Engineering Ethics: An Integrated Approach
There is an increasing multiplicity in approaches to teaching engineering ethics due to increasing discontent with the prevailing approach which uses studies focused on ethical dilemmas confronting individual engineers. There has been a claim for a greater consideration of the organizational, environmental and societal context in which engineers work and for a shift in focus from micro ethics issues concerning individuals to macro issues of concern to the engineering profession. Besides, there has been a demand that engineers focus on societal decision making about technology and their role in strategy development. Drawing on the work of Royal Academy of Engineering where John Turnball (ethics and employability), Rob Lawlor (professionalism), Rob Lawlor & Helen Morley (codes of ethics), and Natasha McCarthy (engineering responsibility), spoke distinctively of Engineering ethics. This paper provides a framework for understanding different approaches to engineering ethics. In moving towards an integrated approach, it is argued that a key issue confronting engineers is how to change the economic and social context in which they work so that it enables rather than constrains the development of sustainable engineering solution. It is also argued that an integrated approach should focus on integrating the different levels of analysis into accounts of ethical issues.
Keywords - Engineering society, engineering ethics, ethical issues, engineering and sustainability, ethical standards