2. COURSE OBJECTIVES
This course will develop student’s knowledge of the
nature of engineering ethics (legal, professional,
historical, and personal definitions of “engineering
ethics”) as well as personal and societal ethics. One of
the main goals of this course is to learn the value of
engineering ethics by exploring varied contemporary
and historical legal, professional, and personal reasons
why an engineer should be ethical. To foster strong
understanding of the subject, students also deliberate
the resolution of ethical dilemmas using common
ethical dilemmas, identify possible actions to be taken
in response, and probable consequences of those
5. COURSE CONTENTS
Introduction to Ethics, The Nature of Engineering Ethics,Legal, Professional and
• Value of Ethics
Value of Engineering Ethics, Contemporary and Historical Reasons, Why
an Ethical Engineer?
• Ethical Dilemmas
Common Ethical Dilemmas, Resolution of Ethical Dilemmas, Possible Actions
in Response to Dilemmas, Probable Consequences of these Actions
• Case Studies
Any Religious, National, or International Law Dealing with Engineering Ethics,
Code of Ethics/Conduct of any Professional Society, Historical and
Professional Reasons of Existence of Multiple Definitions of Ethics, Benefits
of Acting Ethically and Consequences of Acting Unethically, Resolution of
6. Grading criteria
• Cognitive domain
Final Term exam
• Effective/Ethics domain
Receiving: shows awareness, willingness to listen, controlled attention, notices values,
dispositions, and attitudes in life and literature.
Responding: accepts responsibility and duty to comply
Valuing: accepts the values and expresses a preference for the values and attitudes
Commitment: expresses more than a preference for the values; demonstrates a devotion
and commitment to the values, attitudes, and dispositions
Organization: holds and expresses an organization of a system of inter-related values and
Characterization: aligns behaviours and values, acts out of one’s values, develops a
consistent philosophy of life and adopts a professional identity.
9. Ethics, also known as
moral philosophy, is a
branch of philosophy that
recommending concepts of
right and wrong behavior.
10. • Engineering is the process of developing an efficient
mechanism which quickens and eases the work using
limited resources, with the help of technology. Ethics are
the principles accepted by the society, which also equate
to the moral standards of human beings. An engineer with
ethics, can help the society in a better way.
• Hence the study of Engineering ethics, where such ethics
are implemented in engineering by the engineers, is
necessary for the good of the society. Engineering Ethics
is the study of decisions, policies and values that are
morally desirable in engineering practice and research.
11. • The word “Morality” originates from the Latin word
“mos” meaning “custom”. Morals are the principles or
habits with respect to right or wrong of one’s own
conduct. They are not imposed by anyone. Morals are
what you think is good and bad personally.
• Though morals are not imposed, they can be understood
as the preaching of our inner self. Depending on a few
factors, our mind filters things as good or bad. These are
the ideas that help frame our personality so that we can
distinguish between what is right and what is wrong.
12. • A moral is the code of conduct that you develop over
time and set for yourself to follow, just like
• Being good to everyone
• Speaking only the truth
• Going against what you know is wrong
• Having chastity
• Avoid cheating
• Being a nice human being etc.
• Morals are always defined by one’s own personality.
Morals can be changed according to one’s beliefs as they
are completely dependent on one’s perception towards
the ethical values.
13. • The word “Ethics” originates from the Greek word
“ethos” meaning “character”. Ethics are a set of rules or
principles that are generally considered as standards or
good and bad or right and wrong, which are usually
imposed by an external group or a society or a profession
• Ethics can be understood as the rules of conduct proposed
by a society or recognized with respect to a particular
class of human actions or a particular group or culture.
Ethics are dependent on others definition. They may or
may not vary from context to context.
14. • A person who strictly follows a set of ethical principles,
may not have any moral at all while a person who
violates ethical principles at times, may maintain a high
moral integrity. The ethical theories include duty ethics,
right ethics, virtue ethics and so on. A best example that
can explain ethics is utilitarianism.
