1) You must use at least six of the ten articles (found on eCampus). You must consult with
the instructor should you wish to use articles/sources outside of these ten. 2) The paper must be in Times New Roman, 12 point, and must be at least 2000 words (not
including cover page, bibliography and/or notes).
3) The paper must be properly cited using a recognized citation system. The student must
state what citation system is used on the cover page. Citation must be used for all
sources. 4) See the rubric below for additional details.
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The code of ethics is needed in professional life when any occupation organizes itself into a particular profession. To put code into practice, it should be first written properly and then a formal adoption process should be followed. Code of ethics is important to be made because it is regarded as a convention between the professionals (Davis, 2001). Profession means a group of people cooperating with each other to serve a particular ideal in a better way than they could if they failed to cooperate. Engineering is a profession because engineers serve a particular ideal of building efficient design and of constructing and maintaining safe and useful objects. It is important for professionals to follow a common ideal and code of ethics would help the professionals to pursue their work on the basis of a common ideal (Davis, 2001). It will also help the professionals in performing their tasks at least cost and will save them from certain pressures and ensure that other members of the profession will not take undue advantage of the good conduct of any person. There is competition among the members of every profession, and if a code of ethics is put into practice, then it can save the members of that profession from some of the consequences of competition. This code solves the issue of coordination in the profession and among the members of people of the same profession in a particular company. So according to this argument, it can be ascertained that any occupation does not need the recognition of society to convert itself into a profession, only the cooperation among members is required to serve a particular ideal. For engineering profession, the code of ethics acts as a convention that is permissible morally, and it guides the people that what they (engineers) can expect of each other i.e. what are the rules of the game. Code of ethics also guides the engineering professionals that what all they can expect from other members for helping them to do a task. All the people in a profession should consider that they carry some responsibilities that may be beyond their profession. If any person does any wrong thing or interpreted any code in an incorrect manner, then the agents of morality cannot escape their conscience, criticism, blame or punishment by acting in a way that they did something because it was a requirement of their profession.
There can be various reasons of why an engineer should follow the professional code of ethics. One could be that the profession of the person is ‘requiring’ him to follow the ethics. This ‘requirement’ is prompted by the society (Lynch & Kline, 2000). Other could be that the engineer ‘promised’ the society of his professionals that he will obey the ethics. But this can’t be trusted fully as it may not be possible that the person does not do anything in his professional life which is against his formal code. Then when a person says that he did something because he was ‘required’ to do that cannot be enforced by law. The law does not bind an engineer to abide by their professional code of ethics. Talking about the fact that ‘society prompted the requirement’, it can be said that society can prompt things in ways other than by law like by taking a public opinion. Sometimes the society does not have much knowledge about the profession, and they fail to give their opinion so in this case the society simply says that engineers or professionals should do whatever their code of ethics requires them to do (Lynch & Kline, 2000).
There are a few principles that describe the terms and ideals of duties of an engineer .some of them are: engineers must hold the safety paramount and take care of the health and welfare of public, they should issue all the public statements in an objective and true manner, they must act in all professional matters for the employers and clients as faithful agents, they are also required to avoid the conflict of interests. If the engineer does not follow any of these principles and there is no professional code of ethics in place for them so the engineer could not be regarded as an engineer (Harris, 2004). Suppose he does something that may benefit his employer or his client but puts other people at risk is not an ethical thing. Still he may be forced to do that by the employer. In this case, he could be asked to keep all his personal opinions to himself and do whatever the manager or employer demands. If the person follows a personal system of ethics, then he may conflict with his interests as an individual. The engineers benefit from the acts of other engineers that follow the common code of ethics.
It can be said that engineers must take the responsibility and act in accordance to their profession’s code of ethics (Harris, 2004). The code developed protects the engineers and the people whom they care about like protection from any injury etc. The code of ethics of engineers gives a proper working environment to them which makes it easy to resist the pressure to do the tasks which would not have been possible otherwise. The code also makes their profession a practice in which they need not feel any embarrassment, shame or guilt. There is one more way by which engineers can practice ethics that is by their personal ethical system. But ethics may mean something for one person and something else for another. There may not be a standard definition of ethics for all engineers. Also, it is difficult to know whether they are following the ethics properly or not. The engineers have an obligation of fairness of performing their task (Davis, 2001). Thus, it is better for the engineers to have a professional system of ethics rather than working as per their personal ethical system.
