The book develops the notion of situated ethics and explores how ethical issues are practically handled by educational researchers in the field. Contributors present theoretical models and practical examples of what situated ethics involves in conducting research on specific areas.
Herbert McCabe, OP (d. 2001), was a significant theological figure in England in the last century. A scholar of Aquinas, he was also influenced by Wittgenstein and Marx, his reading of whom helped him articulate a distinctive Thomistic account of human embodiment that serves as a critique of other dominant approaches in ethics. This article shows McCabe's contribution to moral theology by placing his work in conversation with other important approaches, namely, situationethics, proportionalism, and the New (...) Natural Law Theory. (shrink)
Principles and the context, by J. C. Bennett.--Love monism, by J. M. Gustafson.--Responsibility in freedom, by E. C. Gardner.--The new morality, by G. Fackre.--When love becomes excarnate, by H. L. Smith.--Situational morality, by R. W. Gleason.--The nature of heresy, by G. Kennedy.--Situationethics under fire, by J. Fletcher.
This research presents findings from a study of gender-based differences in an ethical decision situation. The study focuses on gender as it relates to situational factors and accounting experience. The primary element of interest is how the gender of the actor (the person described in each vignette) influences the evaluation/assessment of the ethical/unethical decisions. While previous research has provided evidence of ethical differences relating to the gender of the responding subjects, limited evidence has been presented relating to situational issues (...) that may influence assessments of ethical decisions.This research uses four accounting environment vignettes to survey the responses of accountants and accounting students to the ethical/unethical nature of the actions that are taken. In addition, how likely the accountants believe they are to take the same actions is also surveyed. The subjects are a representative sample of practicing accountants in the U.S. and senior/graduate accounting majors at a state university in the southwestern United States. (shrink)
Managers throughout the world regularly face ethical dilemmas that have important, and perhaps complex, professional and personal implications. Further, societal consequences of decisions made can be far-reaching. In this study, 210 financial services managers from Australia, Chile, Ecuador and the United States were queried about their ethical beliefs when faced with four diverse dilemmas. In addition, the situational context was altered so the respondent viewed each dilemma from a top management position and from a position of economic hardship. Results suggest (...) a complex interaction of situation, culture and issue when individuals make ethical judgments. Specifically, Chileans were found to have different beliefs about sex discrimination and child labor dilemmas when compared to their colleagues from the other three nations. Chileans and Australians also disagreed on the bribery dilemma. Anglo managers were more likely than Latin American managers to change their ethical responses when the situation was altered. For multinational firms interested in maintaining healthy ethical climates, the findings suggest that culturally contingent ethical guidelines, or policies adapted to the local customs, must be considered. Further, managers must remain aware of issues related to specific situations, both internal and external, that would cause subordinates to alter their moral judgment. (shrink)
The article examines reasons and features of the Italian bioethics movement in itself and in relationship to that in the U.S.A. Research, consultation, teaching are the most requested professional activities. Ethics committees are now established in several places and at different level: national (National Italian Committee for Bioethics), regional (Italy has about twenty regions with some political power), and institutional (research centers, university, main hospitals).
This paper discusses the views of 17 healthcare practitioners involved with transplantation on the ethics of live liver donations (LLDs). Donations between emotionally related donor and recipients (especially from parents to their children) increased the acceptability of an LLD compared with those between strangers. Most healthcare professionals (HCPs) disapproved of altruistic stranger donations, considering them to entail an unacceptable degree of risk taking. Participants tended to emphasise the need to balance the harms of proceeding against those of not proceeding, (...) rather than calculating the harm-to-benefits ratio of donor versus recipient. Participants’ views suggested that a complex process of negotiation is required, which respects the autonomy of donor, recipient and HCP. Although they considered that, of the three, donor autonomy is of primary importance, they also placed considerable weight on their own autonomy. Our participants suggest that their opinions about acceptable risk taking were more objective than those of the recipient or donor and were therefore given greater weight. However, it was clear that more subjective values were also influential. Processes used in live kidney donation (LKD) were thought to be a good model for LLD, but our participants stressed that there is a danger that patients may underestimate the risks involved in LLD if it is too closely associated with LKD. (shrink)
Public accounting in the United States is generally guided by the Code of Professional Conduct of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It has been suggested that education in understanding and accepting their ethical code would increase accountants' adherence and ethicality.This study was designed to examine the level of consensus to AICPA ethical standards by accounting students (ethical orientation). Situationethics provided the theoretical rationale for this study.
