Anda di halaman 1dari 25

CEM 582 ENGINEERS IN SOCIETY

Introduction to Ethics for Engineers

What is Ethics?
Greek word: ethos (character)- philosophical science that deals with the rightness & wrongness of human actions Refers to the most important values & beliefs of an individual and/or a society. These beliefs help shape the character of the people, teach them what is good & bad Is concerned with what is good & right for society
2

Myths About Ethics


Myth: Ethics cannot be managed Reality: In reality, they are managed indirectly. For example, the behavior of the organizations founder will be a strong moral influence on behavior for employees in the workplace. Strategic priorities (profit maximization, expanding market share, cutting costs, etc.) can be very strong influences on morality. Laws, regulations & rules directly influence behaviors to be more ethical, usually in a manner that improves the general good and/ or minimizes harm to the community.

Myths About Ethics


Myth: Our organization is not in trouble with the law, so we are ethical Reality: One can often be unethical, yet operate within the limits of the law, e.g. withhold information from superiors, inflate travel bills, complaining about others & pretending that they are the most efficient, etc. The boil the frog phenomena are a useful parable here: If you put a frog in hot water, it immediately jumps out. If you put a frog in cool water & slowly heat up the water, you can eventually boil the frog. The frog does not seen to notice the adverse change in its environment.

Myths About Ethics


Myth: Managing ethics in the workplace has little practical relevance Reality: Managing ethics in the workplace involves identifying & prioritizing values to guide behaviors in the organizations, & establishing associated policies & procedures to ensure those behaviors are conducted. One might call this value management. Value management is also highly important in other management practices, e.g. managing diversity, total quality management & strategic planning.

Professional Ethics
Refer to the ethical obligations that people in professional occupants have to follow because of their professional status Every occupation involves its own characteristic ethical obligation E.g. fireman have a special obligation to rescue people from burning buildings even when it can be dangerous to themselves to do so Related to occupational ethics Professional should act in the interest of public good
6

Engineering Ethics
Are: 1. The moral issues & decisions confronting individual & organizations engaged in engineering 2. Related questions about the moral ideals, character, policies & relationships of people & corporations involved in technological activities Is the activity & discipline aimed at understanding the moral values that ought to guide engineering practice, resolving moral issues in engineering & justifying moral judgments' concerning engineering

ETHICS
PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
ENGINEERING ETHICS

Ethics & Its Relationship with Similar Concept


Ethics & Morals 1. Both refer to right conduct 2. Morals- refers to generally accepted standards of right & wrong in a society 3. Ethics refer to more abstract principles which might appear in a code of professional ethics or in a textbook in ethical theory 4. when ethical views & moral beliefs come into conflict, morality must prevail because moral beliefs are generally far more universal & fundamental 5. E.g. a person cheats at cards may be considered unethical, but not necessarily is immoral, as immoral is a much greater character flaw than is being unethical.

MORALS
ETHICS

Ethics & Its Relationship with Similar Concept


Ethics & Law 1. Law dictates the minimum standard of behavior required of a person & is a solemn expression of the will of a supreme power & authority 2. Ethics are concerned with human values 3. Moral, ethical & legal issues are closely related 4. Law comes from principles of morality, but morality does not descend from law 5. An action legally permissible may not be morally & ethically permissible 6. Story: an old lady & judge

Moral & legal

Legal but not moral

Moral but not legal

Ethics & Its Relationship with Similar Concept


Ethics & Values 1. Values is what makes actions, character personality and objects good or bad. 2. Ethics stem from values 3. Values together with ethics, beliefs & norms make up the culture of an organization 4. Culture affects not only managerial behavior within an organization, but also the decision they make about the organizations relationship with its environment & strategy 5. Values are the guiding force for many companies 6. Jack Welch: strategy & system dont get you results; their values & people do

ETHICS

VALUES

Ethics & Its Relationship with Similar Concept


Ethics & Virtues 1. Virtues are principles of goodness & righteousness in character & conduct that lead a person towards more excellence & away from moral depravity 2. A virtues is a reflection of good character because it is a pattern of action 3. Virtue ethics focus on what is important to both the individual & society, and being a good person

VIRTUES

ETHICS

ETHICS ETHICS

VIRTUES

ETHICS VIRTUES ETHICS VIRTUES

ETHICS
VIRTUES

Why Study Ethics?


