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Engineering Ethics Chapter 12

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1 Engineering Ethics Chapter 12
Technology & Society Engineering Ethics Chapter 12

2 General Ethics Ethics is concerned with standards, rules, or guidelines for morally or socially approved conduct Being honest, trustworthy Acting in the best interest of society

3 Ethical Standards Only apply to conduct which has some significant effect on people’s lives

4 Ethical vs. Legal Standards
Ethical Standards Exist independently of any particular group of experts Written form summarizes what those standards are rather than defining the nature of them Legal Standards Defined in legal documents by some appointed legal body Documents and legal experts decide what the law is and who should obey

5 Give Way to Ethical Standards
Personal conflicts with ethical standards Must suppress personal standards to resolve in favor of ethical standards Legal standards must give way to ethical standards in case of conflicts

6 Justice It is ethically wrong to treat people in unjust or unfair ways
All people should be treated equally

7 Ethics Discussion Quiz 1
A person’s behavior is always ethical when he or she: A. Does what is best for oneself B. Has good intentions no matter how things turn out C. Does what is best for everyone D. Does what is most profitable Which of the following ensures that behavior is ethical? A. Following the law B. Acting in the best interest of society C. Following non-legal standards for socially approved conduct More than one answer may be correct

8 Engineering Ethics Engineers Council for Professional Development states: “Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties.”

9 Other Engineering Ethics
Personal choices or values are irrelevant to engineering ethics Conflicts between personal standards and engineering ethical standards must be resolved in favor of supporting the relevant engineering ethical standards

10 More Engineering Ethics
Engineer’s duty is to uphold engineering ethics standards even if his/her job is at risk Good engineering ethics will be in close harmony with existing legal codes governing engineering Engineers have an ethical obligation to use good scientific methods at all times Engineering ethics codes include prohibitions on unethical behavior while off the job

11 Ethics Discussion Quiz 2 #1
Engineers should follow their professional ethic code because: A. Helps them avoid legal problems (getting sued) B. Provides a clear definition of what the public has a right to expect from responsible engineers C. It raises the image of the profession, hence, gets more engineers pay D. The public will trust engineers more once they know engineers have an ethics code

12 Ethics Discussion Quiz 2 #2
Engineers should act ethically because: A. If they do not, they risk getting demoted or fired B. The boss wants them too C. It feels good D. That is the way responsible engineers behave

13 Ethics Discussion Quiz 2 #3
The first and foremost obligation of registered professional engineers is to: A. The public welfare B. Their employer C. The government D. The engineering profession

14 Ethics Discussion Quiz 2 #4
Registered professional engineers should undertake services for clients only when: A. They really need the fees B. Their own bid is the lowest one C. They are fully technically competent to carry out the services D. Carrying out the services would not involve excessive time or effort

15 Risk Benefit Analysis Risk Helps assess the risks
The perceived extent of possible loss Helps assess the risks Risk = probability of event • cost of the event

16 NCEES Model Rules of Professional Conduct

17 The Preamble “Safeguard life, health, and property, to promote public welfare and to maintain a high standard of integrity and practice among engineers.”

18 Safeguard life, health, & property…
Causing harm to people is ethically wrong One should take measures that will safeguard or preserve people from future harm

19 …promote the public welfare
Duty or obligation to take active, professional steps that result in definite benefits and improved conditions for the general public

20 …maintain a high standard of integrity and practice
The code ensures engineers’ honesty & trustworthiness Maintains high standards of professional conduct and scientific expertise

21 Other Preamble Issues “Engineering registration is a privilege and not a right. This privilege demands that engineers responsibly represent themselves before the public in a truthful and objective manner” “Engineers must compete fairly with others and avoid all conflicts of interest while faithfully serving the legitimate needs and interests of their employers and clients.”

22 Engineer’s Obligation to Society

23 Obligation to Society “While performing services, the engineer’s foremost responsibility is to the public welfare” “Engineers shall approve only those designs that safeguard the life, health, welfare, and property of the public while conforming to accepted engineering standards” Engineers must keep wider, long-term issues in mind on every project

24 “Whistleblowing” “if an engineer’s professional judgment is overruled resulting in danger to the life, health, welfare, or property of the public, the engineer shall notify his/her employer or client and any appropriate authority”

25 Truth in Duties “Engineers shall be objective and truthful in professional reports, statements, or testimonies and shall provide all pertinent supporting information relating to such items” “Engineers shall not express a professional opinion publicly unless it is based upon knowledge of the facts and a competent evaluation of the subject matter” Person should tell the truth in the specific context of an engineer’s professional duties Should be biased in all reports

26 The Duty of Full Disclosure
“Engineers shall not express a professional opinion on subject matters for which they are motivated or paid, unless they explicitly identify the parties on whose behalf they are expressing the opinion and reveal the parties’ interest in the matters”

27 “Clean Hands” Rule “Engineers shall not enter business ventures or permit their names or their firm’s names to be used by any persons or firm which is engaging in dishonest, fraudulent, or illegal business practice”