• Utilitarianism is the philosophy which explains that the
happiness or pleasure of a greatest number of people in
the society is considered as the greatest good. According
to this philosophy, an action is morally right if its
consequences leads to happiness of the people and wrong
if the action leads to their unhappiness. This theory
moves beyond the scope of one’s own interests and takes
into account the interests of others.
16. • Ethics are principles followed depending upon the moral
responsibility that a person feels. The study of related
questions about moral ideals, character, policies and
relationships of people and organizations involved in
technological activity, can be termed as Engineering
• An engineer whether he works individually or works for
a company, has to go through some ethical issues, mostly
under the conditions such as, conceptualization of a
product, issues arising in design and testing departments,
or may be on the issues involving the manufacturing,
sales and services. Questions related to morality also
arise during supervision and team works.
17. • The ethical decisions and moral values of an engineer
need to be considered because the decisions of an
engineer have an impact the products and services - how
safe they are to use, the company and its shareholders
who believe in the goodwill of the company, the public
and the society who trusts the company regarding the
benefits of the people, the law which cares about how
legislation affects the profession and industry, the job and
his moral responsibilities and about how the environment
gets affected, etc.
18. • Not only an engineer, but everyone has to follow a set of
morals in order to keep away from getting morally
degraded. Our behavior should include the following −
• Respecting others and ourselves.
• Respecting the rights of others.
• Keeping promises.
• Avoiding unnecessary problems to others.
• Avoiding cheating and dishonesty.
• Showing gratitude towards others and encourage them
• Morality commands respect for persons, both others and
ourselves. It involves being fair and just, meeting
obligations and respecting rights and not causing
unnecessary harm by dishonesty and cruelty or by hubris.
20. • Whenever there occurs an issue, one should possess a
few skills in order to sort out the problem. The issues that
engineers face, have to be dealt with patience and few
moral goals have to be kept in mind while dealing with
such issues. They are as follows −
• Moral Awareness − One should be able to recognize
the moral problems and issues that occur in
Engineering. The analysis on the problem is necessary
in order to differentiate and judge according to ethics
or according to the rules to follow.
• Cogent Moral Reasoning − In order to come to a
conclusion on an issue, the argument has to be
assessed and comprehended. The argument on both
sides has to be considered with all the probabilities
and the nature of the argument should be logical and
21. • Moral Coherence − After having gone through all the
logical and moral facts, consistent and comprehensive
view points are to be formed based upon a
consideration of relevant facts.
• Moral Imagination − The moral issues and the
practical issues have to be dealt separately. Alternative
responses are to be found out for dealing with moral
issues while creative solutions should be found out for
• Moral Communication − The language to
communicate about one’s moral views should be so
precise and clear, that the expression or words should
not alter the original meaning.
• Though one has all these moral goals, the ethical reasoning for achieving moral
conduct with responsibility and commitment is obtained by a few skills that are
23. • Let us now discuss the important skills for ethical reasoning −
• Moral Reasonableness − The ability and
willingness to be morally reasonable that one
should have while dealing such issues. Unless one
is willing and improve such ability, justice cannot
• Respect for Persons − The persons involved in the
issue, should be treated with genuine concern by
one. Such concern should also be there with
oneself along with being there for others.
• Tolerance of diversity − One should have a broader
perspective towards ethnic and religious
differences that the people have. Every person
differs with another when compared on grounds of
moral reasoning. The acceptance of those
differences is really important.
24. • Moral hope − The moral conflicts can be resolved by
using better communication and having rational
dialogue which is evident-based and open-ended
which is acceptable and appreciable by both the
• Integrity − The moral integrity has to be maintained.
Being honest and having strong moral principles helps
one to resolve an issue in an efficient manner. An
individual also needs to consider other’s professional
life and personal convictions while solving a problem.
26. A moral issue can be understood as an issue to
be resolved not only by considering the
technical stuff but also by keeping moral values
in mind. To be more precise, let us consider the
definition in general.