Introduction -- Global traits of character -- Traits as dispositions -- Situational traits of character -- Situational traits and social psychology -- Situational traits and the friendly consequentialist.
The growing interest in ethics and ethical behavior has not manifested itself in an ethical analysis of television programming beyond a journalism context. This study examines one social/ethical issue - lying in prime time network television situation comedies. Results show sitcom characters who lie are motivated primarily by self-interest. This egoistic approach raises questions of ethical maturity and provides a model of behavior that may have negative implications for society.
This paper draws on the economics of ethical compliance model to examine the association between ethical reasoning, perceived risk of detection, perceived levels of penalties and Chinese auditors'' ethical behavior in an audit conflict situation. Using 53 Chinese auditors from Shenzen as subjects, and a survey questionnaire, this study found that there is a significant negative association between ethical reasoning and the likelihood of unethical behavior and that this negative association is weaker for auditors who perceive higher risks of (...) detection. (shrink)
According to a widely credited model in the business ethics literature, ethical decisions are a function of two kinds of factors, personal(individual) and situational, and these factors interact with each other. According to a contrary view of decision making that is widely held in some areas of business research, individuals’ decisions about ethical issues (and subsequent actions) are purely a function of their self-interest.The laboratory experiment reported in this paper provides a test of the person-situation interactionist model, using (...) the general theoretical and experimental framework used in the experimental economics literature. One individual and two situational factors relating to moral intensity were examined which may influence decisions to misrepresent information in the course of business activities.The individual and one situational variable were significantly related to participants’ actions. The interactions among individual andsituation variables were not individually significant, although the model including interactions had a much higher level of statistical significance. Gender was significant, both directly and in interaction with moral development, suggesting that it may be worthy of further examination. (shrink)
The children’s market has become significantly more important to marketers in recent years. They have been spending increasing amounts on advertising, particularly of food and beverages, to reach this segment. At the same time, there is a critical debate among parents, government agencies, and industry experts as to the ethics of food advertising practices aimed toward children. The␣present study examines parents’ ethical views of food advertising targeting children. Findings indicate that parents’ beliefs concerning at least some dimensions of moral (...) intensity are significantly related to their ethical judgments and behavioral intentions of food advertising targeting children as well as the perceived moral intensity of the situation. (shrink)
This study uses judgment and decision-making (JDM) perspective with the help of framing and schema literature from cognitive psychology to evaluate how managers behave when problems with unethical overtones are presented to them in a managerial frame rather than an ethical frame. In the proposed managerial model, moral judgment of the situation is one of the inputs to managerial judgment, among several other inputs regarding costs and benefits of various alternatives. Managerial judgment results in managerial intent leading to managerial (...) action. The model and the effects of taking an ethics course on ethical and managerial judgment and managerial intent were then indirectly tested in this study, wherein subjects judged the ethical wrongness, managerial badness, and the managerial intent regarding decisions made in a case. Forty-nine MBA students analyzed a case involving budget-based bonuses and production, in which the ethical issue evolved over three stages. It appears from the Path-analysis results that managerial judgment mediated between moral judgment and the judgment of managerial intent as suggested by the proposed model, and that taking an ethics course directly affected managerial judgment but did not affect the moral judgment. Additionally, in the first stage of decision-making (early stage of a developing “ethical slippery slope”), moral judgment did not significantly influence managerial judgment. However, students with ethics course still were more inclined to judge the decision as managerially bad as compared to others, indicating that they were more aware or sensitive to the moral issues involved. (shrink)
