Introduction Ethics keeps engineers safe and society safe from engineers, Ethics is the law of morality, engineers must take into account whether something is morally correct before they do it. Ethics requires engineers to go beyond the law, which means that even if something is not against the law, if it’s morally wrong engineers are not to perform or partake in such activities.
This prevent engineering’s form exploiting the grey areas of the law and further restraining them because it’s take more time and money away from their clients. Should the client be held responsible for immorally? This would indeed solve the problem of losing job opportunities because of ethics, but clients are not required to take such responsibility for any violation caused by a product or structure that unfortunately results in something unethical the engineer is the one who shelters the blame. The specific ethical dilemma that will be analyze in this paper is the issue of ethical requirements set by the engineering code of ethics creating undue hardship for engineers. As an engineer, it is required that you operate reliably with safety and minimal negative impact to the people and environment around you. The quality of your work can affect human lives and have significant environmental consequences, therefore engineers must be aware of the dangers and shortcomings of the things that they create, even when local codes and standards do not explicitly meet that requirement. The goal of ethics is to encourage professionals in their respective fields of work to have morally acceptable behaviors, not to forcefully require them to do so.
Ethics in engineeringIn today’s competitive world, one can not afford to think or behave ethically. If you’re not willing to do something, someone else will. Behaving ethically does not guarantee whether you will be able to continue to have a job. Engineers all work for a client whether the client is a government agency or an average person, they hold the engineer to high expectations. Most clients do not know or care for professional code of ethics, you are expected to complete the project within the budget and within the agreed upon time. Many of these conditions are set at the beginning of projects, long before the client and professional team are aware of adverse conditions that might arise. Is it fair to the engineer when he or she takes into accounts ethical concerns that contradict their clients requirements than end up getting removed from the project because the client is not willing pay more or give more time to that engineer when he can simple replace the engineer with another engineer that is willing to overlook ethical concerns.
For example in a case study by the NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers), “a client hired an engineer to design a project,the engineer developed what he believed to be the best design for the project . The engineer met with the client and after discussing the plans and specifications; the client believed that the engineer’s design is too large and complex and decides on a simpler solution to the project. The engineer believed that a simpler solution could endanger the public.
The client then demands that the engineer hand over the drawings so that he can give the drawing to another engineer who will finish the project to his liking. The code at play in this case is”Engineers shall advise their clients or employers when they believe a project will not be successful. In this case, the engineer informing the client that a simpler design could endanger the public is one of the good aspects of ethics. In turn, this make structures and products created by engineers safer because they are required to prioritize safety in their work. The result of the engineer taking public safety in to into account which required of him by his code of ethics “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 was the client hiring another engineer to replace him. The client in this case does not care about the engineers consider that the project would endanger the public. the benefit of ethics The law cannot keep engineers from doing things that are morally wrong but are not against the law.
Some action are not considered a crime but the result of such actions like safety issue might as well have been a crime if it results in the injury of others. One benefit of ethics is that it makes up for the blind sidedness of the law. In some point ethics is more effective than the law. It cost less money because there’s no need to hire more officers to make sure the engineers do their job with with no incident or mal doing, intentional or not.
Ethics make engineer police themselves. Engineers are still required to follow the law like all citizens but ethics put more restrictions on top of the law. The benefit of ethics to our economy is less money on monitoring and keeping engineers in check. Furthermore, engineers make less mistakes by following the outline put forth by ethics. For example engineer are required by their code to notify their employer if they think that a project will not be successful in certain case such as in construction. If an engineer suspect that there are issue that could result in the building being potentially dangerous and fails to notify his employer then that building is hazatis and unsafe. Hazatis and unsafe building are prevented from being built by simply requiring engineer to notify the employer.”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”.”this code requires engineers to put safety,health,property and welfare of the public before their work.The advantages of ethics are trust, respect, responsibility, fairness caring and citizenship. Customer and clients learn to trust ethical engineering companies and corporations and remain loyal to them. Society benefits from engineers that follows a set of ethical values. In the case of ethics in engineering, ethics puts heavy restrictions on them in some case it’s more beneficial to engineer if he or she does not behave ethically. There are some personal reward to behaving ethically and consequences for not behaving ethically. For some engineer a job well perform to almost perfection is satisfactory but for other behaving ethically is to much of a hassle.
The hardships caused by ethics As an engineer one can not function without society and engineering is an inherent part of society. The practice of engineering does not exist outside the domain of societal interests, the work of engineers will inherently impact society. An engineer’s professional conduct toward his peers,employers, and the public is an important part of his or her professional life.
Ethics puts constant pressure on the profession life of an engineer,as an engineer one is expected to meet the client expectations while making sure that society agrees and is content with your actions,while competing for job opportunities against peers. Competition bring out the best in everybody but what’s best for one man could toxic for another. Your success directly correlated to how far you’re willing to go to be successful, how many risk can you take and still be able keep moving forward. Those who aren’t willing to take risk they will eventually get their opportunity taken by those who are. Ethics created a social jungle, where survival of the fittest is the unspoken law. Professional engineers are required to internalize their professional code of ethics and have a personal take in how it is applied in the fields, the issue is that engineers can behave ethically and get commended by the public for their ethical efforts. The main issue is that clients are concerned with how much time and money it will take. Engineer that behave will take more time to get something done because of the regulation they have to follow.
