Following Topics are Covered: 1 INTRODUCTION 2 PROFESSIONALISM & CODES OF ETHICS 3 UNDERSTANDING ETHICAL PROBLEMS 4. Engineering Ethics E-Book By Charles B. Fleddermann 4th Edition 9 CODES OF ETHICS OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING SOCIETIES by charles b. fleddermann pdfengineering ethics bookengineering ethics book. The study of the characteristics of morals. Engineering Ethics –. Rules and standards governing conduct of engineers. A body of philosophy.
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Engineering Ethics. Fourth Edition. CHARLES B. FLEDDERMANN. University of New Mexico. Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River • Boston • Columbus • San. Read this book and become an engineer with good ethics. Engineering Ethics Fourth Edition CHARLES B. FLEDDERMANN University of. Ethics Seminar. Article (PDF Available) in Resources · January with Reads . Fleddermann, Charles, Engineering Ethics 3 rd (Prentice Hall, ).
During this launch, the foam separation and strike had been observed. It was detectable by the user. Ethical problem solving shares these attributes with engineering design. Despite these objections, codes are in widespread use today and are generally thought to serve a useful function. There is no overall engineering society that most engineers identify with, although the National Society of Professional Engineers NSPE tries to function in this way. To prevent the hot gases from damaging the O-rings, a heat-resistant putty is placed in the joint. Using this program, you can create a unique text for your introduction to engineering course that exactly matches your content requirements and teaching approach.
The first documented joint failure came after the launch on January 24, , which occurred during very cold weather. The postflight examination of the boost- ers revealed black soot and grease on the outside of the booster, which indicated that hot gases from the booster had blown by the O-ring seals.
This observation gave rise to concern about the resiliency of the O-ring materials at reduced tem- peratures. Thiokol performed tests of the ability of the O-rings to compress to fill the joints and found that they were inadequate. In July of , Thiokol engineers redesigned the field joints without O-rings. Instead, they used steel billets, which should have been better able to withstand the hot gases.
Unfortunately, the new design was not ready in time for the Challenger flight in early [Elliot et al. The Political Climate To fully understand and analyze the decision making that took place leading to the fatal launch, it is important also to discuss the political environment under which NASA was operating at that time.
NASA had billed the shuttle as a reliable, inexpensive launch vehicle for a variety of scientific and commercial purposes, including the launching of commercial and military satellites.
It had been promised that the shuttle would be capable of frequent flights several per year and quick turnarounds and would be competitively priced with more traditional nonreusable launch vehicles.
NASA was feeling some urgency in the program because the European Space Agency was developing what seemed to be a cheaper alternative to the shuttle, which could potentially put the shuttle out of business. These pressures led NASA to schedule a record number of missions for to prove to Congress that the program was on track. Launching a mission was espe- cially important in January , since the previous mission had been delayed numerous times by both weather and mechanical failures.
There was additional political pressure to launch the Challenger before the upcoming state-of-the-union address, in which President Reagan hoped to mention the shuttle and a special astronaut—the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe—in the context of his comments on education. The first launch date had to be abandoned due to a cold front expected to move through the area. The front stalled, and the launch could have taken place on schedule. But the launch had already been postponed in deference to Vice President George Bush, who was to attend.
The launch of the shuttle was further delayed by a defective microswitch in the hatch-locking mechanism. When this problem was resolved, the front had changed course and was now moving through the area. Given the expected cold temperatures, NASA checked with all of the shuttle contractors to determine if they foresaw any problems with launching the shuttle in cold temperatures.
During this teleconference, Roger Boisjoly and Arnie Thompson, two Thiokol engineers who had worked on the solid- propellant booster design, gave an hour-long presentation on how the cold weather would increase the problems of joint rotation and sealing of the joint by the O-rings.
After some discussion, Mulloy asked Joe Kilminster, an engi- neering manager working on the project, for his opinion. Kilminster backed up the recommendation of his fellow engineers. Boisjoly and other engineers reiterated to their management that the original decision not to launch was the correct one.