The emerging concern about software piracy and illegal or unauthorized use of information technology and software has been evident in the media and open literature for the last few years. In the course of conducting their academic assignments, the authors began to compare observations from classroom experiences related to ethics in the use of software and information technology and systems. Qualitatively and anecdotally, it appeared that many if not most, students had misconceptions about what represented ethical and unethical behaviors (...) in these realms. Clearly, one can argue that if college students are uncertain about what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behavior then this uncertainty will be carried forward into their workplaces upon graduation. Furthermore, if their workplaces don't provide ethics training as a component of a new employee orientation program, one can project a potential for unintentional violations and infringements of copyrights and law in the field. This study was conducted among graduate and undergraduate students to gain insight into their attitudes, perceptions and understanding of some of the relevant ethics issues. A questionnaire of 11 statements was employed that described ubiquitous but most likely unethical (or surely dubious) behaviors in the prevailing business and academic environments. Each respondent was asked to evaluate each statement twice (once for “self” and once for “colleague”) on a five-option highly ethical (5) to neutral (3) to highly unethical (1) scale. The statements were worded such that lower instrument score was associated with higher ethical responses. The questionnaire's two-part structure was designed to solicit honest answers. The encouraging learning from this study was that the overall sample and its various sub-samples did not consider any of the eleven behaviors to be “ethical” or “highly ethical.” It was also encouraging to note that the overall sample and all sub-samples considered “highly unethical” those behaviors associated with personal privacy or property or outright theft. This indicated that moral judgment and probity prevail. The discouraging learning was that behaviors associated with the use of enterprise property were viewed as “neutral” i.e., neither “ethical” nor “unethical.” These findings suggested confusion and lack of clarity and definition around workplace deportment as it regards ethics in software and information technology use. The current study suggests that additional research needs to be conducted to define and clarify the issues, which in turn can form the basis for programs to rectify or at least ameliorate the situation. (shrink)
Floridi’s ontocentric ethics is compared with Spinoza’s ethical and metaphysical system as found in the Ethics. Floridi’s is a naturalistic ethics where he argues that an action is right or wrong primarily because the action does decrease the ‹entropy’ of the infosphere or not. An action that decreases the amount entropy of the infosphere is a good one, and one that increases it is a bad one. For Floridi, ‹entropy’ refers to destruction or loss of diversity of (...) the infosphere, or the total reality consisting of informational objects. The similarity with Spinoza is that both philosophers refer to basic reality as a foundation for normative judgments. Hence they are both ethical naturalists. An interpretation of both Floridi and Spinoza is offered that might begin to solve the basic problems for any naturalistic ethics. The problems are how a value theory that is based on metaphysics could maintain normative force and how normative force could be justified when there appear to be widely differing metaphysical systems according to the many cultural traditions. I argue that in Spinoza’s and presumably in Floridi’s system, there is no separation between the normative and the natural from the beginning. Normative terms derive their validity from their role in referring to action that leads to a richer and fuller reality. As for the second problem, Spinoza’s God is such that He cannot be fully described by mere finite intellect. What this translates to the contemporary situation of information ethics is that there are always bound to be many different ways of conceptualizing one and the same reality, and it is the people’s needs, goals and desires that often dictate how the conceptualizing is done. However, when different groups of people interact, these systems become calibrated with one another. This is possible because they already belong to the same reality. (shrink)
As a result of recent corporate scandals, several rules have focused on the role played by Boards of Directors on the planning and monitoring of corporate codes of ethics. In theory, outside directors are in a better position than insiders to protect and further the interests of all stakeholders because of their experience and their sense of moral and legal obligations. Female directors also tend to be more sensitive to ethics according to several past studies which explain this (...) affirmation by early gender socialization, the fact that women are thought to place a greater emphasis on harmonious relations and the fact that men and women use different ethical frameworks in their judgments. The goal of this paper is to determine the influence of these characteristics of the Board in terms of promoting and hindering the creation of a code of ethics. Our findings show that a greater number of female directors does not necessarily lead to more ethical companies. Moreover, within Europe as a continent, board ownership leads to an entrenchment of upper-level management, generating a divergence between the ethical interests of owners and managers. In light of this situation, the presence of independent directors is necessary to reduce such conflicts. (shrink)
