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Professional ethics-it0401 vii semester

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1 Professional ethics-it0401 vii semester
C.M.T.KARTHIGEYAN AND C.A.S.Deiva Preetha Assistant Professor SRM University, Kattankulathur School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

2 Disclaimer The contents of the slides are solely for the purpose of teaching students at SRM University. All copyrights and Trademarks of organizations/persons apply even if not specified explicitly. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

3 Unit – iv responsibilities and rights
School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

4 contents Collegiality Loyalty Respect for Authority
Collective Bargaining Confidentiality Conflicts of Interest Occupational Crime Professional Rights Employee Rights IPR Discrimination School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

5 Collegiality Collegiality
is the tendency to support and cooperate with colleagues. is a virtue essential for the team work to be effective. consists of various aspects such as respect to ideas and work of others, commitment to moral principles, connectedness. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

6 Loyalty is exhibited in two senses, namely ‘Agency Loyalty’ and ‘Identification Loyalty’. Agency Loyalty is an obligation to fulfill his/her contractual duties to the employer. These duties are specified in terms of the particular tasks for which one is paid and in general cooperating with others in organization. For engineers, the paramount obligation is still “ the safety, health and welfare of the public”. Identification Loyalty Is concerned with attitudes, emotions and a sense of personal identity. Is a more virtue than an obligation School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

7 Relationship between professional responsibility and loyalty
Acting on professional commitments to the public can be more effective way to serve a company than a mere willingness to follow company orders. Loyalty to companies should not be equated with merely obeying one’s immediate supervisor. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

8 Authority Decisions can be taken by a few people, but putting into action requires larger participation from different groups of people such as operation, purchase etc. In effectively and efficiently transferring decisions to actions, the authority comes into play a great role. Clear lines of authority provide a means for identifying areas of personal responsibility and accountability. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

9 Institutional authority
is the authority exercised within the organization. is the right given to the employees to exercise power, to complete the task and force them to achieve their goals. Duties such as resource allocation, recommendation , issue orders on subordinates vested to institutional authority. E.g. Project Managers have the institutional duty to make sure that the products/projects are completed successfully. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

10 Expert authority is the possession of special knowledge, skills and competence to perform a job thoroughly. is the advice on jobs. These experts direct others in effective manner. E.g. adviser, experts and consultants are engaged in an organization for a specific term. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

11 Authority vs. power Institutional authority must also be distinguished from power. Institutional authority typically carries with it an allotment of the sources needed to complete tasks. Ineffectual persons may not be able to summon the power their position allows them to exercise. E.g. A manager who lacks the skills of leadership may be unable to inspire and encourage employees to produce in ways the institution requires. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

12 Accepting authority A subordinate is said to accept authority whenever he permits his behavior to be guided by the decision of a superior, without independently examining the merits of that decision. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

13 Paramount obligations
Paramount means “chief in importance or deserving primary emphasis”. Engineer’s paramount obligation is to protect the public health, safety and welfare rather than the obligations of loyalty and faithful service to employers. In a technical philosophical sense, whenever the obligations to employers and the public come into a conflict, the obligation to the public always takes precedence. Obligation to the public should override the obligation to the employer in cases where something of extreme importance is at stake for the public: generally where lives are threatened School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

14 Paramount obligations
Engineers must weigh their obligations to the public, their employers, their colleagues and others when conflicts between such obligations arise. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

15 Collective bargaining
is the bargain by the trade union for improving the economic interests of the worker members. The process includes negotiation, threatening verbally and declaration of ‘strike’. It is impossible to endorse fully the collective bargaining of unions or to condemn. There exist always conflicting views between the professionalism and unionism. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

16 Faithful agent argument
Professional societies such as NSPE and IEI refuse to accept the ‘ collective coercive action’ of unionism, holding the principles of professional integrity as right. The actions of unions are usually against the interests of the employers and they use coercion and force against the employers. These actions are interpreted as unprofessional and disloyal. The safety of the workers had been ignored for a long period or employees were under paid for years. Can we still hold the action as unethical? School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

