy

5. Ethical decisions in instructional media selection

6. Computers: Issues of health and safety

7. Adopting and promoting new ideas

8. A clash of cultures

9. Harassment, bias, and discrimination

10. Whose views? Yours or your institutions?

11. All the facts, please

12. Competing with your employer

13. Handling gifts, gratuitites, and favors

14. Engaging in fair and equitable practices with vendors

15. Greasing the squeaky wheel

16. Influencing your colleagues

17. Exploiting professional affiliations

18. Helping one another

19. Is honesty the best answer?

20. An ethical approach to doing business

21. Fair assignment of responsibility

22. Facing new copyright challenges

23. When a colleague is wrong

Engaging in Fair and Equitable Practices with Vendors

The Situation
Henry Samuelson was well known as one of the true pioneers in educational media and technology in his state. Early in his career he put Grover City on the educational map by establishing the first school district media center recognized by the State Department of Education. During his notable career he had received wide recognition and numerous awards for his professional accomplishments. Indeed, Henry had become something of a legend in his profession!

Because of his long record of success and the enviable reputation in media and technology that he had earned for his school district, Henry had been given a free hand in the operation of his media center. In his effort to secure the best possible equipment, materials, and services for his school district, Henry had developed close working relationships with certain manufacturers and distributors. Over the years, he found that he could particularly depend on one company, AV Technology Associates, for prompt, efficient service. Consequently, he carried out a major portion of his business with them.

Because of these frequent interactions, he, his staff, and the personnel of AV Tech developed a rapport that resulted in not only a close professional relationship but also some warm personal friendships. As a result, each December during the holiday season, AV Tech hosted a reception and dinner at which time its staff and the staff of the media center could enjoy a pleasant evening together.

Recently, representatives of other educational technology vendors have approached Henry about considering some of their products. Consistently, Henry has turned them away with the comment that he is very satisfied with the equipment, materials, and services that he is currently receiving. As a result, murmurs of dissatisfaction and discrimination are beginning to be heard by the Grover City school administration and school board.


Discussion

The AECT Code of Ethics—Section 2, Principle 5
In fulfilling obligations to society, the member shall engage in fair and equitable practices with those rendering service to the profession.

While no one would deny that Henry Samuelson is acting with the best intentions and feels that he is doing what is best for his school district, equity and good judgment suggest the use of competitive bidding in cases of purchases and contracts, particularly when they involve significant amounts of money. Prudent practice requires that commercially produced equipment and materials be selected on the basis of such criteria as instructional value, cost, and durability. Some protection must be given against exploitation or an overriding monopoly by a special interest group or company.

While the annual dinner given by AV Tech for the media center employees is generally acceptable, it must be carefully demonstrated that no compensation from a vendor of instructional supplies and equipment affects recommendations for purchases.

Jefferson N. Eastmond, Sr.
President, Worldwide Education & Research Institute
Salt Lake City, UT


Updated January 21, 2008
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The Association for Educational Communications and Technology

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