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Ethics in Engineering Concepts and Cases The Ohio State University Dr. Gary Kinzel, Dr. Blaine Lilly, Dr. Tony Luscher Jim Piper and Rachel Murdell.

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Presentation on theme: "Ethics in Engineering Concepts and Cases The Ohio State University Dr. Gary Kinzel, Dr. Blaine Lilly, Dr. Tony Luscher Jim Piper and Rachel Murdell."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Ethics in Engineering Concepts and Cases The Ohio State University Dr. Gary Kinzel, Dr. Blaine Lilly, Dr. Tony Luscher Jim Piper and Rachel Murdell

3 Introduction What do we mean by Ethics? –“a body of moral principles” –Standards, rules and guidelines –Socially approved conduct –Distinguished from matters of legality –A set of rules and behaviors

4 Professional Ethics Who Decides? –Standards adopted by Professional Community –NSPE, ASME, ASCE, etc. –May conflict with personal ethics Case studies used to set examples, standards

5 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.

6 NSPE Fundamental Canons, continued 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.

7 Social Contract Service –Promoting well being of general public –Ensuring competence of professionals Self-Regulation –Create and enforce high standards –Autonomy You are the professional

8 Responsible Engineering What we do matters a great deal –Accidents are costly –Public health at stake –Environmental impact Minimal legal standards –Acknowledgement of fault –Above and beyond call of duty

9 Introduction to Moral Thinking Experience – education, work, relationships Personal and Common Morality – religion, family Ethical Sensitivities Questions Problems Analysis

10 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? Golden Rule –“do unto others…” Rights –Freedom, well-being, moral, legal, laws –Just because it is legal, is it right?

11 Honesty, Truth, Reliability Accurate and complete technical knowledge –Unreliable judgment worse than none at all Lying Deliberate deception Failure to seek truth

12 Problem Solving in Engineering Ethics State the Problem Get the Facts Defend Viewpoints Formulate Opinion Qualify Recommendation

13 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.

14 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 than underlie conflicting moral viewpoints.

15 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

16 Formulate an Opinion As engineers we do not have the luxury of postponing questions or leaving a question unresolved Decide which of the compelling viewpoints is the most compelling The committee approach (voting) is advantageous because the decision is representative of the general public

17 Qualify the Opinions or Recommendation 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

18 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.

19 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.

20 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?

21 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.

22 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.”

23 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.”

24 NSPE Case No Credit for Engineering Work NSPE Conclusion – “It was unethical for Engineer A to fail to give credit to Engineer B for his part in the design.”

25 NSPE Case No An Engineer’s Right to Protest Introduction - Kim works as an engineer for a defense contractor reviewing the work of subcontractors. Kim discovers that certain subcontractors have made submissions with excessive cost, time delays or substandard work Kim advises management to reject these jobs and require subcontractors to correct the problem

26 NSPE Case No An Engineer’s Right to Protest Introduction, continued - After an extended disagreement about the subcontractor’s work, management places a warning in Kim’s file and places Kim on probation, warning of future termination

27 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?

28 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."

29 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.”

30 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.”

31 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.”

32 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 A announcing a one-day complimentary educational seminar to educate engineers on current technological advances in the selection and use of pipe in construction.

33 NSPE Case No Complimentary Seminar Registration Introduction, continued ABC will host all refreshments, buffet luncheon during the seminar, and a cocktail reception immediately following. Engineer A agrees to attend.

34 NSPE Case No Complimentary Seminar Registration Question - Was it ethical for Engineer A to attend the one-day complimentary educational seminar hosted by the ABC Pipe Company?

35 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."

36 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.”

37 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 A to participate in those activities. We note, however, that had Engineer A agreed to accept items of substantial value (e.g., travel expenses, multi-day program, resort location, etc.) our conclusion would have been quite different.”

38 NSPE Case No Complimentary Seminar Registration NSPE Conclusion “It was ethical for Engineer A to attend the one-day complimentary educational seminar hosted by the ABC Pipe Company.”

39 Engineering Disaster The Ford Pinto Case “not to weigh an ounce over 2000 pounds and not to cost a cent over $2000.” –Lee Iacocca Crash tests reveal defect in gas tank Rear-end collisions over 25 mph resulted in rupture and explosion

40 Ford Pinto Design Methodology Cost-Benefit Analysis of Dangerous Design –According to Ford, the unsafe design would cause: 180 Burn Deaths 180 Serious burn injuries 2100 Burned vehicles per year –Ford assumed it would have to pay $200,000 per death $67,000 per injury $700 per vehicle

41 Ford Pinto Design Cost Analysis Cost-Benefit Analysis of Dangerous Design –An alteration would cost $11.00 per car. Cost to make safe cars $12.5 million cars x $11 = $137 million Benefits 180 Deaths, 180 Injured, 2100 Burned Cars = $ 49.5 million

42 Ford Pays Lawsuits and personal injury cases total over $450 million even as Ford continues to argue the car was safe if driven correctly Over 500 documented deaths related to rear-end collisions in Pintos Company nearly folds after lawsuits and lack of trust in Ford products

43 Pinto Debate Who is to blame for Ford’s design? –Chairman, Engineer, Designer Was the decision making unethical? Is cost-benefit analysis a reliable ethics technique?


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