An Ethics Foundation
As we practice engineering, our decisions are generally guided by the
project management variables of cost, schedule, and quality. If you change
one of these variables, the ones remaining will also be changed. But our
decisions are also guided by our moral values; that is, our concern and respect
for others.The framework of our ethical decisions is based on ethical theories
we have learned and ethical behavior we have observed during our lives.
It is advocated in Chapter 1 that engineers use this framework, as well as
three professional responsibilities, to guide their professional behavior. These
three responsibilities—concern for public safety, technical competence, and
timely communication of positive and negative results to management—are
grounded in respecting others and keeping them safe.
During their careers, many engineers will become involved in unethical
situations they cannot control. In Chapter 1, possible ethical dilemmas that
may occur are discussed. It is up to each engineer to determine his or her
personal engineering ethics threshold for action; that is, which ethical
dilemmas may occur at a workplace before the engineer is forced to an
extreme action of leaving the company or fighting for change. In Chapter 2,
we discuss how to perform these extreme actions.
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