Climate change represents a significant challenge to the entire planet and its inhabitants. While few, if any, will be able to escape totally the effects of climate change, it will fall most heavily, at least initially, on the poor, regardless of where they reside. We may observe already possible scenarios. The tragic situation in Darfur may be less an ethnic conflict and more a clash between marginal farmers and herdsmen in an increasingly more arid local climate. More powerful storms (...) on the scale of hurricane Katrina, which affected the poor more than other economic groups, may become commonplace. The alteration of the maple sugar cycle may be a harbinger of stress on the world's flora and fauna that humanity depends upon. Mainstream climatologists have concluded that human behavior, primarily the effects of industrialization, causes human-induced climate change. Left unchecked climate change will have serious consequences for humanity, especially the poor. Business, the primary agent of industrialization, is both the problem and the solution. This paper will apply the ethics of philosophers John Rawls (the difference principle), Robert Nozick (the Lockean Proviso, climate is a natural resource), and Aristotle, along with the work of strategist Michael Porter. Understanding how climate change management fits into a firm's strategic opportunity will contribute to the ability of business to develop the technologies and business processes necessary to cope with climate change. The paper will conclude with a brief discussion of GE's Ecomagination program as an example of a promising moral response to climate change. (shrink)
To prepare for ethically challenging situations in the workplace, it is useful for students to explore their attitudes toward ethical issues and their own value systems. An experiential assignment to teach ethics in business programs is presented. This method allows instructors to incorporate a “stand alone” assignment in ethics into a course that focuses on another area in management. The assignment, student-developed case studies of ethical situations in the workplace, requires students to develop individual case studies in (...) class='Hi'>ethics drawing on their workplace experiences to illustrate ethical principles. The assignment requires students to describe an ethical situation they encountered in the workplace, their relevant value systems, sources of information consulted, their role in the organization, and how they resolved the ethical situation, considering how their experiences since the time of the situation might influence analogous decision making today. To assess student learning, we used thematic analysis to evaluate the content of the case studies, and descriptive statistics to analyze responses to a post-assignment survey. Based on our analysis of the content of the case studies and student responses, this appears to be an effective learning tool to actively engage students in a consideration of, and discussion about, ethical issues in management, and to learn from the experiences of others. (shrink)
In order to fulfill ABET requirements, Northern Arizona University’s Civil and Environmental engineering programs incorporate professional ethics in several of its engineering courses. This paper discusses an ethics module in a 3rd year engineering design course that focuses on the design process and technical writing. Engineering students early in their student careers generally possess good black/white critical thinking skills on technical issues. Engineering design is the first time students are exposed to “grey” or multiple possible solution technical problems. (...) To identify and solve these problems, the engineering design process is used. Ethical problems are also “grey” problems and present similar challenges to students. Students need a practical tool for solving these ethical problems. The step-wise engineering design process was used as a model to demonstrate a similar process for ethical situations. The ethical decision making process of Martin and Schinzinger was adapted for parallelism to the design process and presented to students as a step-wise technique for identification of the pertinent ethical issues, relevant moral theories, possible outcomes and a final decision. Students had greatest difficulty identifying the broader, global issues presented in an ethical situation, but by the end of the module, were better able to not only identify the broader issues, but also to more comprehensively assess specific issues, generate solutions and a desired response to the issue. (shrink)