A key fact that ultimately swayed the decision was that in the available data, there seemed to be no correlation between temperature and the degree to which blow-by gasses had eroded the O-rings in previous launches. Thus, it could be con- cluded that there was really no trend in the data indicating that a launch at the expected temperature would necessarily be unsafe.
Chapter 1 Introduction 11 famous in engineering ethics discussions. Lund reversed his previous decision and recommended that the launch proceed. The new recommendation included an indication that there was a safety concern due to the cold weather, but that the data were inconclusive and the launch was recommended.
McDonald, who was in Florida, was surprised by this recommendation and attempted to convince NASA to delay the launch, but to no avail. In fact, there was a significant accu- mulation of ice on the launchpad from safety showers and fire hoses that had been left on to prevent the pipes from freezing.
NASA routinely documents as many aspects of launches as possible. One part of this monitoring is the extensive use of cameras focused on critical areas of the launch vehicle.
One of these cameras, looking at the right booster, recorded puffs of smoke coming from the aft field joint immediately after the boosters were ignited. This smoke is thought to have been caused by the steel cylinder of this segment of the booster expanding outward and causing the field joint to rotate.
Very quickly, the field joint was sealed again by byproducts of the solid rocket- propellant combustion, which formed a glassy oxide on the joint. This oxide Table 1. The oxides that were temporarily sealing the field joint were shattered by the stresses caused by the wind shear.
The joint was now opened again, and hot gases escaped from the solid booster. Since the booster was attached to the large liquid-fuel booster, the flames from the solid-fuel booster blow-by quickly burned through the external tank. The liquid propellant was ignited and the shuttle exploded. The Aftermath As a result of the explosion, the shuttle program was grounded as a thorough review of shuttle safety was conducted. Thiokol formed a failure-investigation team on January 31, , which included Roger Boisjoly.
There were also many investiga- tions into the cause of the accident, both by the contractors involved including Thiokol and by various government bodies. As part of the governmental investiga- tion, President Reagan appointed a blue-ribbon commission, known as the Rogers Commission, after its chair. The commission consisted of distinguished scientists and engineers who were asked to look into the cause of the accident and to recom- mend changes in the shuttle program. One of the commission members was Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, who ably demonstrated to the country what had gone wrong.
In a dem- onstration that was repeatedly shown on national news programs, he demonstrated the problem with the O-rings by taking a sample of the O-ring material and bend- ing it. The flexibility of the material at room temperature was evident. He then immersed it in ice water. When Feynman again bent the O-ring, it was obvious that the resiliency of the material was severely reduced, a very clear demonstration of what happened to the O-rings on the cold launch date in Florida. As part of the commission hearings, Boisjoly and other Thiokol engineers were asked to testify.
Boisjoly handed over to the commission copies of internal Thiokol memos and reports detailing the design process and the problems that had already been encountered. According to Boisjoly, after this action he was isolated within the company, his responsibilities for the redesign of the joint were taken away, and he was subtly harassed by Thiokol management [Boisjoly, , and Boisjoly, Curtis, and Mellicam, ].
Eventually, the atmosphere became intolerable for Boisjoly, and he took extended sick leave from his position at Thiokol. The joint was redesigned, and the shuttle has since flown numerous successful missions. However, the ambitious launch schedule originally intended by NASA was never met.
Possibilities include ejection seats or an escape capsule that would work during the first three minutes of flight. These features were incorporated into earlier manned space vehicles and in fact were in place on the shuttle until Whether such a system would have saved the astronauts aboard the Challenger is unknown, and ultimately an escape system was never incorporated into the space shuttle.
The Space Shuttle Columbia Failure During the early morning hours of February 1, , many people across the Southwestern United States awoke to a loud noise, sounding like the boom associ- ated with supersonic aircraft. This was the space shuttle Columbia breaking up during This accident was the second loss of a space shut- tle in flights—all seven astronauts aboard the Columbia were killed—and pieces of the shuttle were scattered over a wide area of eastern Texas and western Louisiana.
