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Unformatted text preview: CIV 402: Engineering Ethics
Chapter 8: Engineers in organizations Introduction : • The U.S law has been governed by the common law doctrine of “ Employment at will “ • It means that in the absence of a contract, an employer may discharge an employee at any time and for virtually any reason. • Public Policy exception didn’t protect the employee when there is a mere difference in judgment with the employer • Public policy exception includes : o Performing an important public obligation o Exercising a clear legal right ( free speech ) o Protecting the public from threats to health and safety. Engineers and Managers: The Pessimistic Account “ There is a natural conflict between management and professionals because of their differences in educational background , socialization, values, vocational interest, work habits, and outlook. “ Joseph Raelin • To analyze this, first Engineers have a conflict between loyalty to their employer and loyalty to their profession. This means that that Eng. Want to be loyal employees who are concerned about the financial well‐being of their firms , while they are also obligated to hold paramount the health, safety , and welfare of the public.
• Second, many managers are not engineers and don’t have engineering experience, so usually engineers complain that they have to use oversimplified language in explaining technical matters.
• Third, Engineers who are not managers aspire to the management role in the future, to have the financial rewards and prestige. Characteristics of managerial decision making that are useful in analyzing the manager‐ Engineer relationship : • Well‐ being of a company is measured primarily in financial terms , but it also includes a good public image. • Managers must have professional obligations that they might consider to override their obligations to the organization.
• Most of the time , Managers tend not to take ethical considerations seriously , unless they can affect the well‐being of the firm (public image ) , and this is not sufficient !!! 8.3 Being morally Responsible in an Org. without getting hurt. Organizational Culture: Set by the directors or the owners of the org. , and it is values that is dominant and influence the decisions of the org. members. It can be mindset and be dominant over behavior of an employee. ‐ “Dennis Gioia was a manager at Ford , and he made recommendations not to recall PINTO , It involved many tragic death , but his recommendations was neglected because the schemas (culture) of the firm didn’t include ethical dimensions. “ ‐ We have to be careful not to allow organizational culture to influence or override a belief in individual moral responsibility. Three Types of Organizational Culture: 1. Engineer‐Oriented companies • There is a general agreement that quality takes priority over other considerations except safety. • Managers never withhold information from Engineers , although they suspect engineers sometimes withhold information in order to cover up a mistake.
2. Customer‐ Oriented Companies • Managers must focus on business factors like timing and cost , while engineers should focus on quality and safety.
• More emphasis is placed on business considerations than in Eng.‐Oriented companies.
• Safety outranks quality , same as Eng.‐ Oriented companies.
• Sometime quality can be sacrificed to get the product out the door.
• Communication between Engineers and managers is more difficult than in Eng.‐ Oriented Companies.
• Managers are more concerned about Engineer’s withholding information.
3. Finance‐Oriented Companies. • Engineers may receive less information for making decisions and their decisions are given less weight by Managers.
• Managers are less Inclined to try to reach consensus • Engineers are seen as having a STAFF , and advisory function. Acting Ethically without having to make difficult choices. Acting ethically is easier in Engineer and Customer , Oriented companies than the finance‐Oriented companies. In the firs two types , more respect is given to the values of safety and quality that concerns the engineer. Also , communication is better. Additional suggestions to make acting ethically easier : 1. Engineers should be encouraged to report bad news , by establishing Ethics Offices that concern about morality . 2. Critical Loyalty : Creative middle way that seeks to honor the legitimate demands of the organization but also to honor the obligation to protect the public
3. When making suggestions , employees should focus on issues rather than personalities , to avoid emotionalism and personality clashes.
4. Written records should be kept of suggestions and complaints.
5. Complaints should be kept as confidential as possible for the protection of both the individuals involved and the firms 6. Provisions should be made for neutral participants from outside the organization when dispute requires it.
7. protect employees from any retaliation may occur by their superior as a result of the employee’s dispute
8. Process of handling organizational disobedience should proceed as quickly as possible , to prevent the company from applying harmful action on their employees. 8.4 Proper Engineering and Management Decisions Considerations that must be applied by Engineers : 1. Efficiency and economy of design 2. The degree of invulnerability to improper manufacturing and operation.
