Chapter Seventeen

Ethical Considerations

Chapter Outline

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Case Study: Political Contributions
  • Ethics and Engineering
  • Codes of Ethics
  • Ethical Decision-Making Framework
  • Case Study
  • Corruption
  • Outro

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  1. Define engineering ethics.
  2. Apply the ASCE code of ethics to ethical decisions.
  3. Compare and contrast ethical situations that students face to situations faced by practicing engineers.
  4. Summarize, from memory, the seven Fundamental Canons of the ASCE Code of Ethics.
  5. Define corruption and list various types of corruption.
  6. Describe the negative effects that corruption has on society.


The study of engineering ethics is the study of “moral values, issues, and decisions involved in engineering practice” (Martin and Schinzinger, 2004). In even more simple terms, engineering ethics is knowing what you ought to do, and doing it.

Engineers are among the most respected and trusted members of society. This claim is based upon numerous public opinion polls that rate engineers as much more trusted than many other professions. This trust and respect has been earned over many years, thanks not only to the profession's contributions to increased quality of life, but also to the ethical behavior of the vast majority of practicing engineers.


For many of the ethical choices with which you are faced, ...

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