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Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #1GATEWAY Ethics in Engineering Concepts and Cases.

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Presentation on theme: "Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #1GATEWAY Ethics in Engineering Concepts and Cases."— Presentation transcript:

1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #1GATEWAY Ethics in Engineering Concepts and Cases

2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #2GATEWAY Introduction What do we mean by Ethics?  “a body of moral principles”  A set of rules and behaviors  Standards, rules and guidelines  Socially approved conduct  Respect for people and rights  Distinguished from matters of legality

3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #3GATEWAY Professional Ethics  Who decides  Standards adopted by professional community and established companies  NSPE, ASME, ASCE, etc  May conflict with personal ethics  Case studies used to set examples, standards

4 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #4GATEWAY NSPE Fundamental Canons Engineers, in fulfillment of their professional duties, shall: 1.Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public. 2.Perform services only in areas of their competence. 3.Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.

5 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #5GATEWAY NSPE Fundamental Canons, cont’d Engineers, in fulfillment of their professional duties, shall: 4.Act for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees. 5.Avoid deceptive acts. 6.Conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully so as to enhance the honor, reputation, and usefulness of the profession.

6 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #6GATEWAY Social Contract Service  Promoting well being of general public  Ensuring competence of professionals Self-regulation  Create and enforce high standards  Autonomy

7 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #7GATEWAY Responsible Engineering What we do matters a great deal  Public health at stake  Environmental impact  Accidents are costly Minimal legal standards  Acknowledgement of fault  Above and beyond call of duty justice Public health responsible care Ethics

8 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #8GATEWAY Introduction to Moral Thinking  Reflect expectation of public and professionals  Experience – education, work, relationships  Personal and Common Morality – religion, family

9 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #9GATEWAY Tests in Moral Problem Solving  Prudence -Is it justified because it is in our own best interest?  Cost / Benefit  Is the most economic decision the most moral?  Rights  Just because it is legal, is it right?  Freedom, well-being, moral, legal, laws  Golden Rule  “do unto others as you would have done to you” Good Right Legal Illegal Wrong Bad Ref: Murdough Center for engineering Professionalism

10 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #10GATEWAY Honesty, Truth, Reliability  Accurate and complete technical knowledge  Unreliable judgment worse than none at all  Deliberate deception  Lying  Failure to seek truth

11 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #11GATEWAY Problem Solving in Engineering Ethics State the Problem Get the Facts Defend Viewpoints Formulate Opinion Qualify Recommendation Ref: What Every Engineer Should Know About Ethics, by Kenneth K. Humphreys

12 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #12GATEWAY State the Problem  Clearly define exact nature of ethical problem or dilemma.  Need to be clear so that we can anticipate the kind of solution that is required.  Want to provide an answer that is relevant to the interests at stake.

13 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #13GATEWAY Get the Facts  Want to make an informed decision.  Must possess and understand the relevant facts.  Must make clear any interpretations of factual matters or the values that underlie conflicting moral viewpoints.

14 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #14GATEWAY Identify & Defend Competing Moral Viewpoints  Critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of competing moral viewpoints  Begin by identifying what we believe to be the most compelling reason for the course of action  We must be able to justify the course of action

15 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #15GATEWAY Formulate an Opinion  As engineers we do not have the luxury of postponing questions or leaving a question unresolved  Decide which of the plausible viewpoints is the most compelling  The committee approach (voting) is advantageous because the decision is representative of the general public

16 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #16GATEWAY Qualify the Opinions or Recommendations  Committees must qualify the recommendations they make by describing the level of consensus that was received  Should include the voting distribution and any dissenting opinions

17 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #17GATEWAY Case Studies  Engineering ethics is often times best explained through the use of case studies.  Case studies allow examples of good and bad decision making in a real world context. *** These case studies have been selected from among the various rulings of the NSPE Board of Ethical Review. Ref:

18 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #18GATEWAY NSPE Case No Credit for Engineering Work Introduction  Engineer A is designing a bridge as part of an elevated highway system.  Engineer B is asked to help with the design and helps design critical elements of the bridge.  Engineer A enters the bridge design into a national competition and wins, but fails to credit Engineer B for her part in the design. Ref:

19 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #19GATEWAY NSPE Case No Credit for Engineering Work Question Was it ethical for Engineer A to fail to give credit to Engineer B for her part in the design?