During the current financial crisis, the need for an alternative to a laissez-faire ethics of capitalism (the Milton Friedman view) becomes clear. I argue that we need an order ethics which employs economics as a key theoretical resource and which focuses on institutions for implementing moral norms. -/- I will point to some aspects of order ethics which highlight the importance of rules, e.g. global rules for the financial markets. In this regard, order ethics (“Ordnungsethik”) is (...) the complement of the German conception of “Ordnungspolitik” which also stresses the importance of a regulatory framework. This framework is needed not to tame the market, but to make it more profitable in the long run. -/- The conception of order ethics relies heavily on contractarianism, especially on James Buchanan’s work. Unlike many other conceptions of ethics, it does not start with an aim to achieve, but rather with an account of what the social world – in which ethical norms have to be implemented – is like. Our social world is different from the pre-modern one. Pre-modern societies played zero-sum games in which people could only gain significantly at the expense of others. And the types of ethics that we are still used to today have been developed within these pre-modern societies. -/- Modern societies, by contrast, can be characterised – by economists and other social theorists alike – as societies with continuous growth. This growth has only been made possible by the modern competitive market economy which enables everyone to pursue his own interests within a carefully devised institutional system. In this system, positive sum games are played, which makes it in principle possible to improve the position of every individual at the same time. Most kinds of ethics, however, resulting from the conditions of pre-modern societies, ignore the possibility of win-win-situations and instead require us to be moderate, to share, to sacrifice, as this would have been functional in zero-sum games. These conceptions distinguish – in more or less strict ways – between self-interest and altruistic motivation. Self-interest, more often than not, is ultimately seen as something evil. -/- Such an ethics cannot be functional in modern societies. Ethical concepts lag behind. Within zero-sum games, it was necessary to call for temperance, for moderate profits, or for a condemnation of lending money at interest. Within positive-sum games, however, the morally desired result of a social process cannot be brought about by changes in motivation, by switching from ‘egoistic’ to ‘altruistic’ motivation. The second theoretical element introduced by order ethics is the distinction between actions and rules, which was already mentioned. Traditional ethics concerns actions: It calls directly for changes in behaviour. This is a consequence of pre-modern conditions as reconstructed before: People in the pre-modern world were only able to control their actions, not so much however the conditions of their actions. In particular, rules like laws, constitutions, social structures, the market order, and also ethical norms have remained stable for centuries. In modern societies, this situation has changed entirely. The rules governing our actions have increasingly come under our control. -/- In this situation, ethics has to focus on rules. Morality must be incorporated in incentive-compatible rules. Direct calls for changes in behaviour without changes in the rules lead only to an erosion of compliance with moral norms. Individuals that continue to behave ‘morally’ will be singled out, because the incentives have not been changed. Moral norms which are to be justified cannot require people to abstain from pursuing their own advantage. People abstain from taking ‘immoral’ advantages only if adherence to ethical norms yields greater benefits over the planned sequence of actions than defection in the single case. Thus ‘abstaining’ is not abstaining in the long run, it is rather an investment in expectations of long-term benefits. By adhering to ethical norms, I become a reliable partner for interactions. The norms do indeed constrain my actions, but they simultaneously expand my options in interactions. And people consent to rules only if these rules hold greater advantages for them, at least in the long run. -/- In general, ethics cannot require people to abandon their individual calculation of advantages. However, it may suggest improving one’s calculation, by calculating in the long run rather than in the short run, and by taking into account the interests of our fellows, as we depend on their acceptance for reaching an optimal level of well-being, especially in a globalized world full of interdependence. -/- The problem of implementation can now be placed at the beginning of a conception of order ethics, justified with reference to the conditions of modern societies I have sketched. Under the conditions of pre-modern societies, an ethics of temperance had evolved that posed simultaneously the problems of implementation and justification. The implementation of well-justified norms or standards could then be regarded as unproblematic, because the social structures allowed for a direct face-to-face enforcement of norms. Pre-modern societies not only favored an ethics of temperance, they also had the instrument of face-to-face-sanctions within their smaller and non-anonymous communities. This instrument is no longer functional in modern anonymous societies, and so we have to face up to the problem of implementation right at the start of our ethical conception. Simultaneously, an order ethics relies on the implementation of sanctions for enforcing incentive-compatible rules. In modern societies, rules and institutions, to a large extent, must fulfil the tasks that were, in pre-modern times, fulfilled by moral norms, which in turn were sanctioned by face-to-face sanctions. Norm implementation in modern societies thus works by setting adequate incentives in order to prevent the erosion of moral norms, which would happen if ‘moral’ actors were systematically threatened with exploitation by other, less ‘moral’ actors. -/- This conception of order ethics is then elaborated further in the area of business ethics. -/- . (shrink)