This was the 28th mission flown by the Columbia, a day mission involving many tasks. The first indication of trouble during reentry came when temperature sensors near the left wheel well indicated a rise in temperature. Soon, hydraulic lines on the left side of the craft began to fail, making it difficult to keep control of the vehicle.
Finally, it was impossible for the pilots to maintain the proper position- ing of the shuttle during reentry—the Columbia went out of control and broke up. The bottom of the space shuttle is covered with ceramic tiles designed to dissi- pate the intense heat generated during reentry from space. The destruction of the Columbia was attributed to damage to tiles on the leading edge of the left wing.
During liftoff, a piece of insulating foam on the external fuel tank dislodged and Explosion of the space shuttle Challenger soon after liftoff in January It was estimated that this foam struck the shuttle wing at over miles per hour, causing significant damage to the tiles on the wing over an area of approximately cm2. With the integrity of these tiles compromised, the wing structure was susceptible to extreme heating during reentry and ultimately failed. Shuttle launches are closely observed by numerous video cameras.
During this launch, the foam separation and strike had been observed. For example, there was some discussion of trying to use ground- based telescopes to look at the bottom of the shuttle while in orbit. Unfortunately, even if it had been possible to observe the damage, there would have been no way to repair the damage in space. The only alternatives would have been to attempt to launch another shuttle on a dangerous rescue mission, or attempt to get the astro- nauts to the space station in the hopes of launching a later rescue mission to bring them back to earth.
In the end, NASA decided that the damage from the foam strike had probably not been significant and decided to continue with the mission and reentry as planned. This was not the first time that foam had detached from the fuel tank during launch, and it was not the first time that foam had struck the shuttle. Apparently numerous small pieces of foam hit the shuttle during every launch, and on at least seven occasions previous to the Columbia launch, large pieces of foam had detached and hit the shuttle.
Solutions to the problem had been proposed over the years, but none had been implemented. Although NASA engineers initially identified foam strikes as a major safety concern for the shuttle, after many launches with no safety problems due to the foam, NASA management became complacent and overlooked the potential for foam to cause major problems.
In essence, the prevailing attitude suggested that if there had been numerous launches with foam strikes before, with none leading to major accidents, then it must be safe to continue launches without fixing the problem. In the aftermath of this mishap, an investigative panel was formed to deter- mine the cause of the accident and to make recommendations for the future of the shuttle program. The report of this panel contained information on their find- ings regarding the physical causes of the accident: More significantly, the report also went into great depth on the cultural issues within NASA that led to the accident.
Perhaps most damning was the assessment that many of the problems that existed within NASA that led to the Challenger accident sixteen years earlier had not been fixed. Especially worrisome was the finding that schedule pressures had been allowed to supercede good engineering judgment. An acci- dent such as the Challenger explosion should have led to a major change in the safety and ethics culture within NASA. But sadly for the crew of the Columbia, it had not. After the Columbia accident, the space shuttle was once again grounded until safety concerns related to foam strikes could be addressed.
By , NASA was con- fident that steps had been taken to make the launch of the shuttle safe and once again restarted the launch program. In July of , Discovery was launched. During this launch, another foam strike occurred.
This time, NASA was prepared and had planned for means to photographically assess the potential damage to the heat shield, and also planned to allow astronauts to make a space walk to assess the dam- age to the tiles and to make repairs as necessary.
The damage from this strike was Chapter 1 Introduction 15 repaired in space and the shuttle returned to earth safely. Despite the success of the in-orbit repairs, NASA again grounded the shuttle fleet until a redesign of the foam could be implemented. The redesign called for removal of foam from areas where foam detachment could have the greatest impact on tiles.
The shuttle resumed flight with a successful launch in September of and no further major accidents through early It is important for engineering students to study ethics so that they will be prepared to respond appropriately to ethical chal- lenges during their careers.
Often, the correct answer to an ethical problem will not be obvious and will require some analysis using ethical theories. The types of prob- lems that we will encounter in studying engineering ethics are very similar to the design problems that engineers work on every day. As in design, there will not be a single correct answer. Rather, engineering ethics problems will have multiple cor- rect solutions, with some solutions being better than others.