“Moral issue is a working definition of an issue
of moral concern is presented as any issue with
the potential to help or harm anyone, including
28. There are mainly two types of Moral issues that
we mostly come across while keeping the
ethical aspects in mind to respond. They are −
Micro-ethics: This approach stresses more on
the problems that occur on a daily basis in the
field of engineering and its practice by
Macro-ethics: This approach deals with social
problems which are unknown. However, these
problems may unexpectedly face the heat at
both regional and national levels.
Let us now understand a few examples related
to moral issues.
After a recent collapse of a structure in which
many people died, an Engineer came to know
about a bridge which is marginally safe. He
informed his superior who asked him to stay
calm and not to discuss with anyone, while
waiting for the next year budget sessions to get
some financial help for the repair required.
What should the engineer do?
What should an Engineer who observes his
colleague copying confidential information
unauthorized, do immediately? If he chooses to
stop his friend, what if this gets repeated
without his notice? If he chooses to report the
management, what if his friend loses the job?
Which is morally correct?
An engineer who develops a proto-type for the project,
loses it due to a mishap exactly the day before the
submission. Is it morally correct to outsource the prototype
of the project and reduce the risks of job insecurity? What
should he do?
These are the few examples just to understand the kind of
moral dilemmas. There might be one or more correct
answers at times. There can be some other way around to
deal with the issue, which one can’t easily notice.
However, the decisions have to be made by following a
slow and clear process in order to avoid further problems
and also to solve this in a manner that leads to no regrets.
33. Types of Inquiries
• The issues can be resolved by following an
investigation procedure, step by step in order to
have a clear understanding towards the issue.
Here we have three different types of inquiries.
• Judging the issues has to be followed by a
systematic procedure to avoid any flaws.
Engineering ethics involves investigations into
values, meanings and facts. Following are the
different types of inquiries made for this.
• Normative inquiries
• Conceptual inquiries
• Factual or descriptive inquiries.
35. • Normative Inquiry refers to the description that
describes what one ought to do under a specific
circumstance. This is the expected ideal response,
which might differ from what one believes to be right or
• This list identifies and justifies the morally desirable
nature for guiding individuals or groups. This includes
the responsibility of engineers to protect the public
safety and how they should respond under such
dangerous practices. Normative inquiries also quote the
laws and procedures that affect the engineering
practice on moral grounds. They refer to the thought
process where the moral rights are to be implemented
in order to fulfill their professional obligations.
37. • Conceptual Inquiry refers to the description of
the meaning of concepts, principles and issues
related to engineering ethics. The ethics that an
engineer should possess to protect the safety,
health and welfare of the public, etc. are
described under conceptual inquiries.
• It describes what safety is and mentions the
marginal issues of safety along with the
precautions an engineer should take to avoid
risk. Conceptual inquiries mention the moral
aspects of bribery and how its effects, along
with the professional ethics and
39. • Factual Inquiry or the descriptive inquiry help to
provide the facts for understanding and finding
solutions to the value based issues. The
engineer has to conduct factual inquiries by
using scientific techniques.
• This helps in providing the information
regarding the business realities such as
engineering practice, history of engineering
profession, the effectiveness of professional
societies, the procedures to be adopted when
assessing risks and psychological profiles of
41. At times, the situations occur where one cannot make
immediate decisions as the moral reasons come into
conflict. The moral reasons can be rights, duties, goods
or obligations, which make the decision making
43. The difficulties in arriving to a solution, when segregated,
can be divided into the following three sections.
Vagueness: This refers to the condition where the doubt
lies in whether the action refers to good or bad. This is just
like having a thought that following the rules is mandatory.
This sometimes includes the unwritten rules like being loyal,
having respect, maintaining confidentiality, etc.
Conflicting reasons: When you know about the solutions
you have, the making of better choice among the ones you
have, will be the internal conflict. Fixing the priorities
depends upon the knowledge and the moral values one has.
