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Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action www.bsieducation.org/standardsinaction Governance and Ethics (within decision making)

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Presentation on theme: "Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action www.bsieducation.org/standardsinaction Governance and Ethics (within decision making)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Author: Dr John McManus

2 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Objectives of material How should Managers behave? Who should Managers be responsible to? Governance and Governance and ethics, (the business dimensions for concern) Code of Governance and ethics The rise of the green agenda and ethical business Environment complexity

3 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Ethical Issues Faced by Managers Bribery Conflicts of interest Environmental protection Fairness Fraud Honesty in research and testing Public safety

4 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Definitions of Governance and Ethics Governance and ethics is the study of the characteristics of morals –The moral choices that are made by each person in their relationship to others Engineering Governance and ethics is the rules and standards governing the conduct of engineers in their role as professionals

5 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action A Definition of Ethics A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. Albert Einstein ( )

6 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Governance and Ethics Provides Framework for Decision Making The concepts are not aimed at making the decision maker a good person or a bad person Ethical problems are complex –The choice between right and wrong is often complex and overshadowed –Analytical tools need to be applied to break the question down to its core elements The correct decision is often obvious at the rudimentary level

7 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Governance and Ethics Across the World General philosophy behind Governance and ethics is non-religious –Human societal experience –[Not for Greeks: see Ulysses] Location or tradition independent –What is considered to be unethical in one location will be considered unethical in another –Ethical behavior doesn’t change just because of local circumstance

8 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Similar to other Management Disciplines No unique correct solution –Range of answers with some better than others Apply a large body of knowledge to the problem Involve the use of analytical skills

9 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Moral Theory Utilitarianism –Produce the most overall utility Duty Governance and ethics –Duties should be performed regardless of outcome Rights Governance and ethics –Moral rights can not be violated Virtue Governance and ethics –Good character traits (virtues) vs. bad character traits (vices)

10 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Utilitarianism Risk-benefit analysis and cost-benefit analysis –Ultimately tied together Can seem to ignore the needs of the individual –The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one - Spock from The Wrath of Khan Outcome prediction is key to application Act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism –Act utilitarianism: only outcome counts –Rule utilitarianism: must stay within boundary of law even if outcome is limited [Because of unintended consequences]

11 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Duty and Rights Governance and Ethics Good Consequences for Society as a whole are not the only moral consideration Duty Governance and ethics  Ethical actions can be written as a list of duties Be honest, don’t cause suffering, be fair, etc. Rights Governance and ethics  People have fundamental rights Life, liberty, and the pursuit of property (happiness) [interesting change]

12 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Duty and Rights Governance and Ethics (cont.) Opposite sides of the same coin –Duty Governance and ethics: people have certain duties one of which is to protect the rights of others –Right Governance and ethics: people have fundamental rights that others have a duty to protect Problems –Conflicts between one’s rights and another’s –Doesn’t account for the overall good of society very well

13 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Virtue Governance and Ethics Fundamentally interested in determining what kind of people we should be Virtue is often defined as moral distinction and goodness –Actions are deemed right if they support good character traits Personal morality should not be separated from business morality –Virtuous behaviors should extend from personal life into his or her business life

14 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Personal vs. Corporate Morality A company cannot be a moral agent –Legal authority is diminished As a pseudo moral agent they should however be held to the same standard as individuals –A corporation cannot do whatever it pleases –Must respect right of others –Demonstrate same virtues that we expect of individuals

15 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Which Theory to Use? Many times the different theories lead to the same conclusion (THE GREEN ISSUE) –A chemical plant releasing toxins into watershed Utilitarianism vs. Rights Some cases lead to conflicting conclusions –Duties and rights Governance and ethics conclusion weighted more heavily One life lost effect Rationalization of 55 mph vs. 65 mph speed limits [Right to smoke, drink and take drugs vs societal effects]

16 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Analysis of Issues in Ethical Problems Factual –What is actually known about a case May be unclear and controversial Conceptual –Meaning or application of an idea What constitutes a bribe vs. a gift? Moral –Usually obvious when factual and conceptual issue resolved If the gift was a bribe, then it clearly was unethical

17 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Overcoming Controversy Reaching Some Acceptable Agreement through Compromise –Factual Factual issues can often be resolved with research to determine the truth –Conceptual Agreement on the meaning of terms and concepts –Not always possible - best level playing field –Moral Agreement on which moral principles are pertinent and how they should be applied

18 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Ethical Problem-Solving Methods Six Steps to a Responsible Decision –Adapted from the University of Michigan Engineering Governance and ethics Web Page

19 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Six Steps to a Responsible Decision 1. Goals –Summarize the goals of your project in one or two sentences, ideally around words. 2. Players (stakeholders) –List all the players who are affected by or have an interest in your project –Rank each one as a major/average/minor player provide a brief explanation (one or two sentences) of how each player is affected or their interest in your project

20 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Six Steps (cont.) 3. Facts and Standards –Collect information on the engineering facts as well as the engineering safety and regulatory standards that have bearing on the decisions you will be making on this project 4. Ethical Dilemmas –Before you begin and as you continue to work on your project, draw up a comprehensive list of ethical dilemmas you will confront

21 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Six Steps (cont.) 5. Solutions –Explain how and why you propose to resolve the ethical dilemmas identified in Step Four 6. Double-check –Review your most controversial decisions from the perspective of players who's interests your were not able to satisfy, an appropriate engineering society ethical code, and the reaction of friends, family, and project advisor

22 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Professional Codes of Governance and Ethics Professional society charters typically include a code of Governance and ethics –Provides a framework for ethical judgment –Some codes are enforceable Medicine and Law –Codes of engineering societies Generally unenforceable May help bolster an individual’s position when confronting an ethical issue imposed by a superior Few engineers aware of the codes

23 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action National Society of Professional Engineers Code of Governance and ethics and pledge “As a Professional Engineer, I dedicate my professional knowledge and skill to the advancement and betterment of human welfare. I pledge: To give the utmost of performance; To participate in none but honest enterprise; To live and work according to the laws of man and the highest standards of professional conduct; To place service before profit, the honor and standing of the profession before personal advantage, and the public welfare above all other considerations. In humility and with need for Divine Guidance, I make this pledge.” Adopted by National Society of Professional Engineers, June 1954

24 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action The Role of Codes in Law Can a professional society and its code help you? –Support of professional society gives credence to ethical cases in court –Validates the engineer’s concerns but may not keep the engineer’s job

25 Governance and Ethics (within decision making) Standards in Action Some Study Questions The basis for choosing a particular way for implementing a decision is not governed merely by considerations of conventional logic or rationality. Decisions are also likely to involve considerations of justice and fairness as perceived by various stakeholders and by considerations of personal Governance and ethics or morality as perceived by different persons. Making decisions is by and large what project managers do. How well (or effectively) they make such decisions will be based on the criteria of behavioural history, situational beliefs, personnel and ethical values, social and occupational norms, personality, and environmental constraints. If we wish to encourage ethical risk taking, we must be prepared to accept and recognise that people will fail from time-to-time. Having absolute success without experiencing failure is almost impossible in business.


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