17 faithful agent argument
It can be concluded from this discussion that The duty of the employee to one’s employer doesn’t mean sacrifice of monetary self- interests. Faithful agent means executing the assigned tasks and safeguarding the property. It does not nullify the right to negotiate for safe and hygienic working conditions, and economic benefits collectively. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

18 Public service argument
The service to the public is of foremost importance. Unions promote the interests of a few members only. The public welfare should not suffer because of their actions. E.g. Imagine a situation when all teachers, medical practitioners and ambulance drivers go on strike. The collective bargaining cannot be judged as unethical, unless we study the cases individually and decide School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

19 Public service argument
The collective bargaining is acceptable , but the means should be constructive, persuasive, firm based on mutual understanding. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

20 Union critics Unions are main source of inflation.
Unions encourage adversarial, rather than cooperative, decision making. They also remove person-to-person negotiations between employers and employees and make the individual worker a pawn of the collective bargaining. Unions encourage unrest and strained relations between workers and management. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

21 Union supporters Unions have been the primary factor in creating healthy salaries and the high standard of living enjoyed by today’s workers. They give employees a greater sense of participation in company decision making. Unions are a healthy balance to the power of employers to fire at will. Unions yield stability by providing an effective grievance procedure for employee complaints. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

22 confidentiality Keeping confidences is one of the most central and widely acknowledged duties of any professional. E.g. Doctors and counselors must keep information on their patients confidential. Teachers must keep at least personal information about their students confidential. Confidential information is information deemed desirable to keep secret. Confidential information is any information that the employer or client would like to have kept secret in order to compete effectively against business rivals. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

23 confidential information-related terms
On the basis of possession, the confidential information are divided into two types as follows: Privileged Information is a synonym for “confidential information”. It means “available only on the basis of special privilege” such as the privilege accorded an employee working on a special assignment. It covers information that has not yet become public or widely known within an organization. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

24 Proprietary information
is information that a company owns or is the proprietor of. This term is used primarily in a legal sense, just as “property” and “ownership” are ideas carefully defined by law. “Trade Secrets” is a rough synonym for “Proprietary Information”. It is protected legally by the organization from use by others, including the employees. A limited legal protection is available for this proprietary information by common law. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

25 Patents vs. trade secrets
Patents differ from trade secrets. Patents legally protect specific products from being manufactured and sold by the competitors without the express permission of patent holder. Trade secrets have no such protection. A corporation may learn about a competitor’s trade secrets thro’ legal means. E.g. Reverse Engineering U.S patents can be held for seventeen years where as trade secrets have no restrictions. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

26 Justification and limits
Upon what moral basis does the confidentiality obligation rest, with its wide scope and obvious importance? The obligation of confidentiality can be justified at two levels: The first level is to appeal to three ordinary moral considerations: respect for autonomy, respect for promises, regard for public well- being. The second level is to appeal directly to the major ethical theories. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

27 Justification and limits
Rights ethicists justify employees’ confidentiality obligation by appealing to basic human rights. No employer has a right to safeguard proprietary information by preventing the engineers from blowing the whistle in cases where public knowledge of such information would save human lives and thereby protect the rights of people to live. Duty ethicists will emphasize the basic duties of both employers and employees to maintain the trust placed in them at the time committed themselves to an employment agreement. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

28 Justification and limits
Rule-utilitarians will view rules governing confidentiality as justified to the extent that such rules produce the most good for the greatest number of people. Act-utilitarians will focus on each instance where an employer decides on what is count as confidential information. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

29 Changing jobs The obligation to protect confidential information doesn’t stop when employees change jobs. Former employees would quickly disclose confidential information to their new employers or perhaps for a price, sell it to competitors of their former employers. The relationship between employer and employee in regard to confidentiality continues beyond the formal period of employment. Many engineers value professional advancement more than long-term ties with any one company and so change jobs frequently. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