Joseph R. Patricia H. David E. Have you found this difference to be significant in your experience? Discuss this question with a friend and compare your answers. How is ethical problem solving like this? What role did informed consent play in this case? Do you think that the astronauts had enough information to give informed consent to launch the shuttle that day? Should she? What does this statement mean?
What are the ramifications for engineers if this is true? Should civilians be allowed on what is basically an experimental launch vehicle? At the time, many felt that the placement of a teacher on the shuttle was for purely political purposes.
President Reagan was thought by many to be doing nothing while the American educational system decayed. What are the ethical implications if this scenario is true? Keep in mind that it is probably impossible to test for all possible operating conditions.
When the data are inconclusive, which way should the decision go? Boisjoly accused Thiokol and NASA of intention- ally downplaying the problems with the O-rings while looking for other causes of the accident. If true, what are the ethical implications of this type of investigation? Given the political climate at the time of the launch, if problems and delays continued, ultimately Thiokol might have lost NASA contracts, or NASA budgets might have been severely reduced.
How might these considera- tions ethically be factored into the decision? Chapter 1 Introduction 17 1. How about test pilots of new airplane designs? What should Thiokol management have done differently? This sort of strike had occurred often in previous flights. What role do you think complacency of NASA engineers and managers played in this story? What are some reasons why NASA would not have planned this when the shuttle was designed? The more com- plex a system, the harder it is to make safe especially in a harsh environment such as outer space.
Do you think that two accidents in flights is an accept- able level of risk for an experimental system such as the shuttle? These reports appeared not only in trade journals and magazines aimed at computer specialists, but also in The New York Times and other daily newspapers.
The stories reported that computers equipped with these chips were unable to correctly perform some relatively simple multiplication and division operations. At first, Intel, the manufacturer of the Pentium microprocessor, denied that there was a problem. It was also reported that Intel had been aware of the problem and already was working to fix it.
As a result of this publicity, many people who had purchased Pentium-based computers asked to have the defec- tive chip replaced. Until the public outcry had reached huge proportions, Intel refused to replace the chips.
Finally, when it was clear that this situation was a public- relations disaster for them, Intel agreed to replace the defective chips when custom- ers requested it. Did Intel do anything unethical? To answer this question, we will need to develop a framework for understanding ethical problems. One part of this frame- work will be the codes of ethics that have been established by professional engi- neering organizations.
These codes help guide engineers in the course of their Chapter 2 Professionalism and Codes of Ethics 19 professional duties and give them insight into ethical problems such as the one just described. The engineering codes of ethics hold that engineers should not make false claims or represent a product to be something that it is not. In some ways, the Pentium case might seem to simply be a public-relations problem. But, looking at the problem with a code of ethics will indicate that there is more to this situation than simple PR, especially since the chip did not operate in the way that Intel claimed it did.
In this chapter, the nature of professions will be examined with the goal of determining whether engineering is a profession. Two representative engineering codes of ethics will be looked at in detail. At the end of this chapter, the Pentium case is presented in more detail along with two other cases, and codes of ethics are applied to analyze what the engineers in these cases should have done. One of the hallmarks of modern professions are codes of ethics promulgated by various professional societies.
These codes serve to guide practitioners of the profession in making decisions about how to conduct them- selves and how to resolve ethical issues that might confront them. Are codes of eth- ics applicable to engineering? To answer this question, we must first consider what professions are and how they function, and decide if this definition applies to engi- neering. Then we will examine codes of ethics in general and look specifically at some of the codes of engineering professional societies.
In order to determine whether engineering is a profession, the nature of profes- sions must first be examined. Engineering is certainly a job—engineers are paid for their services—but the skills and responsi- bilities involved in engineering make it more than just a job. Engineering, then, is also an occupation.
In the second case, it is used to indicate some degree of skill acquired through many years of experience, with an implication that this practitioner will provide quality services. There are no amateur engineers who perform engineering work without being paid while they train to become professional, paid engineers. Likewise, the length of time one works at an engineering-related job, such as an engineering aide or engineering technician, does not confer professional status no matter how skilled a technician one might become.
