The Ethical Engineer

The Ethical Engineer: An "Ethics Construction Kit" Places Engineering in a New Light

Eugene Schlossberger
Copyright Date: 1993
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    The Ethical Engineer
    Book Description:

    On occasion, professionals need to use moral reasoning as well as engineering skills to function effectively in their occupation. Eugene Schlossberger has created a practical guide to ethical decision-making for engineers, students, and workers in business and industry.

    The Ethical Engineersets out the tools and materials essential to dealing with whistle-blowing, environmental and safety concerns, bidding, confidentiality, conflict of interest, sales ethics, advertising, employer-employee relations, when to fight a battle, and when to break the rules.

    The author offers recommendations and techniques as well as rules, principles, and values that can guide the reader. Lively examples, engaging anecdotes, witty comments, and well-reasoned analysis prove his conviction that "ethics is good business."

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0649-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
  3. PART ONE: Introduction
    • 1 The Nature of Engineering Ethics
      (pp. 3-22)

      This book is a practical guide to ethical decision making for practicing engineers and others in technologically oriented business and industry. It will help you to make ethical decisions yourself and to understand the reasons behind company policies, legal rules, and professional codes. It is also meant to change the way you think and feel about engineering, so that you can be a better and happier engineer. And it just may cause you to take a new look at the ethical dimensions of life generally.

      Unlike many ethics books, this one is geared to finding answers. I have attempted to...

    • 2 Ethical Decision Making
      (pp. 23-38)

      So far, we have considered why ethics is important for engineers and discussed how to resolve one particular case. It is time to talk more generally about how to make ethical decisions.

      Case 1 from the previous chapter reveals much about the nature of engineering ethics. Ethics is about how to live, about what makes for a good person and for a good life. Ethical thinking is deciding what really matters in life. So every choice you make is an ethical decision. For example, if you choose not to take a promotion in a distant city in order to remain...

  4. PART TWO: Sources of Ethical Decision Making
    • 3 Values of the Engineering Profession
      (pp. 41-84)

      Moral thinking consists of using reason-guided judgment to make particular decisions by drawing upon moral sources, factors, and guiding ideas. Part 2 provides you with many of the tools you will need to make ethical decisions and illustrates these tools with cases and examples. Part 2 also deals with some of the important issues in engineering ethics, such as product safety, and prepares you to think about the further issues, such as whistleblowing, that are discussed in Part 3.

      One important source engineers may draw upon in making ethical decisions is the set of values central to engineering as a...

    • 4 Additional Ethical Sources
      (pp. 85-146)

      Some ethical decisions are difficult and gut-wrenching. Others slip by unnoticed; an engineer may not realize, until it is too late, that something she has done is unethical. To make difficult decisions and avoid overlooking ethical problems, you need a large set of rules, principles, values, and guiding ideas. The more you have, the better decisions you will make. You are less likely to overlook an ethical problem if you ask yourself, before taking any important step, “Does this violate the duty to leave the world no worse? Does it treat others fairly and well? Does it respect rights? Does...

  5. PART THREE: Problems and Issues in Engineering
    • 5 Honesty and Professionalism
      (pp. 149-174)

      Honesty and professionalism sometimes require that engineers make tough decisions. No one wants to blow the whistle on her own company, inform customers of the defects of the product she is trying to sell, tum down a promotion (when the job is beyond her competence), or censure her friends and colleagues. Good people are sometimes tempted to avoid taxes or red tape by taking a “shortcut”; modifying the records slightly often saves much work and money. Should one “give in” and “cook the books”? The material in this chapter will help you to make these decisions.

      Although many companies and...

    • 6 Good Faith
      (pp. 175-191)

      The following set of issues deal with acting in good faith, both in fact and appearance. Engineers often find themselves in situations where others must rely upon their integrity. In bidding, keeping information confidential, respecting patents and copyrights, and potential conflict of interest situations, the engineer is expected to refrain from compromising the trust placed in her; her personal motivations must take second place to the integrity of the process.

      Conflicts of interest are situations in which other interests place a strain upon the loyalty of an engineer to do the very best he can for his company (or, in...

    • 7 Employee-Employer Relations
      (pp. 192-220)

      Engineers rarely work alone; engineering operations generally require a team of engineers, support personnel, and business expertise (management, accounting, and sales). Thus, virtually all engineers are employed or employ others, and virtually all engineers have superiors or subordinates. As an engineer, you must make employment decisions. This chapter will help you make those decisions fairly and ethically.

      Bruce F. Gordon and Ian C. Ross identify three kinds of work relationships. In an artisan-master relationship, the employee does what the employer wants. In a professional status relationship, the employee gives the employer what the employer ought to have. Finally, in a...

    • 8 Special Issues in Consulting Engineering
      (pp. 221-228)

      Consulting engineers face special ethical problems. An engineer who works for Boeing or Exxon does not have to compete for clients or advertise his services. Most of the time, his company has control over most aspects of the project on which he is working, and so he must answer primarily to one employer. Consulting engineers, however, usually collaborate with other firms, companies, or agencies. For a particular project, the X corporation may employ firm Y, which in tum subcontracts work to Z consultants, which employs mechanical engineer Jones. Jones must address the needs of X, Y, and Z, whose interests...

  7. Notes
    (pp. 251-278)
  8. List of Cases
    (pp. 279-280)
  9. Index
    (pp. 281-284)