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Those Pesky Side-Reactions

A Case Study on Ethics for Scientists and Engineers Developing Data in the Private Sector


Wayne Seames
Chemical Engineering
University of North Dakota


The characters in this dilemma case must balance personal financial considerations, their professional futures, and time constraints against ensuring that the new product they are proposing is safe. The case explores the issues surrounding ethical decision-making and asks students to decide what the central characters in the story should do. The case was designed to be used in mid- or upper-level chemistry and chemical engineering college courses.


  • Gain a better understanding of the factors that influence and cloud a person's judgment when faced with an ethical dilemma.
  • Understand the basis for making ethical decisions.
  • Explore some of the options available when faced with an ethical dilemma.
  • Understand the consequences of whistle blowing.


Professional ethics; code of ethics; code of conduct; ethical decision-making; whistle-blowing; whistleblower; new product development; product safety

Topical Areas


Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division



Type / Methods

Dilemma/Decision, Interrupted



Subject Headings

Chemical Engineering  |   Chemistry (General)  |   Engineering (General)  |   Science (General)  |  

Date Posted


Teaching Notes

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Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.