Incident at Morales

An Engineering Ethics Story

U.S. Edition © 2003 – Subtitled in Spanish

Complimentary copies were sent to U.S. Engineering Deans in October 2003

International Edition © 2005 – Subtitled in 13 languages

Available FREE to Foreign Engineering Deans – Contact for details


General Information:

Free Downloads:

Purchase Information:


Study Guide

Prices for VHS & DVD

Subtitled Languages

Power Point Slides

Marketing Opportunity



Policy Regarding Use


Suggested Assignment


Click here to watch a clip of the video



This recently released video presents a study of ethical responsibilities and choices similar to many encountered in engineering practice.

The video shows that good and well meaning people can unintentionally get into situations that may result in unethical and unfortunate consequences.  The video is designed to help viewers become more aware that:

v    Ethical considerations are an integral part of making engineering decisions

v    A code of ethics will provide guidance in the decision-making process

v    The obligations of a code of ethics do not stop at the United States border

v    The obligations of engineers go beyond fulfilling a contract with a client or customer


Incident at Morales is 36 minutes long when viewed without breaks and as much as 80 minutes if all discussions in the Interactive DVD are viewed.  Thus, making it short enough for viewing and discussing at society meetings, company lunches, and college classes, and longer if presented in a series of educational meetings.


Subtitled Languages

 The DVD contains the subtitles for the following languages:


Chinese – Simplified

Chinese – Traditional










English for the Hearing Impaired


Purpose of the Video

The video was developed to increase the viewer’s:

v    Sensitivity - To raise awareness of ethical aspects of professional work

v    Knowledge - To learn about professional standards such as codes of ethics

v    Judgment - To develop skills in moral reasoning

v    Commitment - To strengthen personal dedication to exemplary conduct

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Synopsis of the Story

Incident at Morales involves a variety of ethical issues faced by a company that wants to quickly build a plant in order to develop a new chemical product to gain a competitive edge over the competition. 

Phaust Chemical manufactures Old Stripper, a paint remover that dominates the market.  On learning that Phaust’s competitor Chemitoil plans to introduce a new paint remover that may capture the market, executives at Phaust decide to develop a competing product.  To save money in manufacturing the product, Phaust decides to construct a new chemical plant in Mexico. 

To design the new plant, Phaust hires a chemical engineer, Fred Martinez, who had been a consultant to Chemitoil.  As the project starts, Chemistré, Phaust’s parent company in France, slashes budgets 20% across the board.  Chuck, the vice president for engineering at Phaust, strongly encourages Fred to reduce construction costs.  Fred confronts several engineering decisions in which ethical considerations play a major role:

Ø  Whether to use expensive controls manufactured by Lutz and Lutz, which has inside connections at Phaust

Ø  Whether to line the evaporation ponds to prevent the seepage of hazardous substances in the effluents into the groundwater, although local regulations may not require this level of environmental protection

Ø  Whether to purchase pipes and connectors made with stainless steel or a high pressure alloy

Ø  After the automatic controls fail, whether to allow someone to control the process manually

When samples of Chemitoil’s new paint remover EasyStrip become available, it is clear that to be competitive with EasyStrip, Phaust must change the formulation of its new paint remover, requiring higher temperatures and pressures than originally anticipated. 

These increases in temperatures and pressures cause significant technical and ethical problems, the most serious of which is the fact that the automatic controls no longer work as intended.  Thus, the plant manager, Manuel, volunteers to control the process manually.  After the plant goes into full operation, an unfortunate accident occurs, resulting in serious consequences.


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Study Guide

(Click here for Free Download)

The 24-page study guide contains suggestions for use of the video, the story line, list of characters, synopsis of the video, purpose of the video, over 100 questions about ethical issues that the story raises, and a suggested assignment for students & viewers


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Power Point Presentation

(Click here for Free Download)

Twenty-six slides make up a power point presentation which may be downloaded free, modified to fit the presentation format and used as an introduction to the Incident at Morales.


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(Click here for Free Download)

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Suggested Assignment

(Copy and Print)

It is suggested that this information be copied and distributed before viewing Incident at Morales.  After viewing the video, ask viewers to prepare a written assignment in response to the instructions below.  (Suggested length: 2 to 3 pages; 1.5 space; 12 point type; 1 inch margins)

1.    List the ethical issues you observed in Incident at Morales.

2.    From your personal perspective, prioritize these ethical issues from most critical to least critical

3.    Discuss the video from three additional perspectives:

a)     Fred’s Perspective:  Assume you are Fred:

i)     What specific ethical issues do you (Fred) face?

ii)    What are some things that you should consider?

iii)  From whom or where would you seek guidance?

b) Wally’s Perspective:  Assume you are Wally: 

i)     What specific ethical issues does Wally face?

ii)    What do you think Wally's motivation was for having “One Rule”?

iii)  What do you think about Wally’s “One Rule”?

iv)   What decisions would you change if you were Wally?

c)       Responsibility Perspective:  If you were in charge and had the authority and the funding to make any changes you wanted to make in company policies: 

i)     What specific steps would you take to improve the company culture? 

ii)    Who would you involve in this process?

iii)  How and when would you communicate the company policies to:

(a)   Your employees?

(b)   Your clients?

(c)   The public?



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Purchase Price of Incident at Morales

VHS Format List Price - $250 plus $20 S&H to U.S. ($30USD outside U.S.)

DVD Format List Price - $500 plus $20 S&H to U.S. ($30USD outside U.S.)

70% discount to engineering colleges ordering copies for each of their departments with the restriction that the copies be used only for internal non-profit educational purposes.  These copies may not be for resale or for use in any revenue-generating activity.  See below for Policy on Use of NIEE Videos.

60 % Discount on single copies sold to educational institutions and professional societies with the restriction that the copies be used only for internal or external, non-profit, private or public, educational or training, but not for resale or for use in any revenue-generating activity.  See below for Policy on Use of  NIEE Videos.


Call 806-742-3525 to order

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Marketing Opportunity

Marketing organizations, including Societies, Universities, and other recognized groups (hereafter called Marketing Organizations) may purchase copies of the NIEE videos at discounted prices and resell them to their own customers.  Contact NIEE for more information, discounts, and conditions.


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Policy on Use of NIEE Movies

Policy adopted by NIEE Executive Board on May 19, 2010


Whenever NIEE movies are shown, appropriate credit shall be given to the National Institute for Engineering Ethics.

NIEE movies:

1.   May be shown to students or company employees without charge in non-fundraising venues.

2.   May be posted on a university server for internal use only without a usage fee.

3.   May be posted on other servers with a negotiated usage fee.  

ROYALTY FEE:  No Royalty Fee is required if presented only to students or to employees of a firm which purchased the movie.

Otherwise, a $10 per attendee Royalty Fee must be paid to NIEE.

Royalty fees should be paid by check made payable to
Texas Tech University

and sent to the
National Institute for Engineering Ethics

 Box 41023

Lubbock, TX  79409-1023



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