30 Management policies One approach is to use employment contracts that place special restrictions on future employment like restriction on geographical location, type of jobs that one can perform with future employer. An incentive instead of threatening their rights by the employment contract. A lump sum post-employment payment over a specific period may be offered as incentive to restrict him/her. Another approach by the management is to effect tighter controls on internal information flow on trade secrets and other vital features. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

31 Conflicts of interest A conflict of interest occurs when the employee has more than one interest. A professional conflict of interest is the situation where the professional has an interest that, if pursued, might prevent him/her from meeting his/her obligations to employers or clients. Conflicts of interest threaten good judgment in faithfully serving an employer or client. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

32 Conflicts of interest “conflicting interests” is different from “conflict of interest”. E.g. A student may have interests in excelling on four final exams. She knows, however, that there is time to study adequately for only three of them and so she must choose which interest not to pursue. “Conflicting interests” means a person has two or more desires that cannot all be satisfied given the circumstances. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

33 Gifts and bribes A bribe is a substantial amount of money or goods offered beyond a stated business contract with the aim of winning an advantage in gaining or keeping the contract. Gifts are not bribes as long as they are small gratuities offered in the normal conduct of the business. Prearranged payments made by contractors to companies in exchange for contracts actually granted are called “kickbacks”. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

34 Bribes and gifts Bribes are illegal or immoral because they are substantial enough to threaten fairness in competitive situations, while gratuities are of smaller amounts. According to ABET, “Engineers shall not solicit nor accept gratuities directly or indirectly from contractors, their agents, or other parties dealing with their clients or employers in connection with work for which they are responsible”. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

35 How does bribe differ from gift?
Tests Bribe Gift Timing Given before Given after Cost of item Large amount Small amount, articles of daily use Quality of Product Poor Good/High Transparency Made in secret Made in open Motive Expect undue favor Thanking for favor Consequence on organizations’ good will Damaging the goodwill and reputation No damage is involved. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

36 Interests in other companies
Some conflicts of interest consist in having an interest in a competitor’s or sub- contractor’s business. E.g. working for the competitor or subcontractor as an employee or consultant. Moon lighting is a situation when a person is working as employee for two different companies in spare time. It will lead to conflict of interest. It leaves the person exhausted and harms the job performance in both places. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

37 Insider information An especially sensitive conflict of interest consists in using “inside” information to gain an advantage or set up a business opportunity for oneself, one’s family or one’s friends. The information might concern one’s own company or another company with which one does business. E.g. engineers might tell their friends about their corporation’s plans for a merger that will greatly improve the worth of another company's stock. In doing so, they give those friends an edge on an investment promising high returns. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

38 Occupational crime Occupational crimes are illegal acts made possible thro’ one’s lawful employment. It is the secretive violation of laws regulating work activities. When committed by office workers or professionals, occupational crime is called “white-collar crime”. Employee theft is a type of occupational crime when it is associated with an employee’s assigned tasks. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

39 Industrial espionage It means simply spying for personal or company benefits. E.g. Espionage is very common in company manufacturing computer chips, Ics and microprocessors. Espionage is more prevalent in computer chips manufacturing company due to the following factors: The development of chips is extremely competitive and on fast track. Profit and loss can be made quicker The crime detection and law enforcement are difficult and ineffective. The components involved are small. Hence pilferage or removal or gadgets could be done easily. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

40 Price fixing Fixing the bidding rate by companies, in collusion with other companies, especially for the contract/services, is called price fixing. E.g., This is an occupational crime generally in electrical equipment industries where there used to be a few contractors but large number of contracts. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

41 Endangering lives Employers who expose their employees to safety hazards usually escape criminal penalties. Victims have the right to sue, but only to claim some monetary compensation. Even after 26 years since Bhopal gas tragedy, appropriate compensation has not been paid. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

42 Boot legging Manufacturing, selling or transporting products that are prohibited by law is called “bootlegging”. In engineering context, it refers to working on projects which are prohibited or not properly authorized. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