The reason why the particular choice is being made, makes
44. Disagreement: When there are two or more solutions and
none among them is mandatory, the final solution selected
should be best suitable under existing and the most probable
conditions. The interpretation regarding the moral reasons
behind the choice and analysis should be made keeping in
mind whether this is the better or the worse solution in the
45. (1) The word ethics stands for . . . .
a) Substances, b) Properties of chemicals, c) Study of molarity
d Both A and C, e) Understanding human nature, f) none of
e) Understanding human nature
(2) Factor that affects ethical and unethical behavior . . . .
a) Ethical dilemma, b) Diversity, c) Teamwork, d) Open
communication, e) none of these
a) Ethical dilemma
47. Whenever a person is faced with a moral dilemma, the issue
is to be solved with a stepwise approach as this will
generate a better output. The steps include the following
The step of identification involves the following −
•The issue has to be thoroughly understood.
•The duties and the responsibilities of the persons involved
are to be clearly known.
•The moral factors related to the issue are to be
•The conflicting responsibilities, the competing rights and
the clashing ideas involved are to be identified.
The considerations in the issue are to be listed down. Then
they have to be ranked according to the priorities. The moral
aspect has to be considered to rank the issues. The
advantages of a single person should never be given any
importance unless any moral reason is there behind it. No
partiality is allowed.
The inquiry of details involved in the issue is to be
completely made. All the facts related to the issue are
brought into light. Considering the alternative courses of
action for resolving and tracing, full implications are also
Discussions are to be made with other members, as different
minds look at the issue in different views to give different
solutions. The complete analysis of a problem gives chances
to different viewpoints, perspectives and opinions from
which a better solution can be drawn.
After analyzing different perspectives and considering the
facts and reasons on the basis of truths and understanding the
flaws which lead to the issue, a final solution has to be drawn
out. This solution will add value to the whole analysis, in all
51. Moral Autonomy is the philosophy which is self-
governing or self-determining, i.e., acting
independently without the influence or distortion of
others. The moral autonomy relates to the individual
ideas whether right or wrong conduct which is
independent of ethical issues. The concept of moral
autonomy helps in improving self-determination.
Moral Autonomy is concerned with independent
attitude of a person related to moral/ethical issues.
This concept is found in moral, ethical and even in
52. Moral Autonomy –
Ability to relate the problems with the problems of law, economics
and religious principles
Skill to process, clarify and understand the arguments against the
Ability to suggest the solutions to moral issues on the basis of facts
Must have the imaginative skill to view the problems from all the
Tolerance while giving moral judgment, which may cause trouble
53. •Ability to relate the problems with the problems of law,
economics and religious principles − It is essential to have
the ability to analyze a problem and finding the relation with
the existing law or the topic of issue with the existing
principles on that topic. The ability to distinguish between
both of them and finding the moral reasons.
•Skill to process, clarify and understand the arguments
against the moral issues − If the issue is against some
moral values or the ethical values to be followed in the
society, then clarity should be maintained about the
differences and similarities. Both of these differences and
similarities are to be judged based on why they are a matter of
concern and in what aspect.
54. •Ability to suggest the solutions to moral issues on the
basis of facts − If the moral issues are not fulfilling and
needs to be, then the solutions are to be suggested according
to the moral issues based on the facts and truths of the issue.
These suggestions must be consistent and must include all the
aspects of the problem. No partiality is to be allowed in any
•Must have the imaginative skill to view the problems
from all the viewpoints − After having known about the
facts and illusions of the issue, a clear understanding is
attained in viewing the problem in all kinds of viewpoints.
This enables one to be able to suggest a proper alternative
55. •Tolerance while giving moral judgment, which may
cause trouble − When the whole analysis is made
considering all the viewpoints of the issue, the final output
might be or might not be pleasing to the persons involved.
Hence while declaring the judgment or the decisions taken,
a detailed description of the actions done should be given,
while the actions ought to be done should be presented in a
better way, to ensure others that the decisions have been
taken without any partialities towards any party.
57. •Moral autonomy reflects the concept of individuality.
This relates to the idea of building one’s self with the
moral values one has while developing psychologically.