What are the attributes of a profession? There have been many studies of this ques- tion, and some consensus as to the nature of professions has been achieved. Attributes of a profession include: Also, the work is not routine and is not capable of being mechanized.
Membership in the profession requires extensive formal education, not simply practical training or apprenticeship. The public allows special societies or organizations that are controlled by mem- bers of the profession to set standards for admission to the profession, to set standards of conduct for members, and to enforce these standards.
Significant public good results from the practice of the profession [Schinzinger and Martin, ]. Many occupations require judgment every day. A sec- retary must decide what work to tackle first.
An auto mechanic must decide if a part is sufficiently worn to require complete replacement, or if rebuilding will do. This is not the type of judgment implied in this definition. This confidentiality is essential for engendering a trusting relationship and is a hallmark of professions.
While many jobs might involve some discretion, this definition implies a high level of signifi- cance to the information that must be kept private by a professional.
The other definition of discretion involves the ability to make decisions autonomously. Many people are allowed to use their discretion in making choices while performing their jobs. However, the significance and potential impact of the decision marks the difference between a job and a profession. One thing not mentioned in the definition of a profession is the compensa- tion received by a professional for his services.
Although most professionals tend to be relatively well compensated, high pay is not a sufficient condition for professional status. Entertainers and athletes are among the most highly paid members of our society, and yet few would describe them as professionals in the sense described previously.
Although professional status often helps one to get better pay and better working conditions, these are more often determined by economic forces. An athlete who is paid for her appearances is referred to as a professional athlete. Clearly, being a paid athlete does involve sophisticated skills that most people do not possess, and these skills are Chapter 2 Professionalism and Codes of Ethics 21 not capable of mechanization. Athletics requires extensive training, not of a formal nature, but more of a prac- tical nature acquired through practice and coaching.
So, although they are highly trained and very well compensated, athletes are not professionals. Similarly, carpenters require special skills to perform their jobs, but many aspects of their work can be mechanized, and little judgment or discretion is required. Training in carpentry is not formal, but rather is practical by way of apprenticeships. No organizations or societies are required.
However, carpentry certainly does meet an aspect of the public good—providing shelter is fundamental to society—although perhaps not to the same extent as do professions such as med- icine. Although they may be highly paid or important jobs, they are not professions.
Medicine certainly fits the definition of a profession given previ- ously. Physicians have even been granted physician—patient privilege, the duty not to divulge information given in confidence by the patient to the physician.
Although medicine requires extensive practical training learned through an appren- ticeship called a residency, it also requires much formal training four years of undergraduate school, three to four years of medical school, and extensive hands- on practice in patient care.
Medicine has a special society, the American Medical Association AMA , to which a large fraction of practicing physicians belong and that participates in the regulation of medical schools, sets standards for practice of the profession, and promulgates a code of ethical behavior for its members.
Finally, healing the sick and helping to prevent disease clearly involve the public good. By the definition presented previously, medicine clearly qualifies as a profession. Similarly, law is a profession.
It involves sophisticated skills acquired through extensive formal training; has a professional society, the American Bar Association ABA ; and serves an important aspect of the public good. Although this last point is increasingly becoming a point of debate within American society!
The differ- ence between athletics and carpentry on one hand and law and medicine on the other is clear. The first two really cannot be considered professions, and the latter two most certainly are.
Certainly, engineering requires extensive and sophisticated skills. Otherwise, why spend four years in college just to get a The essence of engineering design is judgment: Discretion is required in engineering: Also, a primary concern of any engineer is the safety of the public that will use the products and devices he designs. There is always a trade-off between safety and other engineering issues in a design, requiring discretion on the part of the engineer to ensure that the design serves its purpose and fills its market niche safely.
The point about mechanization needs to be addressed a little more carefully with respect to engineering. Certainly, once a design has been performed, it can easily be replicated without the intervention of an engineer. However, each new situation that requires a new design or a modification of an existing design requires an engineer.