28 Final Obligation to Society
“Engineers who have knowledge of a possible violation of any of the rules listed in this and the following two parts shall provide pertinent information and assist the state board in reaching a final determination of the possible violation”

29 Engineer’s Obligation to Employers and Clients

30 Professional Competence
“Engineers shall not undertake technical assignments for which they are not qualified” “Engineers shall approve or seal only those plans or designs that deal with subjects in which they are competent and which have been prepared under their direct control and supervision”

31 The Validity of Approvals
“Engineers may coordinate an entire project provided that each design component is signed or sealed by the engineer responsible for that design component”

32 Confidentiality Requirement
“Engineers shall not reveal professional information without the employer’s or client’s prior consent except as authorized or required by law” Revealing information to others = conflict of interest

33 Conflict of Interest “Engineers shall not solicit or accept direct or indirect considerations, financial or otherwise, from contractors, their agents, or other parties while performing work for employers or clients”

34 Full Disclosure “An engineer shall not accept financial or other compensation from more than one party for services rendered on one project unless the details are fully disclosed and agreed by all parties” “Engineers shall disclose to their employers or clients potential conflicts of interest or any other circumstances that could influence or appear to influence their professional judgment or their service quality” Keeps all parties informed to areas of conflict/undue external influences Maintains trust and confidence between all parties

35 Government Conflicts of Interest
“To avoid conflicts of interest, engineers shall not solicit or accept a professional contract from a governmental body on which a principal or officer of their firm serves as a member. An engineer who is a principal or employee of a private firm and who serves as a member of a governmental body shall not participate in decisions relating to the professional services solicited or provided by the firm to the governmental body”

36 Engineer’s Obligations to Other Engineers

37 Obligations to Potential Employers
“Engineers shall not misrepresent or permit misrepresentation of their or any of their associate’s academic or professional qualifications. They shall not misrepresent their level of responsibility or the complexity of prior assignments. Pertinent facts relating to employers, employees, associates, joint ventures, or past accomplishments shall not be misrepresented when soliciting employment or business” Objectivity and truthfulness in all professional reports, statements and opinions Explicitly states requirements which some might be tempted to ignore or overlook

38 More Conflicts of Interest
“Engineers shall not directly or indirectly give, solicit, or receive any gift or commission, or other valuable consideration, in order to obtain work, and shall not make a contribution to any political body with intent of influencing the award of a contract by a governmental body” Contributions are not forbidden, only those with the wrong intent Ethically unacceptable to cause conflicts of interest in others as well as letting oneself to be enmeshed in improper conflicts of interest

39 Reputations of Other Engineers
“Engineers shall not attempt to injure, maliciously or falsely, directly or indirectly, the professional reputations, prospects, practice or employment of other engineers, nor indiscriminately criticize the work of other engineers” Criticize cautiously and objectively with respect to the person’s professional status

40 Ethics Discussion Quiz 3 #1
With respect to the Moral Rules of Professional Conduct for engineers: A. The rules are a bad thing because they encourage engineers to spy on and betray their colleagues B. The rules are a useful legal defense in court when engineers can demonstrate that they obeyed the rules C. The rules enhance the image of the profession and hence its economic benefits to its members D. The rules are important in providing a summary of what the public has a right to expect from responsible engineers

41 Ethics Discussion Quiz 3 #2
The Model Rules of Professional Conduct require registers engineers to conform to all but one of the following rules. Which rule is not required? A. Do not charge excessive fees B. Do not compete unfairly with others C. Perform services only in the areas of their competence D. Avoid conflicts of interest

42 Ethics Discussion Quiz 3 #3
You are a quality control engineer of a completely produced U.S. made product. You notice one subcontractor used foreign-made bolts. The customer urgently needs this product. What should you do? A. Say nothing and deliver hoping no one notices B. Find, or invent, some equivalent violation of contract where the customer is responsible. Tell them you will ignore the violation if they ignore your violation C. Tell the customer and let them decide D. Put all efforts into trying to find a legal loophole in the original specs.

43 Ethics Discussion 3 #4 You are the engineer on a building project that is behind schedule. Boss wants you to certify a questionable roofing install. What should you do? A. Certify it & negotiate a raise from boss B. Refuse to certify it C. Tell the clients about it and you will certify it if they want you to D. Certify it, but keep a close watch on the project in case any problems develop

44 Engineering Ethics and Legal Issues

45 Contract Law Mutual agreement between two or more parties to engage in a transaction which provides benefits to each of them Mutual consent Offer and acceptance Consideration

46 Other Contract Stuff Legally enforceable agreement requires a definite promise by each party to do something specific Some benefit received that each did not have before Does not have to be in writing to be valid

47 Breach of Contract An actual violation of the terms in the contract must occur Items not supplied, supplied but of substandard quality, or not supplied until long after a deadline Party required to provide an equivalent value previously offered Inability to fulfill contract is under ethical and legal imperative to do everything possible to provide equivalent value to other party

48 The Letter vs. Spirit of the Law
“Read between the lines” in terms of the intent of those documents as understood by those who formulated them

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