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Ethics in Engineering - Research Paper Example

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From the discussion in the paper "Ethics in Engineering" it may be concluded that ethics for engineers can be a complicated matter, professionals have a duty to speak out clearly when directly confronted by unethical behavior. It must be a guiding principle…
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Ethics in Engineering
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Download file to see previous pages This is particularly true when it comes to fellow professionals or protecting the reputation of our particular field. While “whistleblowers” are praised for their courage and integrity, the personal cost of “doing the right thing” can mean death to a career. Such behavior can also seriously affect the career of fellow professionals.
A good example of the problems involved in balancing one's duty to fellow professionals and doing the right thing when one sees something wrong is clearly laid out by Michael Davis in Thinking Like an Engineer: Studies in the Ethics of a Profession. Davis outlines events leading up to the now infamous Challenger disaster brought on by certain engineering decisions regarding the questionable safety of ORings (4 Codes and Ethics of the Challenger, p 43-44). In reading the account the “blame” seems to fall upon one man, Robert Lund, vice president of engineering at Morton Thiokol, the manufacturer of faulty ORings which were blamed for the tragedy. A team of engineers had recommended the flight be scraped, but Lund, with pressure from various people at the Space Center, was persuaded to allow the project to go forward. Space Center officials were “appalled at the evidence on which the no-launch recommendation was based.” (p44).
Lund was in a professional bind. Should he take the advice of fellow engineers at Thiokol, or go with the recommendation of officials at the Space Center most of them engineers, to go forward. There was a lot of money at stake for Thiokol, and Lund knew it. The reputations of engineers were also at stake. He had to choose between duty to fellow professionals and pressure from outsiders to “think like a manager.” (p44) He chose the latter to disastrous results.
It is easy as a professional to judge Lund’s decision in hindsight.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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