You have recently been appointed to the position of civil engineer in a small town in a developing country. You are responsible for the maintenance of the town’s infrastructure, such as public buildings and roads. You are one of the youngest members of the senior management team and report directly to the director of public works. All of the members of the management team have been working for the organization for a very long time, and you feel like something of an outsider. The director of public works, the human resources director, and the CEO often have lunch together, and it is generally felt that most important organizational decisions are made over lunch. Your position had been vacant for a long time prior to your appointment and the director of public works had assumed responsibility for a number of your current responsibilities. On your appointment, your manager asked you to check with him before implementing any major changes. He also retained the authority to approve major works. After some time, you realized that despite having a full staff complement, a number of outside contractors were doing various jobs within the organization. When you queried this, the director simply put it down to ‘rusty skills’, ‘a significant backlog’, and ‘quality of work’. However, you have been impressed with the quality of work that your staff have produced on odd maintenance jobs that you have assigned them. Recently, when you were complimenting one of your supervisors on the way he handled an emergency, he expressed his frustration at being given the ‘boring, odd jobs’ instead of the ‘challenging’ projects given to contractors. You decided to utilize your own staff rather than contractors for the next project because you felt that you would be able to supervise the work better and ensure the right quality. You planned it meticulously and wanted to enlist the support of your manager to ensure that all went well. You prepared all of the paperwork and took it to your manager for discussion. He looked disinterested and simply asked you to leave the paperwork with him because he was preparing for a meeting. The following week, your manager informed you that he had gone through your paperwork, and asked one of the more experienced contractors to submit a proposal for the job. He told you that he had already discussed this issue with the CEO, because he felt that this was a critical job and the contractors would complete the work within a shorter time than the internal staff. You were very upset about this and asked your manager why he had not involved you in the decision-making process. You are increasingly uncomfortable that you are expected to supervise and authorize payments for contractors whose appointment seems questionable.


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