43 Rights of engineers Engineers have several types of moral rights, which fall into the some times overlapping categories of human, employee, contractual and professional rights. As human beings, engineers have fundamental rights to live and freely pursue their legitimate interests/ As employees, engineers have special rights, including institutional rights that arise from specific agreements in the employment contract. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

44 Rights of engineers Engineers as professionals have special rights that arise from their professional role and the obligations it involves. E.g. Right to refuse to carry out illegal and unethical activity, the right to protect clients and public from the dangers. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

45 Aspects of professional right
Right of Professional Conscience The moral right to exercise responsible professional judgment in pursuing professional responsibilities. Pursuing those responsibilities involves exercising both technical judgment and moral convictions. Institutional Recognition of Rights Having a moral right is one thing . Having it respected by others and given recognition within a corporation quite another. When engineers appeal to the basic right of professional conscience they may be arguing for its institutional recognition by employers. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

46 Aspects of professional right
Specific rights Obligation to the public might in special situations require whistle-blowing, and hence engineers have a limited right to whistle-blow. The whistle-blowing right becomes more precisely specified by listing conditions under which whistle- blowing is permissible. Right of conscientious refusal is the right to refuse to engage in unethical behavior, and to refuse to do so solely because one views it as unethical. is a kind of second-order right. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

47 Aspects of professional right
Right to Recognition Engineers have a right to professional recognition for their work and accomplishments. Part of this involves fair monetary remuneration and part nonmonetary forms of recognition. Right to recognition is not sufficiently precise to pinpoint just what a reasonable salary is or what a fair remuneration for patent discoveries is. Such detailed matters must be worked out cooperatively between employers and employees. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

48 Whistle-blowing is alerting relevant persons to some moral or legal corruption. Features of whistle-blowing Act of disclosure Information is intentionally conveyed outside approved organizational channels. Topic The information concerns what the person believes is a significant problem for the organization. Agent The person disclosing the information is an employee or former employee. Recipient The information is conveyed to a person or organization in a position to act on problems. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

49 Types of whistle-blowing
Based on the destination, whistle blowing is classified into: Internal The information is conveyed to a person within the organization, but beyond the approved channels. External This happens when the information is transmitted outside the organization. Based on the source, it is classified into: Open Anonymous Partly anonymous School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

50 When to justify whistle-blowing
When the potential harm existing is identified as serious or anticipated to occur with a high probability in the near future. The concerns have been reported earlier to the immediate superiors and no satisfactory response was forthcoming from them, within a reasonable time. There is a reasonable hope that the whistle blowing can prevent the damage existing or anticipated. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

51 Whistle-blowing Instructions to be followed before blowing the whistle: One should familiarize with the rules for appealing with in an organization. Consult the trusted colleagues for advice and to avoid isolation. Use polite and tactful language. Keep the supervisors informed of our actions, thro’ informal discussion. Keep our observations and claims precise and accurate. Prepare formal record of events in support of our victims. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

52 Employee rights are any rights , moral or legal, that involve the status of being an employee. They include some professional rights that apply to the employer-employee relationship. Employee rights include fundamental human rights relevant to the employment situation. e.g. the right not to be discriminated against one’s race, sex, age or national origin. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

53 Right to privacy is the right to control the access to and use of information about oneself. is limited in certain situations by employers’ rights. Only duly authorized persons can get the personal information. A supervisor might suspect a worker and conduct a search in his cupboard when the worker is absent. But the supervisor is to have another officer as witness in such cases. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

54 Right to choose outside activities
means right to have a private life outside the job. There are some situations when this right can be curbed: When those activities lead to violation. When moonlighting. When the interest of the employer is getting damaged. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

55 Right to due process from employer
is the right to fair process or procedures in firing, demotion and in taking any disciplinary actions against employees. Written explanation should be initially obtained from the charged employee and the orders are given in writing with clearly stated reasons. Fairness here is specified in terms of the process rather than the outcomes. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