•To have moral autonomy in all the aspects, one should
have a lot of patience and interest. One should adhere to
the basic principles of humanity and should be strict with
the Don’ts he has in mind and liberal with his Do’s. The
kindness towards his fellow beings is also an important
concept to be kept in mind. Inculcation of all these
important qualities, enhances the skills of Moral autonomy
in a person.
58. •A Person must have adequate knowledge and
understanding about the use of ethical language so as to
defend or support his views with others. He must have
better knowledge in understanding the importance of
suggestions and better solutions while resolving moral
problems and also about the importance of tolerance on
some critical situations.
•Above all, one must understand the importance of
maintaining moral honesty and should be liberal to
understand the human behavior under certain
60. Lawrence Kohlberg was a professor at Harvard
University during the early 1970s and was famous for his
works on developmental psychology. He conducted many
studies at Harvard’s Center for Moral Development and
proposed a theory on moral development which is
popularly known as Kohlberg’s theory.
His theory of moral development was dependent on the
thinking of the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget and the
American philosopher John Dewey. He was also inspired
by James Mark Baldwin. These men had emphasized that
human beings develop philosophically and psychologically
in a progressive fashion.
61. Lawrence Kohlberg’s Theory
Kohlberg proposed that people progress in moral reasoning
based on their ethical behavior. He postulated this theory
based on the thinking of younger children throughout their
growing period as adults. He conveyed that younger
children make judgment based on the consequences that
might occur and the older children make judgment based
on their intuitions.
He believed that there are six stages of moral development
which are further classified into three levels. The following
illustration shows the different levels.
62. Pre-conventional Level
This can be understood as the first level of moral thinking,
which is generally found at Elementary school level. The
thinker at this stage tends to think and behave based on
the direct consequences that might occur. There are two
sub-stages in this.
63. Avoid Punishments
A thinker at this stage generally thinks and believes that the judgment are
to be made as per the socially acceptable norms as they are said so by
some higher official (a teacher or a parent). This is a child-like
obedience, in order to avoid punishments.
These thoughts are based on the idea that the protagonist should not
disobey the law or rules.
A thinker at this stage, shows interest in making decisions according to
the rewards they get in exchange. This second stage is characterized by a
view that right behavior means acting in one's own best interests.
In this stage, they tend to follow the rules of authority because they
believe that this is necessary to ensure positive relationships and societal
64. Conventional Level
This can be understood as the second level of moral thinking,
which is generally found at the primary and high school level.
The thinker at this stage tends to think and behave based on
the want to please others. There are two sub-stages in this.
65. Getting people to like them
At this stage, the ideas of the society are considered. This level can be
that where the protagonist behaves on account of the moral grounds
which people decide for decision making. This decision may or may
not support the law. Whatever the result is, the thinking process is
based on how to impress others or society and on how to please the
Maintain functioning in society
A thinker at this stage, considers to follow the rules for the good of
the society. The moral grounds on how people in the society will
consider the job done will be the priority, because the thinker believes
that a social order is maintained by abiding by the rules.
Hence a thinker sticks to the idea that the protagonist should follow
the moral values. The thinker’s behavior is driven by the authority
while his thinking conforms to the social order.
66. Post-Conventional Level
This can be understood as the third level of Moral thinking,
which is generally found after the high school level. The
thinker at this stage tends to think and behave based on a sense
of justice. There are two sub-stages in this.
67. Reject rigidity of laws
In this level, the thinker uses his moral thinking skills at a
commendable pace. He starts to feel for the protagonist based on
moral grounds. He also might have an opinion that the rules have to
be changed according to humanitarian values. The thinker rejects the
rigidity of the existing laws and rules at this stage.
Sense of justice
This is the pinnacle stage of Moral development where the thinker
feels a sense of justice for the protagonist. The thinker has great moral
values that he keeps himself free from the external factors that might
influence his thinking process.
These are the three main sections of moral development proposed by
Lawrence Kohlberg. Let us now try to have some detailed idea on this
with an example.
68. Lawrence Kohlberg quoted an example for his Moral development
theory. This example is popularly called the Heinz’s Dilemma.