Industry commonly uses many computer-based tools for generating designs, such as computer-aided design CAD software. CAD is simply a tool used by engineers, not a replacement for the skills of an actual engineer. Engineering requires extensive formal training. The work of engineers serves the public good by providing communication systems, transporta- tion, energy resources, and medical diagnostic and treatment equipment, to name only a few.
Before passing final judgment on the professional status of engineering, the nature of engineering societies requires a little consideration. These societies serve to set professional standards and frequently work with schools of engineering to set standards for admission, curricula, and accreditation.
Unlike law and medicine, each spe- cialty of engineering has its own society. There is no overall engineering society that most engineers identify with, although the National Society of Professional Engineers NSPE tries to function in this way. In addition, relatively few practicing engineers belong to their professional societies.
It is clear that engineering meets all of the definitions of a profession. In addi- tion, it is clear that engineering practice has much in common with medicine and law. Interestingly, although they are professionals, engineers do not yet hold the same status within society that physicians and lawyers do. Lawyers are typically self-employed in private practice, essentially an independent business, or in larger group practices with Chapter 2 Professionalism and Codes of Ethics 23 other lawyers.
Relatively few are employed by large organizations such as corpora- tions. Until recently, this was also the case for most physicians, although with the accelerating trend toward managed care and HMOs in the past decade, many more physicians work for large corporations rather than in private practice. However, even physicians who are employed by large HMOs are members of organizations in which they retain much of the decision-making power—often, the head of an HMO is a physician—and make up a substantial fraction of the total number of employees.
In contrast, engineers generally practice their profession very differently from physicians and lawyers. Most engineers are not self-employed, but more often are a small part of larger companies involving many different occupations, including accountants, marketing specialists, and extensive numbers of less skilled manufac- turing employees.
The exception to this rule is civil engineers, who generally prac- tice as independent consultants either on their own or in engineering firms similar in many ways to law firms. When employed by large corporations, engineers are rarely in significant managerial positions, except with regard to managing other engineers.
Although engineers are paid well compared to the rest of society, they are generally less well compensated than physicians and lawyers. Training for engineers is different than for physicians and lawyers. As mentioned previously, the engi- neering societies are not as powerful as the AMA and the ABA, perhaps because of the number of different professional engineering societies. Also, both law and med- icine require licenses granted by the state in order to practice.
Many engineers, especially those employed by large industrial companies, do not have engineering licenses. It can be debated whether someone who is unlicensed is truly an engineer or whether he is practicing engineering illegally, but the reality is that many of those who are trained as engineers and are employed as engineers are not licensed.
Despite these differences, on balance, engineering is still clearly a profession, albeit one that is not as mature as medicine and law. However, the engineering profession should be striving to emulate some of the aspects of these other professions.
Sociologists who study the nature of professional societies describe two different models of professions, sometimes referred to as the social-contract and the business models. The social-contract model views professional societies as being set up primarily to further the public good, as described in the definition of a profession given previously. There is an implicit social contract involved with professions, according to this model.
Society grants to the professions perks such as high pay, a high status in society, and the ability to self-regulate. In return for these perks, society gets the services provided by the profession. A perhaps more cynical view of professions is provided by the business model. According to this model, professions function as a means for furthering the economic advantage of the members.
Put another way, professional organizations An analysis of both models in terms of law and medicine would show that there are ways in which these professions exhibit aspects of both of these models.
Where does engineering fit into this picture? Engineering is certainly a service- oriented profession and thus fits into the social-contract model quite nicely. The engineering societies have virtually no clout with major engineering employers to set wages and working conditions or to help engineers resolve ethical disputes with their employers.
Moreover, there is very little prospect that the engineering societies will function this way in the near future. One major change would be in the way engineers are educated. How would such engineers be employed? The pattern of employment would certainly be different for engineers trained this way.
Engineers in all fields might work for engineering firms similar to the way in which civil engineers work now, consulting on projects for government agencies or large corporations. Those rele- gated to the ranks of engineering technicians would probably earn less than those currently employed as engineers.
