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2 General Definition of Ethics


2 The study of the characteristics of morals
2 The study of the moral choices made by
each person in his/her relationships with
other people
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2 The rules and standards which govern
the conduct of engineers in their role as
professionals
2 Engineering ethics are similar to general
ethics, but apply to the specific issues
which affect engineering professionals
2 Because of its importance to all
engineers, ABET (Accreditation Board for
Engineering and Technology) now
mandates that ethics be included in the
engineering curriculum
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2 Truthfulness
2 Character Manners Behavior Charity
2 A higher power
2 The golden rule Sympathy
2 Love
2 Caring for others
2 Honesty
2 Up
Up--bringing Sense of duty
2 Integrity Being honest with yourself Duty
Mode of conduct
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2 ^ublic Safety
2 Bribery and Fraud
2 Environmental ^rotection
2 Fairness
2 Honesty in Research and Testing
2 Conflicts of Interest
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2Increased awareness of importance
due to publicity surrounding high
profile engineering failures
2Engineering decisions can impact
public health, safety, business
practices and politics
2Engineers should be aware of moral
implications as they make decisions in
the workplace.
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2 Study of ethics helps engineers develop a
moral autonomy:
2 Ability to think critically and independently
about moral issues
2 Ability to apply this moral thinking to
situations that arise in the course of
professional engineering practice
2 Ethical problems in engineering are often
complex and involve conflicting ethical
principles. Engineers must be able to
intelligently resolve these conflicts and
reach a defensible decision
^ersonal versus
Business/^rofessional Ethics
2 ^ersonal Ethics: Deals with how we treat
others in our day-
day-to-
to-day lives
2 Business/^rofessional Ethics:
2 Involves choices regarding relationships
between organizations and other
organizations, government, and groups
of individuals
2 The complexity of these relationships
often pose dilemmas not encountered in
personal ethics
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2Both engineering and business are
governed by laws
2Legal acts are not necessarily
ethical
2Acts which are ethical are not
necessarily legal
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2 Ethical problems are often open-
open-
ended there is often no unique correct
solution
2 There will typically be a range of
possible solutions to an ethical
problem
2 Deriving a good solution requires
analytical skills that draw from a large
body of knowledge
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2Most engineers work for large
corporations and are not self-
self-
employed
2Engineers are neither as well
compensated for their work nor as
highly regarded as physicians or
lawyers
2Engineering societies are not as
powerful as those established for
physicians or lawyers
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2The formal training period is less
extensive for engineers than for other
professionals
2Many individuals employed as
engineers have not been licensed.
^hysicians and lawyers must be
licensed by the state before they may
practice their profession
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2 Express the rights, duties and obligations of
members of the profession
2 Do not express new ethical principles, but
coherently restate existing standards of
responsible engineering practice
2 Create an environment within the profession
where ethical behavior is the norm
2 Not legally binding ² an engineer cannot be
arrested for violating an ethical code, but
may be expelled from or censured by the
engineering society
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2 Relatively few engineers are members of
engineering societies. Nonmembers don·t
necessarily follow the ethical codes
2 Many engineers either don·t know that
the codes exist, or have not read them
2 The engineering codes often have
internal conflicts, but do not provide
means for their resolution
2 The codes can seem coercive at times


 


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2 Issues pertaining to the conduct of
business
2 Employee/employer relations
2 Now: emphasize commitments to safety,
public health, and environmental
protection
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2 Depending on your discipline and organizational
affiliations, you may be bound by more than one
ethical code:
2 Disciple related (ASME, IEEE, etc)
2 National Society of ^rofessional Engineers (NS^E)
2 Employee codes (corporation, university, etc)
2 Union codes
2 Familiarity with the codes that apply to you, as
well as a basic knowledge of ethical theory, can
help to resolve conflicts among the different
codes, and can help an engineer to make
coherent ethical choices
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Four Common Ethical Theories


2Utilitarianism
2Duty Ethics
2Rights Ethics
2Virtue Ethics
0   
2 Attempts to achieve a balance between
good and bad consequences of an action
2 Tries to maximize the well-
well-being of society
and emphasizes what will provide the most
benefits to the largest group of people
2 Fundamental to many types of engineering
analysis, including risk-
risk-benefit analysis and
cost--benefit analysis
cost
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2 Sometimes what is best for the community
as a whole is bad for individuals
2 Impossible to know in advance which
decision will lead to the most good
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2 Contends that certain acts should be
performed because they are inherently
ethical (e
(e..g. honesty, fairness)
2 This theory concludes that individuals
who recognize their ethical duties will
choose ethically correct moral actions
M !²
M ! ² this method does not always
lead to a solution which maximizes the
public good
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2 Everyone has inherent moral rights
2 Any act that violates an individual·s
moral rights is ethically unacceptable
M !"
2 How do we prioritize the rights of different
individuals?
2 Rights ethics often promote the rights of
individuals at the expense of large
groups/society
§ | 
2Focuses on the type of person we
should strive to be
2Actions which reflect good character
traits are inherently right
2Actions which reflect bad character
traits are inherently wrong
2Virtue ethics are tied more to
individual behavior than to an
organization
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  
2 Œhat the ´factsµ really are is often a point of
contention - are the facts truly known?