Engineering ethics is not a supported entity from engineering ,it is part of the essence of engineering as it pertains to the professional responsibilities that the engineer has with society. Clients do not have any responsibilities to society, he or or she simply seeks the best engineer for the job, that more often than not is not an engineer that behave ethically.Ethics concern itself with encouraging engineers to do what they know is right that’s morality, they’re to consider all sides of an ethical problem, its ethical values, act in accordance with their professional code. All these are significant amount of responsibility that significantly impact a project,these are just but they failed to take into account the employer.The employer has the biggest impact on how an engineer does his job. These responsibilities makes it make very difficult to complete a project within the clients expectations.
“In the study of ethic,it is critical to understand that the motive is as important as the act. If a person refrains from stealing only because she/he fears prison, she/he cannot really be viewed as ethical: Moral progress depends on our willingness to improve the consistency of our ethical judgment and behavior”. Can this be considered truth? There is an inherent sense of fear that come with behaving unethically if your actions are considered unethical and unacceptable by others, you could be criticized by your peers and employer. there are consequences for those with morally unacceptable behaviors.
Depending on the situation your career could be over and you could end up in jail, is that not cause to fear?International view Some might agree that France is one of the most beautiful countries in the world with its Crown Jewel being its capital city Paris. Part of make what makes France so beautiful are its building and structures like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Verside, Arc de Triomphe andthe Notre-Dame Cathedral these are just some of the incredible structures that can be found in France. One could agree that these are a testament to engineering achievement all over the world. This would be surprising to most but, the country has no code of ethics for engineers. To this avil it’s probably do to having no code of the ethics that they were able to build these amazing thing, so than ethics hinder creativity of an engineer.
It’s possible that engineer suppress their sense of creativity to meet those regulations.French engineers found other ways to deal with ethical problems in their profession rather than adopting a professional code of ethics. Some examples are: since the beginning of the 20th century, the catholic engineers have taken reflections on their social responsibilities. The Democratic Labor Confederation discuss and make proposals on technology assessment.These allow engineers in France to freely to perform their jobs,their system seems to successful.
Perhaps, the united states should take a look at their system and find a compromise to the issue of ethics. Engineering ethics research was first introduced in United States before germany their engining sense of ethics is on par with the united states. They developed a deep interest for environmental and public debates on the social impact of technology in the 1970s. Engineering discussed by philosophers and engineers in The Association of German Engineers is part of their technology cal assessment.the success of ethics in germany is most like due to their culture and size. They have strong sense of nationalism enabled citizen to work around issue that might present himself in the engineering field. Being small work as an advantage because there not a wide range of different ideals in their society.
Reflection From the information acquired from these sources it is evident that ethics is a crucial part of engineering,it keeps engineers it from falling to corruption. The law is not enough to keep engineers form exploiting was the they see opportunities and don’t care for the consequences that comes with those opportunities. Things like public safety and environment safety are crucial to the survival of human beings but not all human being can put the betterment of mankind before themselves. It stand to reason that ethical requirement are a hasal and some are hard to follow especially when other with no sense of morality see them as theirs to exploits.
Ethics is not perfect like most things, there are some undesirable ,but those undesirable are not so significant when one looks at the bigger picture which is humanity as a whole.It is understandable that the ethical requirements placed on engineers are too much responsibility. Some requirement should be lighten up on in order to come to a compromise giving engineer the the ability freely perform their jobs. Those responsibility such as safety and those that could have environmental consequences are just, but codes such as “Engineers shall at all times strive to serve the public interest” leaves too much of a broad interpretation. One interpretation being don’t do anything that could in some way be bad for the public and the other being to serve public interest, however public interest does not always benefits an engineer and could sometime hurt an engineer financially. Engineers are also people they have families to take care of ,it can be difficult to do something that is going to negatively impact themselves.Engineer in most cases work hard to get to where they are, then work even harder to meet the ethical standard of professional engineers.
Anyone expecting to become an engineer should know that it only gets harder the higher you’re able to go. Ethics in the field of engineering serves to created engineer with good moral characters, engineers are expected to make the ethically correct decision even when it contradicts their work. Engineers that behave ethically do their job effectively, taking factors such as safety into accounts while performing their job. This benefits society and the engineering community as a whole but, it also causes problem for engineer by making it much more difficult to perform their jobs to the highest ethical standards and satisfy their clients’ timelines and budgets. Making dreams a reality is something that most people say is impossible, but engineer’s primary goal is making what seems to be impossible to others possible. Being an engineer means to accept that the word impossible does not exist in your vocabulary.
All of the greatest, most beautiful structures ever created were thought to be impossible until somebody made it possible. Engineer should be mindful of the public and their environment because their actions can have consequences on the public and the environment but they should also be free to express himself through their work bringing dreams to really.