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									                   Engineering Design
Ethics In Design

                    Ethics in Design
                        (Chp 12)

                          Lecture 12A
                        GE 121 Engineering Design--2011   1
                     Development of your 4 design alternatives
Ethics In Design

                      should be complete by this Friday (March
                     The analysis should be in enough
                      conceptual detail to allow you to compare
                      the designs and determine values for your
                      metrics for each objective

                                 GE 121 Engineering Design--2011   2
                                  Ethics in Design
                   Design is a good place to look at ethics
                     Involves choices and decisions that may affect a wide
                      number of stakeholders
Ethics In Design

                   This is a brief introduction.
                     You will get more in GE 449.
                     However, we expect you to behave ethically as
                   In some cases, engineers must choose
                     Loyalty to the client
                     Obligations to other stakeholders
                                      GE 121 Engineering Design--2011     3
                     Reconciling Conflicting Obligations
                   Ethics can be defined in several ways:
                     The discipline dealing with what is good / bad
Ethics In Design

                      and with moral duty / obligation
                     A set of moral principles or values
                     A theory or system of moral values
                     The principles of conduct governing an
                      individual or group
                       As engineers, we are specifically concerned with
                        this last one, but all the definitions are relevant to
                        our considerations
                                     GE 121 Engineering Design--2011             4
                   Ethics: Reconciling Conflicting Obligations (cont’d)

                   We need to distinguish between:
                     Ethics, which is related to professional conduct and
Ethics In Design

                     Individual morals (may be religion-based)
                   Individual morals are an important element of
                    who we are as a person
                   As engineers, there is a set of issues and related
                    guidelines that allow anyone who interacts with
                    us professionally to know what conduct to

                                      GE 121 Engineering Design--2011        5
                   Ethics: Reconciling Conflicting Obligations         (cont’d)

                   Codes of Ethics
                     Arose in part to assist engineers and the various
                      stakeholders to understand what could or could not be
                      expected in terms of professional behavior
Ethics In Design

                     Part of this included some protection of the engineer
                      from being asked to do things known to be improper
                   Examples of Codes of Ethics
                     Provincial (APEGS) and National (CCPE) Associations
                     Some others given in the text (pp 297 and 298)
                     Highlight some of the obligations of engineers to
                      various stakeholders

                                     GE 121 Engineering Design--2011        6
                   Ethics: Reconciling Conflicting Obligations         (cont’d)

                     A related but different issue
                     A person becomes aware of some sort of misconduct
                      and must decide how to act
Ethics In Design

                     Conflicting values for the engineer between what is
                      good for the company and what is good for the users or
                      those affected indirectly.
                     Whistleblower may lose job as a result

                                     GE 121 Engineering Design--2011        7
                   Obligations May Start With the Client…
                   Obligations to the client include some degree of
                   It is useful to distinguish between agency-loyalty
Ethics In Design

                    (derived from the contract), and identification-
                    loyalty (derived from an admiration or respect for
                    the client or employer)

                                     GE 121 Engineering Design--2011   8
                     Obligations May Start With the Client…

                    The first type is an obligation, while the second is earned
                     over time
Ethics In Design

                      Agency-loyalty demands that the engineer properly
                       maintain notebooks and logs and to document design
                       work where that is a legal obligation of the relationship
                      Identification-loyalty, however, can lead to conflicts
                       when the engineer sees the employer or client clash
                       with other stakeholders with whom the designer may
                       have a similar or even greater loyalty
                      Sometimes acting in ways that appear to be disloyal to
                       one part of the organization may have beneficial long
                       term effects on the organization. Careful thought
                       should attend such decisions
                                          GE 121 Engineering Design--2011          9
                   …But What About the Public / Profession?
                   Obligations to the public and the profession
                    are also important considerations
                     The Citicorp case (p301)
Ethics In Design

                        Designed columns at mid-point of sides to allow
                         church (original owners of the land) to be built under
                         overhanging corner
                        Shows how an engineer was faced with very difficult
                           – Building code at the time did not consider quartering winds
                             (45 degrees to the side of the building) which were worse
                           – Joints were bolted instead of welded to save money,
                             creating reduced rigidity
                           – Result was the structure could fail in a once-in-16-year

                                        GE 121 Engineering Design--2011              10
                   …But What About the Public / Profession?

                       Had conflicting obligations to himself, his firm, his
Ethics In Design

                        client, users of a building, the public at large, and
                        even the profession
                          – Came out and admitted the problem, and worked to
                            implement an orderly retrofit after the building was
                            occupied, with emergency contingency plans to
                            evacuate in the event of a hurricane
                    By acting responsibly, he was able to serve
                     all the interests well and is now considered a
                     model for ethical engineering practice

                                     GE 121 Engineering Design--2011               11
                   Is it OK For Me To Be Working on This Project?

                   Sometimes engineers are asked to design things
                    that they have serious moral or ethical
                    reservations about
Ethics In Design

                     Extremely important to consider the consequences of
                      accepting such clients
                     While there are no easy answers, the engineer must
                      realize that not all possible engineering solutions are
                      ethical, and not all clients who can afford to pay are
                      entitled to your services
                     Only by thinking about such matters prior to confronting
                      a situation can the engineer expect to behave ethically

                                      GE 121 Engineering Design--2011      12

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