  
2 ^ertain to the meaning of actions
2 Is a gift intended to influence a decision?
2 Should certain information be regarded as
proprietary?
Ô
 
2 6nce factual and conceptual issues have
been resolved, the moral issue in dispute often
becomes apparent

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2 Conflictsare situations which present a choice
between two or more moral values, each of
which has its own merits
{  
   
2 Choose the ethical value which is stronger
(health and safety of public versus duty
toward employer)
2 Find a creative middle ground usually involving
a compromise agreed upon by all parties
2 Œhen all else fails, make the best choice
possible based on available information
   
2 Œhen does a gift become a bribe?
2 Bribery: Something offered or given to
someone in a position of trust in order
to induce him/her to act dishonestly
2 Œhere is the line which separates
appropriate and inappropriate gifts?
2 Look for answers in written  
and     
  and
  
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    "
2 Five dollar coffee mug
2 $350 crystal bowl engraved with company logo
2 Same bowl without engraving
     
   "
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2 At a fast food restaurant
2 At an expensive bistro
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2 At a fast food restaurant
2 At an expensive bistro
u!# #   
The most important duty of an engineer is to
protect the safety and well-
well-being of the public
M   
2 Safety ² Freedom from damage, injury, or risk
2 Risk ² The possibility of suffering harm or loss,
Similar to danger
The definitions of safety and risk are linked
2 Œe engage in risky behavior when we do
something that is unsafe
2 Something is unsafe if it involves substantial risk
Õ $ Õ 
 !$"  

2Voluntary versus involuntary risk


2Short
Short--term versus long-
long-term
consequences
2Expected probability
2Reversible effects
2Delayed versus immediate effects

   
   
 
 %
2 Comply with applicable laws
2 Meet the standard of accepted
engineering practice
2 Explore potentially safer alternative
designs
2 Attempt to foresee potential misuses of
the product by the consumer, and
design to minimize the risks associated
with such misuse
M
 
2 Define the problem, including the
needs, requirements and constraints
2 Generate several different solutions to
the problem
2 Analyze each solution to determine the
pros and cons of each
2 Test the solution
2 Select the best solution
2 Implement the chosen solution
u!&& 
u!
2 Risks and benefits of a project are
assigned amounts«..
2 Most favorable ratio between risks and
benefits is sought
{   
 
2 Difficult to assign appropriate dollar
amounts
2 Technique can be misused (dishonest
and subject assignment of costs)

   
2 Most common
2 6ften caused by bad choice, or failure
to follow regulations or established
procedures
2 Can be reduced through increased
training, more supervision, new laws or
regulations, or closer scrutiny by
regulators
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2 Caused by flaws in the design of a
product or system
2 Engineering failures
2 Engineered accidents
   
2 Harder to understand and control
2 Characteristic of complex technologies
and systems
2 A series of minor mistakes or insignificant
factors, can, if they occur under certain
conditions, have catastrophic
consequences
2 Can be reduced by paying scrupulous
attention to detail

    
  
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2 Engineers are required to keep
confidential certain information
belonging to their employer or client
2 Such information, if released, might allow
other companies or organizations to gain
an unfair competitive advantage
2 Borderline area: how long does
confidentiality extend once an
employee moves to a new company?

 
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2Actual Conflict of Interest


2^otential Conflict of Interest
2Appearance of Conflict of Interest
2Avoid conflicts of interest by
consulting company policies and
seeking second opinions
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2 Computers make it easier to perpetrate
crimes such as theft from an employer or
financial institution
2 ^rivacy is more difficult to maintain
because of the number of personal
records stored on and transferred
among computers
2 Computer hacking
2 Computer viruses


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2 Right to privacy
2 Right to participate in activities of one·s own
choosing outside of work
2 Right to reasonably object to company·s
policies without fear of retribution
2 Right to due process
2 Rights accorded to engineering
professionals include the right of professional
conscience: engineers may choose not to
participate in activities which he/she
considers to be unethical
Π

M    The act by an employee which
M   
informs the public or higher management of
unethical or illegal behavior by an employer
or supervisor
{    
2 Internal
2 External
2 Anonymous
Π


Œhen should whistle blowing be


attempted?

2 Need
2 ^roximity
2 Capability
2 Last resort
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2 Œhen is an engineer morally obligated to
blow the whistle?
2 You  blow the whistle if all of the previous
conditions have been met
2 You 
 blow the whistle when you feel that
there is great imminent danger of harm if the
activity continues unchecked   if all of the
previous conditions have been met
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2 Avoid preconceived notions about what the
results of the research will be
2 Be open to changing the hypothesis when
such action is indicated by the experimental
evidence
2 Ensure that an objective frame of mind is
maintained throughout the research process
2 Conclusions should be confirmed by as many
colleagues as possible, and should not be
prematurely announced to the public
2 The ultimate goal of research is not publicity
and fame, but rather the discovery of new
knowledge
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2 An accurate assessment and


interpretation of the experimental data
must be given
2 ´Massagingµ data to improve results is
not acceptable
2 ^roper credit should be given to all who
contributed to a particular project
  
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