56 Intellectual property rights
It is the information and original expression that derives its original value from creative ideas and is with a commercial value. IP permits people to have fully independent ownership for their innovations and creativity. This encourages the IP owners towards innovation and benefit to the society. The agreements with WTO and Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property System(TRIPS) have been adopted effective from January 2005. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

57 Need for protection of ip
IP prevents others using it. It prevents using it for financial gain. It provides a strategy to generate steady income. It prevents plagiarism. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

58 Types and norms Patents
is a contract between the individual and the society. Patents protect legally the specific product from sold by others without the permission of patent holder. Types of patents are Utility patent Industrial Design Patent School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

59 copyright The copyright is specific and exclusive right, describing rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works. This protects literary material, aesthetic material, music, paintings etc. Copy right gives protection to particular expression and not for the idea. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

60 trademark Trademark is a wide identity of specific good and services, permitting differences to be made among different trades. It is a territorial right which needs registration. Registration is valid initially for 10 years and renewable. It may be registered in form of a heading, label, a ticket, a word, logos. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

61 Trade secret Trade secret is the information which is kept confidential as a secret. This information is not accessed by other than the owner and this gives a commercial advantage over the competitors. Trade secrets are not registered but only kept confidential. Trade secrets may be formulae or methods or test results or data collected, analyzed and synthesized. This information should not be disclosed or used by any other person. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

62 discrimination is morally unjustified treatment of people on arbitrary or irrelevant grounds. Because of caste, sex, religion and language are regressive actions. Is to condemn it. Reverse preferential treatment is giving an advantage to a member of a group that in the past was denied equal treatment, in particular, women and minorities. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

63 Discrimination-examples
A senior manager post is vacant. There is competent ad proven candidate from outside the state. A local engineer with lesser competence is proved. Prize amounts for the winners in the world sport are not the same for men and women. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

64 Preferential treatment
Hiring a woman or a member of minority over an equally qualified while male is only one form of preferential treatment. Let us call it the weak form. The strong form by contrast consists in giving preference to women or minorities over better-qualified white males. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

65 Pro- and –against reverse preferential treatment
In favor of reverse preferential treatment Against reverse preferential treatment Compensatory justice: violations of rights in the past must be compensated. Usually this treatment is extended to all the group rather than individuals Compensation may be given only to specific individuals and not for all Racial and sexual violation and violence still exist today. To counter balance this, the reverse preferential treatment is necessary to ensure equal opportunity to minorities and women. It violates the rights to equal opportunity for majority, to compete on merits. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

66 Sexual harassment is a particularly offensive form sex discrimination, involving as it doesn’t only the abuse of gender roles and work-related power relationships , but the abuse of sexual intimacy itself. Is currently applied to a wide variety of sexually oriented acts and practices that may involve physical and psychological attacks, abuse of authority, force and a variety of unwanted provocations. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

67 Sexual harassment may come in many forms: E.g. Sexual Threats
Sexual offer Sexual assaults Sexual annoyance E.g. Following an interview for a job as secretary, a woman is told that the job is hers if she is willing to grant sexual favors to the interviewer. A woman is told by her superior that she will have first priority for receiving a promotion if she is “nice” to him. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

68 bibliography Text Book Reference Books
Mike Martin and Roland Schinzinger, Ethics in Engineering, Mcgraw Hill, New York, 1996. Reference Books M.Govindarajan, S.Natarajan, V.S.SenthilKumar, Engineering Ethics, PHI, 2004. Charles D.Fleddermann, Engineering Ethics, Prentice Hall, New Mexico, 1999. R.S.Naagarazan, Professional Ethics and Human Values, New Age International Publishers, 2006. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011

69 Review questions What is collegiality? Name two senses of loyalty.
What is meant by proprietary information? How do ethical theories justify confidentiality? What is moonlighting? What is bootlegging? List a few non-contractual employee rights. Differentiate patent and trade secrets. What is meant by whistle blowing? List four aspects of whistle blowing. School of Computing, Department of IT 8/22/2011


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