GEC Scenario #24: Modification Request

This sample scenario is from a collection of 70+ Global Engineering Competency (GEC) scenarios developed for instructional and assessment purposes. For more information, including links to usage tips and other supporting resources, visit our About page.

You are a mechanical design engineer working for a U.S.-based company that builds and services specialized manufacturing equipment. Your firm has a multi-million dollar contract with a large Chinese company that is building a new factory on the outskirts of Beijing. During a recent meeting at the new plant, a high-ranking Chinese engineering manager requests a number of minor modifications to one of the machines they ordered from you. You remind him that the contract imposes fees for each modification, likely amounting to tens of thousands of dollars. The Chinese manager is angry and dismayed, asking how you could make such a silly demand when a multi-million dollar contract is on the line. How would you deal with this situation?

  1. Tell him you value working with his company, and will ask your supervisors whether the modifications can be done at a reduced rate.
  2. Tell him that you appreciate the multi-million dollar order, but need him to honor the contract.
  3. Tell him your company will do the modifications at no charge.
  4. Provide a detailed explanation for why the additional expenses need to be covered.
  5. Firmly tell him that the additional charges are not negotiable.
  6. Suggest that he have his own engineers modify the equipment after it is delivered.

Recommended Uses: INSTRUCTION/TRAINING (see our GEC Resource Guide for additional guidance)

Citation: Jesiek, B. K. and Woo, S. E. (Eds.). (2018). GEC Scenario #24: Modification Request. Retrieved from

License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1160455 and 1254323. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We also acknowledge support for this work from Purdue's Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research (CILMAR).