20 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #20GATEWAY NSPE Case No Credit for Engineering Work NSPE Code of Ethics References  Section 1.3.:Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner. Section 11.3.a.:Engineers shall be objective and truthful in professional reports, statements or testimony. They shall include all relevant and pertinent information in such reports, statements or testimony.  Section :Engineers shall avoid all conduct or practice which is likely to discredit the profession or deceive the public.  Section a.:Engineers shall not accept financial or other considerations, including free engineering designs, from material or equipment suppliers for specifying their product.  Section IlI. l 0.a.:Engineers shall, whenever possible, name the person or persons who may be individually responsible for designs, inventions, writings, or other accomplishments.

21 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #21GATEWAY NSPE Case No Credit for Engineering Work NSPE Discussion “Basic to engineering ethics is the responsibility to issue statements in an objective and truthful manner (Section 1.3.) The concept of providing credit for engineering work to those to whom credit is due is fundamental to that responsibility. This is particularly the case where an engineer retains the services of other individuals because the engineer may not possess the education, experience and expertise to perform the required services for a client.”

22 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #22GATEWAY NSPE Case No Credit for Engineering Work NSPE Discussion, continued “While each individual case must be understood based upon the particular facts involved, we believe that Engineer A had an ethical obligation to his client, to Engineer B, as well as to the public to take reasonable steps to identify all parties responsible for the design of the bridge.”

23 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #23GATEWAY NSPE Case No Credit for Engineering Work NSPE Conclusion “It was unethical for Engineer A to fail to give credit to Engineer B for her part in the design.”

24 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #24GATEWAY NSPE Case No An Engineer’s Right to Protest Introduction  Engineer A works as an engineer for a defense contractor reviewing the work of subcontractors.  Engineer A discovers that certain subcontractors have made submissions with excessive cost, time delays or substandard work. Ref:

25 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #25GATEWAY NSPE Case No An Engineer’s Right to Protest Introduction, continued  Engineer A advises management to reject these jobs and require subcontractors to correct the problem.  After an extended disagreement about the subcontractor’s work, management places a warning in Engineer A’s file and places him on probation, warning of future termination.

26 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #26GATEWAY NSPE Case No An Engineer’s Right to Protest Question Does Engineer A have an ethical obligation, or an ethical right, to continue his efforts to secure change in the policy of his employer under these circumstances, or to report his concerns to proper authority?

27 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #27GATEWAY NSPE Case No An Engineer’s Right to Protest NSPE Code of Ethics References  Code of Ethics- Section II.1.a.: "Engineers shall at all times recognize that their primary obligation is to protect the safety, health, property, and welfare of the public. If their professional judgment is overruled under circumstances where the safety, health, property, or welfare of the public are endangered, they shall notify their employer or client and such other authority as may be appropriate."  Code of Ethics- Section III.2.b.: "Engineers shall not complete, sign, or seal plans and/or specifications that are not of a design safe to the public health and welfare and in conformity with accepted engineering standards. If the client or employer insists on such unprofessional conduct, they shall notify the proper authorities and withdraw from further service on the project."

28 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #28GATEWAY NSPE Case No An Engineer’s Right to Protest NSPE Discussion “Here the issue does not allege a danger to public health or safety, but is premised upon a claim of unsatisfactory plans and the unjustified expenditure of public funds.” “As we recognized in earlier cases, if an engineer feels strongly that an employer's course of conduct is improper when related to public concerns, and if the engineer feels compelled to blow the whistle to expose the facts as he sees them, he may well have to pay the price of loss of employment.”

29 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #29GATEWAY NSPE Case No An Engineer’s Right to Protest NSPE Discussion, continued “We feel that the ethical duty or right of the engineer becomes a matter of personal conscience, but we are not willing to make a blanket statement that there is an ethical duty in these kinds of situations for the engineer to continue his campaign within the company, and make the issue one for public discussion. The Code only requires that the engineer withdraw from a project and report to proper authorities when the circumstances involve endangerment of the public health, safety, and welfare.”

30 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #30GATEWAY NSPE Case No An Engineer’s Right to Protest NSPE Conclusion “Engineer A does not have an ethical obligation to continue his effort to secure a change in the policy of his employer under these circumstances, or to report his concerns to proper authority, but has an ethical right to do so as a matter of personal conscience.”

31 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #31GATEWAY NSPE Case No Complimentary Seminar Registration Introduction  The ABC Pipe Company is interested in becoming known within the engineering community and, in particular, to those engineers involved in the specification of pipe in construction.  ABC sends an invitation to Engineer X announcing a one-day complimentary educational seminar to educate engineers on current technological advances in the selection and use of pipe in construction. Ref:

32 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #32GATEWAY NSPE Case No Complimentary Seminar Registration Introduction, continued  ABC will host all refreshments, a buffet luncheon during the seminar, and a cocktail reception immediately following. Engineer X agrees to attend.