The engineers are required to meet their ethical obligations of their profession to the public. These obligations have to be fulfilled by following the code of ethics. These allow them to work without pressures that may occur due the environment of corporates. The moral reasoning and professional standards might be set by each for themselves, but when the code of ethics are put in place, the engineers can avoid any social pressure which may be difficult for them to avoid if they are following their personal ethical system. Engineers face may issues on a daily basis like they face a conflict of interest with their colleagues, managers, society, etc. They also have to protect the secrets of the trade and ensure confidentiality of information, they carry the professional responsibility and have the obligation of protecting the safety of public. It is difficult to address these issues if each person uses his sense of morality and ethical definition. These can be handled only when a uniform ethical system is put in place for the engineers (Davis, 2006). There are two important components of ethics related to engineering that is understanding of morality and importance of a code of ethics of engineering profession. However, when potential threats are to be mitigated for the safety of the public, then the engineers are required to show it on their workplace practices that shape the routine decisions and lead to undesirable outcomes. Just by knowing that what the engineer has to do, whether he has to practice his moral reasoning or personal ethical system or he has to follow a professional ethical code may not prevent harm if the engineer is not able to recognize the potential problems (Davis, 2006). By using moral theory and applying the professional standard of conduct helps the engineers to point out the moral problems and in deciding what ought to be done. Whenever public safety is to be addressed, and the individuals use their professional autonomy in it, it may lead to excessive focus on the conflict between management and engineers and engineer may blow a whistle for that. The organizations are profit oriented, and if managers' act on behalf of these profit-oriented interests, then they are assumed to get engaged in cost-benefit analysis. This may lead to taking decisions that value safety less than requiring the professional responsibility of engineers. So, the ethics of engineers will focus more on the conflict between the cost benefits calculations of management and the commitment of engineer to public safety (Davis, 2006).
The engineers work in an environment where the culture of the organization prevents them from taking decisions. They are not allowed to design the technologies, and they are pressurized by the cost and schedule pressures (Moriarty, 2001). The rules that govern proprietary information and confidentiality and internal standards of secrecy make it tough for the people of the company to have an appropriate appreciation of the design concerns that may be present in the organization. Hence, the engineers in these organizations emphasize on whistle-blowing, on making the important information public, informing about the disturbing practices to regulatory authorities, etc. They do this when they feel that there exists a threat to public health and safety that the employers ignore. Here if the code of ethics is formed and put in practice then also the people may not follow it because whistle-blowing has a risk of the employee losing his job if he informs something serious about any senior member of the company. There is also a risk that the company may put whistleblowing as a part of the code of ethics but do not protect the employee who practices it. So in this case, the personal ethical system plays a major role as if the person knows what id right to do so he will do it no matter whether it is mentioned in the code of ethics or not.
There is one most important aspect in organizations where ethics play an important role: bribe. Engineers are also caught in this trap sometimes (Unger, 1998). In the organizations like construction, mining, etc. where engineers are mainly employed, it is common practice to give and take bribes. If that company is not doing so, it may be at a disadvantage with respect to competitors, at least in the short run. These companies if don't pay bribes; it loses the contracts to competitors. Suppose the company establishes a code of conduct for the engineers that nobody will give bribe for contracts, and it brings the true picture of its competitor in front of public, then it may be able to gain the confidence of the general public (Unger, 1998). But if this thing works on a personal ethical system of engineers then some of them may be in favor of taking and giving bribe, and some may be against it. There is a possibility of conflict within the community of engineers and the employees of the same organization. This will ruin the image of the company in public as people will think that there is no comradery within the organization. Many times there is a dilemma that people face between their self-interest and ethical behavior. Corruption is at its peak in some countries so it is better not to rely on the personal judgments of people and to develop a uniform code of ethics so that the problem can be dealt easily. To participate in these practices is incorrect on the moral grounds of engineers (Unger, 1998). They are faced with agonizing dilemmas sometimes. So ethical code of conduct is important to be put in the organization so that the employees are clear that what is morally right and what they have to do. It is also necessary so that engineers do not face any legal penalties or prosecutions in the future, and their careers are not disturbed.
Davis, M. (2001). Three myths about codes of engineering ethics. IEEE Technol. Soc. Mag., 20(3), 8-14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/44.952760
Davis, M. (2006). Engineering ethics, individuals, and organizations. Science And Engineering Ethics, 12(2), 223-231. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11948-006-0022-y
Harris, C. (2004). Internationalizing professional codes in engineering. Science And Engineering Ethics, 10(3), 503-521. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11948-004-0008-6
Lynch, W., & Kline, R. (2000). Engineering Practice and Engineering Ethics. Science, Technology & Human Values, 25(2), 195-225. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/016224390002500203
Moriarty, G. (2001). Three kinds of ethics for three kinds of engineering. IEEE Technol. Soc. Mag., 20(3), 31-38. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/44.952763
Unger, S. (1998). Ethical aspects of bribing people in other countries. Science And Engineering Ethics, 4(3), 287-290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11948-998-0020-3