3. The extent to which state of the art technology is used. Most of time : Managers feel strong pressure to keep costs down and may believe engineers go too far in pursuing safety
While , engineers concern about safety and quality, and they always insist that a product must never violate engineers standards. What is PMD & PED ??? 1. PED : A decision that should be made by Engineers or at least governed by professional engineering standards because its either 1. Involves technical matters that require engineering expertise 2. Falls within the ethical standards embodied in engineering codes , to protect safety and health
2. PMD : A decision that should be made by managers or at least governed by management considerations because 1. It involves factors relating to the well‐being of the organization ( cost , scheduling , and marketing )
2. The decision does not force engineers to make unacceptable compromises with their own technical or ethical standards. ‐ PED & PMD show that distinction between management and engineering decisions is made in terms of the standards and practices. ‐ PMD specifies that Management decisions must not force engineers to violate their professional standards , and also must not force other professionals to do so.
‐ Engineers is expected to give advice even in decisions properly made by managers. Paradigmatic & Nonparadigmatic Examples.
Paradigmatic PED case via Line drawing : Jane is participating in the design of chemical plant that her firm will build . She must chose between Valve A, or B . Valve B is sold by friend of jane’s manager and it was responsible for several disasters. Valve A has a quicker shutoff mechanism and safe , but 5% more expensive. Paradigmatic PMD Case Suppose the 2 Valves are equal in quality and safety, but valve B can be supplied much faster , and it is 15% cheaper , Non paradigramatic Case : Suppose Valve A is better in long‐term reliability , But valve B is 10% cheaper, and both can be delivered quickly . 8.5 – responsible organizational disobedience * Organizational disobedience: a protest or refusal to follow an organizational policy or action. * There are three types of organizational disobedience: 1) Disobedience by contrary action, which is engaging in activities contrary to the interests of the company. 2) Disobedience by nonparticipation, which is refusing to carry out an assignment because of moral or professional objections. 3) Disobedience by protest, which is activity and openly protesting a policy or action of an organization.  Disobedience by contrary action. Objections by managers are usually in one of two areas: A) Managers may believe that a particular action or perhaps the general life style of an employee reflects unfavorable on the organization. B) Managers may believe that some activities of employees are contrary to the interests of the organization in a more direct way. Example: An engineer may be member of a local environmental group that is pressuring his or her company to install antipollution equipment that is not required by low. • A dispute arose between manager rights and employees freedom. • conclusion: 1) Employees should be more careful in areas in which the harm to their organization is more direct. 2) Employees should allow themselves more freedom in areas that are closely related to their basic personal commitments (religious beliefs) than in areas more peripheral to their most important concerns.  Disobedience by nonparticipation A) Employees may not use disobedience by nonparticipation in the right way. Example: using it in a way to avoid projects he fins boring or not challenging. B) It is sometimes difficult for the employers to honor a request to be removed from a work assignment because (for example) there may be no alternative assignments, or they may be no other engineers who is qualified to do the work. • Organizations should honor requests for nonparticipation in a project if they are based on conscience or the project violates professional standard. • Employers should not force employees to make a choice between losing their jobs or violating personal or professional standards. 8.6 Disobedience by protest ‐ Whistle blower: one who revels wrong doing within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority. ‐Two characteristics of whistle blowing: 1) Revels information that the organization won’t reveal to the public. 2) One dose this out of approved channels. ‐ Internal whistle blowing: the alarm about wrong doing stays within the organization. ‐ External whistle blowing: goes outside theorganization. ‐ Open whistle blowing: whistle blower revels his identity. ‐Anonymous whistle blowing: whistle blower attempts to keep his identity secret. Whistle blowing: a harm‐preventing justification: ‐ De George believe that whistle blowing is morally permissible if: 1) The harm that will be done by the product to the public is serious and considerable. 2) The employees report their concern to their superiors. 3) Getting no satisfaction from their immediate superiors. Some practical advice on whistle blowing: 1‐ Take advantage of any formal or informal processes your organization may have for making a protest. 2‐ Determine whether it is better to keep your protest as confidential as possible or involve others in the process. 3‐ Focus on issues, not personalities. 4‐ Keep written records of the process. 5‐ Present positive suggestions in association with your objection. ...
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This note was uploaded on 01/29/2012 for the course CIVIL 101 taught by Professor Seeds during the Spring '07 term at Abu Dhabi University.
- Spring '07