Bringing clarity in thought Helps strengthen skills in moral reasoning & resolving conflicts Facing moral ethical dilemmas with confidence Reduce & avoid stress People who want to be ethical (they would like to keep their conduct good in order to rise in their own self-esteem. Thus, if it can be explained to them that some of their actions are not consistent with what is ethically expected of them, they would gladly change) becoming virtuous Reinforcement of ethics Help to build a character Adjusting to & adhering to organizational values great help in decision making & prioritizing the expectation to be fulfilled

Theories of Ethics
Are developed to light up, unify & correct commonsense judgments & help to refine commonsense judgments Have 3 important uses: -understanding moral dilemmas -justifying professional obligations & ideals -relating ordinary & professional morality Example of theories: 1. Utilitarianism- most good for most people 2. Respect for people- personal autonomy

Theories of Ethics
1. Utilitarianism

The moral standard is: those actions are right that produce the greatest total amount of human well-being
A utilitarian analysis of a moral problem consists of 3 steps: a. the utilitarian must determine the audience of the action or policy in question-those people who will be affected for good or bad b. The positive & negative effects of the alternative actions or policies must be determined c. The utilitarian must decide which course of action produces the greatest overall utility

Theories of Ethics
2. Respect for people The moral standard is: those actions are right that equally respect each human person as a moral agent. (A moral agent is an individual capable of both formulating & pursuing purposes of his own & of being responsible for the actions taken to fulfill those purposes) Golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Review of the 2 Theories of Ethics


Utilitarianism - to maximize the total amount of preference satisfaction, even if it means doing an injustice to individuals Respect for People- to respect the rights of individuals, even if it means promoting something less than the total amount of preference satisfaction Given this fundamental divergence between the 2 theories, it is often best to analyze a complex moral problem from the standpoint of both theories. If the 2 theories converge, we can have some assurance about the proper course of action. If the 2 theories diverge, a decision must be made as to which conclusion has priority. In general, moral philosophers have adopted the view that Respect for People considerations should take priority over utilitarian considerations, except in those instances where the violation of rights is relatively minor

Case Study 1
Mr. X is a civil engineer. He joined his parents architectural firm to work on a hospital project. The project was very big & important project for his parents firm. His role was conduct quality checking, full time site supervision & project co-ordination. The construction execution contract was given to a very small time contractor by the client. This was against the recommendations of the Consultants. Hence, due to lack of experience of doing such large projects, quality control on site had become a major issue. Mr. X very strict about the quality aspect, but the small contractor with less resources unable to cope up the project progress with frequent correction. The client always felt that what Mr. X was doing on quality aspect was not so important & such small corrections were unnecessary. As time passed by, differences in such small matters increased between Mr. X and client. So, one fine day thinking in betterment of the project, Mr. X decided to stop giving supervision services for this project & rather continue with only co-ordination works for the project.

Case Study 1
Questions: 1. What are the moral & ethical issues faced by Mr. X? 2. Evaluate the actions of Mr. X 3. What would you do in place of Mr. X?

Case Study 2
Mr. Y is a chemical engineer who changed employment from company A to company B. Before leaving company A, they asked him to sign a document by which he agreed to keep confidential any copyrighted information which he learned at company A. Soon after he arrived at company B, he is assigned to solve a problem involving emission of a new chemical compound C, though toxic was not controlled by the Pollution Control Board. Mr. Ys new manager did not know whether to be concerned about compound C or not. However, Mr. Y realized that some of the proprietary information he had acquired at company A might enable him to modify the manufacturing process at company B, so that the suspicious new product would not be produced at all. This information would be used in an entirely different way than it was used by company A & would not harm the competitive position of company A with respect to company B, but Mr. Y still wonders whether he should approach his new manager with a proposal that requires the use of this information.

Case Study 2
Questions: 1. What issues does Mr. Y face? 2. What should Mr. Y do?