In recent years there have been ever-growing concerns regarding environmental decline, causing some companies to focus on the implementation of environmentally friendly supply, production and distribution systems. Such concern may stem either from the set of beliefs and values of the company’s management or from certain pressure exerted by the market – consumers and institutions – in the belief that an environmentally respectful management policy will contribute to the transmission of a positive image of the company and its products. Sometimes, (...) however, ethics and market rules are not enough to deal with this situation and specific laws must be considered. This is the case when companies base their activity on the ‹ethics of self-interest’ concentrating their efforts on projecting an adequate image – e.g. environmental respect – rather than fundamentally behaving in environmentally respectful ways. This article, taking as reference the SME context, discusses the reasons for implementing environmentally friendly systems. Both ethics and business seem to be relevant and, therefore, a certain balance between market and interventionism seems to be necessary. (shrink)
Ethics has assumed a dominant position in the current economic debate, and this study focuses on ethics as a legitimate underpinning to good business decision making. Using a self-response survey of marketing managers in Spain, the current theory on ethical decision making is extended. Results support the mediating influence of the PRESOR construct (an individual’s perception of the importance of ethics and social responsibility for the effectiveness of the organization) on relativistic and idealistic moral thinking when one (...) is considering the moral intensity of a situation. In addition, the study found support for the relationship between relativism (negative), idealism (positive), corporate ethical values, and job satisfaction, thereby providing additional support for the prior theory. Finally, a thorough review of the extant literature and suggestions for future ethics research in the marketing field are included. (shrink)
How can a course on engineering ethics affect an undergraduate student’s feelings of responsibility about moral problems? In this study, three groups of students were interviewed: six students who had completed a specific course on engineering ethics, six who had registered for the course but had not yet started it, and six who had not taken or registered for the course. Students were asked what they would do as the central character, an engineer, in each of two short (...) cases that posed moral problems. For each case, the role of the engineer was successively changed and the student was asked how each change altered his or her decisions about the case. Students who had completed the ethics course considered more options before making a decision, and they responded consistently despite changes in the cases. For both cases, even when they were not directly involved, they were more likely to feel responsible and take corrective action. Students who were less successful in the ethics course gave answers similar to students who had not taken the course. This latter group of students seemed to have weaker feelings of responsibility: they would say that a problem was “not my business.” It appears that instruction in ethics can increase awareness of responsibility, knowledge about how to handle a difficult situation, and confidence in taking action. (shrink)
This article assesses the quality of Integrative Social Contracts Theory (ISCT) as a social contract argument. For this purpose, it embarks on a comparative analysis of the use of the social contract model as a theory of political authority and as a theory of social justice. Building on this comparison, it then develops four criteria for any future contractarian theory of business ethics (CBE). To apply the social contract model properly to the domain of business ethics, it should (...) be: (1) self-disciplined, i.e., not aspire results beyond what the contract model can realistically establish; (2) argumentative, i.e., it should seek to provide principles that are demonstrative results of the contractarian method; (3) task-directed, i.e., it should be clear what the social contract thought-experiment is intended to model; and (4) domain-specific, i.e., the contractarian choice situation should be tailored to the defining problems of business ethics. (shrink)