These codes express the rights, duties, and obligations of the members of the profession. In this section, we will examine the codes of ethics of professional engineering societies. It should be noted that although most of the discussion thus far has focused on professionalism and professional societies, codes of ethics are not limited to profes- sional organizations.
They can also be found, for example, in corporations and uni- versities as well. We start with some general ideas about what codes of ethics are and what purpose they serve and then examine two professional engineering codes in more detail.
Chapter 2 Professionalism and Codes of Ethics 25 2. Primarily, a code of ethics provides a framework for ethical judgment for a profes- sional.
Rather, codes serve as a starting point for ethical decision making. It is important to note that ethical codes do not establish new ethical principles.
They simply reiterate principles and standards that are already accepted as responsible engineering practice. A code expresses these principles in a coher- ent, comprehensive, and accessible manner. Finally, a code defines the roles and responsibilities of professionals [Harris, Pritchard, and Rabins, ].
It is important also to look at what a code of ethics is not. A code of ethics is never a substitute for sound judgment. A code of ethics is not a legal document. As mentioned in the previous section, with the current state of engineering socie- ties, expulsion from an engineering society generally will not result in an inability to practice engineering, so there are not necessarily any direct consequences of violat- ing engineering ethical codes.
As described in the previous chapter, these principles are well established in society, and foundations of our ethical and moral principles go back many centuries. Rather, a code of ethics spells out the ways in which moral and ethical principles apply to professional practice.
Put another way, a code helps the engineer to apply moral principles to the unique situations encountered in profes- sional practice. How does a code of ethics achieve these goals? First, a code of ethics helps create an environment within a profession where ethical behavior is the norm. It also serves as a guide or reminder of how to act in specific situations. The code provides a little backup for an individual who is being pressured by a superior to behave unethically.
Finally, a code of ethics can indicate to others that the profession is seriously concerned about responsible, professional conduct [Harris, Pritchard, and Rabins, ]. Finally, codes can be coercive: They foster ethical behavior with a Despite these objections, codes are in widespread use today and are generally thought to serve a useful function.
Early in the 20th century, these codes were mostly concerned with issues of how to conduct business.
For example, many early codes had clauses forbidding advertising of services or prohibiting competitive bidding by engineers for design projects. Codes also spelled out the duties that engineers had toward their employers. Relatively less emphasis than today was given to issues of ser- vice to the public and safety. This imbalance has changed greatly in recent dec- ades as public perceptions and concerns about the safety of engineered products and devices have changed.
Now, most codes emphasize commitments to safety, public health, and even environmental protection as the most important duties of the engineer. Although these codes have some common content, the structures of the codes are very different. An explanation of these differences is rooted in the philosophy of the authors of these codes. A short code that is lacking in detail is more likely to be read by members of the society than is a longer code.
A short code is also more understandable. It articulates general principles and truly functions as a framework for ethical decision making, as described previously.
A longer code, such as the NSPE code, has the advantage of being more explicit and is thus able to cover more ground. It leaves less to the imagination of the indi- vidual and therefore is more useful for application to specific cases.
The length of the code, however, makes it less likely to be read and thoroughly understood by most engineers. There are some specifics of these two codes that are worth noting here. Download Preface. This material is protected under all copyright laws, as they currently exist.
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You have successfully signed out and will be required to sign back in should you need to download more resources. Engineering Ethics, 4th Edition. Charles B. Fleddermann, University of New Mexico. Overview Features Contents Order Overview. Description For use in undergraduate engineering programs incorporating ethics topics. Preface Preface is available for download in PDF format. The content available in this online book-building system covers topics in engineering problem-solving and design, graphics, and computer applications.
Using this program, you can create a unique text for your introduction to engineering course that exactly matches your content requirements and teaching approach.
New to This Edition. Codes of Ethics of professional engineering societies from outside the U.
The issues brought up by competitive bidding by engineers are discussed. Case studies have been updated. Several new case studies including ones on the IW bridge collapse in Minneapolis, issues related to the recall of Toyota passenger cars, and the earthquake damage in Haiti have been added.