33 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #33GATEWAY NSPE Case No Complimentary Seminar Registration Question Was it ethical for Engineer X to attend the one-day complimentary educational seminar hosted by the ABC Pipe Company?

34 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #34GATEWAY NSPE Case No Complimentary Seminar Registration NSPE Code of Ethics References  Code of Ethics- Section II.4.c.:"Engineers shall not solicit or accept financial or other valuable consideration, directly or indirectly, from contractors, their agents, or other parties in connection with work for employers or clients for which they are responsible."  Section III.5.b.:"Engineers shall not accept commissions or allowances, directly or indirectly, from contractors or other parties dealing with clients or employers of the Engineer in connection with work for which the Engineer is responsible."  Section III.11.a.:"Engineers shall encourage engineering employees' efforts to improve their education."

35 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #35GATEWAY NSPE Case No Complimentary Seminar Registration NSPE Discussion “The Code unequivocally states that engineers must not accept gifts or other valuable consideration from a supplier in exchange for specifying its products. (See Sections II.4.c.; III.5.b.) However, in this case we are dealing with a material supplier who is introducing information about pipe products to engineers in the community and has chosen the form of an educational seminar as its vehicle.”

36 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #36GATEWAY NSPE Case No Complimentary Seminar Registration NSPE Discussion “We view the buffet luncheon and cocktail reception immediately following the seminar as falling within the minimal provisions noted in previous cases, and thus it would not be improper for Engineer X to participate in those activities. We note, however, that had Engineer X agreed to accept items of substantial value (e.g., travel expenses, multi-day program, resort location, etc.) our conclusion would have been quite different.”

37 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #37GATEWAY NSPE Case No Complimentary Seminar Registration NSPE Conclusion “It was ethical for Engineer X to attend the one-day complimentary educational seminar hosted by the ABC Pipe Company.”

38 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #38GATEWAY Engineering Disaster The Ford Pinto Case  Crash tests reveal defect in gas tank rear-end collisions over 25 mph resulted in rupture and explosion  Cost benefit analysis estimation Cost to pay for injuries 180 Deaths, 180 Injured, 2100 Burned Cars = $ 49.5 million Cost to make safe cars $12.5 million cars x $11/car = $137 million

39 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #39GATEWAY Ford Pays  Over 500 documented deaths related to rear-end collisions in the Pintos  Lawsuits and personal injury cases totaled over $450 million even as Ford continues to argue the car was safe if driven correctly  Company nearly folded after the lawsuits and low sales due to lack of trust in Ford products

40 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #40GATEWAY Challenger Explosion  O-ring Sealing problems  Engineers argued against launch at low temperature  Management over-ruled the engineers warnings  Shuttle exploded minutes into the flight  7 Lives lost

41 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #41GATEWAY Ethical Questions  Were the decisions made unethical?  Who is to blame for these disasters?  What were the ethical obligations for management? For the engineers?

42 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #42GATEWAY Ethical Summary Professional ethics for engineers Set of rules and guidelines for professional behavior for engineer. For personal, moral, social, professional and environmental well-being of individuals and the communities that we serve. Do the right thing!!!

43 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #43GATEWAY Credits  This module is intended as a supplement to design classes in mechanical engineering. It was developed at The Ohio State University under the NSF sponsored Gateway Coalition (grant EEC ). Contributing members include:  Gary Kinzel……………………………………..Project supervisors  Jim Piper and Rachel Murdell ……………….. Primary authors  Phuong Pham and Matt Detrick ……….…….. Module revisions  L. Pham …………………………………….….. Audio voice References: Murdough Center for Engineering Professionalism, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and reference the 1995 NSPE Code of Ethics What Every Engineer Should Know About Ethics, by Kenneth K. Humphreys

44 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Sl. #44GATEWAY Disclaimer This information is provided “as is” for general educational purposes; it can change over time and should be interpreted with regards to this particular circumstance. While much effort is made to provide complete information, Ohio State University and Gateway do not guarantee the accuracy and reliability of any information contained or displayed in the presentation. We disclaim any warranty, expressed or implied, including the warranties of fitness for a particular purpose. We do not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, reliability, timeliness or usefulness of any information, or processes disclosed. Nor will Ohio State University or Gateway be held liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information described and/or contain herein and assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacture, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement.


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