This study examines the influence of ethics instruction, religiosity, and intelligence on cheating behavior. A sample of 230 upper level, undergraduate business students had the opportunity to increase their chances of winning money in an experimental situation by falsely reporting their task performance. In general, the results indicate that students who attended worship services more frequently were less likely to cheat than those who attended worship services less frequently, but that students who had taken a course in business (...)ethics were no less likely to cheat than students who had not taken such a course. However, the results do indicate that the extent to which taking a business ethics course influenced cheating behavior was moderated by the religiosity and intelligence of the individual student. In particular, while students who were highly religious were unlikely to cheat whether or not they had taken a business ethics course, students who were not highly religious demonstrated less cheating if they had taken a business ethics course. In addition, the extent of cheating among highly intelligent students was significantly reduced if such students had taken a course in business ethics. Likewise, individuals who were highly intelligent displayed significantly less cheating if they were also highly religious. The implications of these findings are discussed. (shrink)
This paper shows how business ethics as a concept may be approached from a cognitive viewpoint. Following F. A. Hayek''s cognitive theory, I argue that moral behavior evolves and changes because of individual perception and action. Individual moral behavior becomes a moral rule when prominently displayed by members of a certain society in a specific situation. A set of moral rules eventually forms the ethical code of a society, of which business ethics codes are only a part. (...) By focusing on the concept of "limited" or "dispersed knowledge" that underlies the cognitive approach, I show that universal ethical norms that should lead to defined outcomes cannot exist. This approach moreover shows the limits of deliberate rule-setting. Attempts to deliberately impose universal ethical rules on societies may turn out to be harmful for societal development and lead to an abuse of governmental power. (shrink)
Role conflict occurs when a job possesses inconsistent expectations incongruent with individual beliefs, a situation that precipitates considerable frustration and other negative work outcomes. Increasing interest in processes that reduce role conflict is, therefore, witnessed. With the help of information collected from a large sample of individuals employed at an education-based healthcare institution, this study identified several factors that might decrease role conflict, namely mindfulness and organizational ethics. In particular, the results indicated that mindfulness was associated with decreased (...) role conflict, and that perceived ethical values and a shared ethics code were associated with decreased role conflict and increased mindfulness. Despite the study's limitations, these findings imply that companies might better manage role conflict through the development of mindfulness and organizational ethics. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to stress the significance of ethics for engineering education and to illustrate how it can be brought into the mainstream of higher education in a natural way that is integrated with the teaching objectives of enriching the core meaning of engineering. Everyone will agree that the practicing engineer should be virtuous, should be a good colleague, and should use professional understanding for the common good. But these injunctions to virtue do not reach closely (...) enough the ethic of the engineer as engineer, as someone acting in a uniquely engineering situation, and it is to such conditions that I wish to speak through a set of specific examples from recent history. I shall briefly refer to four controversies between engineers. Then, in some detail I shall narrate three historical cases that directly involve the actions of one engineer, and finally I would like to address some common contemporary issues. The first section, “Engineering Ethics and the History of Innovation” includes four cases involving professional controversy. Each controversy sets two people against each other in disputes over who invented the telegraph, the radio, the automobile, and the airplane. In each dispute, it is possible to identify ethical and unethical behavior or ambiguous ethical behavior that serves as a basis for educational discussion. The first two historical cases described in “Crises and the Engineer” involve the primary closure dam systems in the Netherlands, each one the result of the actions of one engineer. The third tells of an American engineer who took his political boss, a big city mayor, to court over the illegal use of a watershed. The challenges these engineers faced required, in the deepest sense, a commitment to ethical behavior that is unique to engineering and instructive to our students. Finally, the cases in “Professors and Comparative Critical Analysis” illuminate the behavior of engineers in the design of structures and also how professors can make public criticisms of designs that seem wasteful. (shrink)