Story of Heinz
A story of a middle-aged ordinary middle-class man, called Heinz is
considered as an example. Heinz is an ordinary man having a wife.
His wife suffers from a dreadful disease. Doctors believe that a special
drug which was invented recently and is available at the BIG pharma
store, can only save his wife.
When Heinz went to buy the drug, the drug-seller costed it around
$2,000 dollars, while the actual manufacturing cost of the drug is $20
dollars. Heinz borrowed the money from friends and lenders and could
finally collect only $1,000 dollars. Though Heinz pleaded a lot,
the greedy drug-seller refused to sell the drug at low cost.
Now, Heinz had no other option but to steal the drug from the shop
to save the life of his wife. Is this a better option to do? What is your
69. Now, to solve this Heinz’s dilemma, a thinker has the
70. Options for the Thinker
In this section, we will discuss the options for the Thinker.
•Heinz should not steal the drug because it is the
disobedience of law.
•Heinz can steal the drug, but should be punished by the
71. Heinz can steal the drug and no law should punish him.
The answer which you choose indicates your moral development. Each
answer has its consequences and explanation. Let us go through the
Heinz should not steal the drug because it is the disobedience of law.
This decision makes it impossible for Heinz to save his wife. His wife
dies and the rich drug-seller becomes richer. Though the law was
obeyed, no moral justice was done. This is a pre-conventional level of
Heinz can steal the drug, but should be punished by the law.
This decision helps Heinz save his wife, but Heinz will be kept in
prison. Though Heinz took a moral decision, he had to undergo the
punishment. This is a Conventional level of moral thinking.
Heinz can steal the drug and no law should punish him.
This decision lets Heinz save his wife and both of them can live
happily. This thinking is based on the thought that the rigidity in law
should be rejected and justice should be done on moral grounds. This is
a post-conventional level of moral thinking.
73. This is an advancement of Kohlberg’s theory. It had been
observed that Kohlberg’s theory was proposed based on the
moral thinking of privileged white men and boys. Hence this
theory was popularized by taking both male and female
thinking capabilities into account.
Carol Gilligan, a psychological theorist was born on Nov 28,
1936 in the New York city. She pursued her doctorate degree
in Social Psychology from the Harvard University. Gilligan
was a research assistant for Lawrence Kohlberg, but she
eventually became independent and criticized some of his
74. Gilligan’s Theory
Carol Gilligan opines that Kohlberg’s theories are
biased upon the male thinking process. According to
Gilligan, Kohlberg seemed to have studied
only privileged men and boys. She believed
that women face a lot of psychological challenges and
they are not moral widgets. The women’s point of view
on moral development involves caring which shows its
effect on human relationships.
Hence she proposed a theory which has the same three
stages of Kohlberg but with different stages of moral
development. Let us understand the stages in detail.
75. Though the names of the stages are the same, the stages
differ in this method. The moral development in Gilligan’s
theory are based on pro-social behaviors such as Altruism,
caring and helping and the traits such as honesty, fairness
76. Pre-conventional Level
•A person in this stage cares for oneself to ensure survival.
•Though the person’s attitude is selfish, this is the transition
phase, where the person finds the connection between
oneself and others.
•In this stage, the person feels responsible and shows care
towards other people.
•Carol Gilligan believes that this moral thinking can be
identified in the role of a mother and a wife. This sometimes
leads to the ignorance of the self.
•This is the stage, where the principle of care for self as well
as others, is accepted.
•However, a section of people may never reach this level.
77. According to the Carol Gilligan’s theory of moral
development, changes occur due to the change of self rather
than the critical thinking. It was stated that the post-
conventional level of Kohlberg is not attained by women. But
Carol Gilligan researched and found that the post-
conventional level of thinking is not being easy for women to
go through because they care for the relationships.
78. Levels of Thinking
Carol Gilligan states that the post-conventional level of
moral thinking can be dealt based on the two types of
thinking. Gilligan’s theory is based on the two main ideas,
the care-based morality (usually found in women) and the
justice-based morality (usually found in men).
79. Care-based Morality
Care-based morality is the kind of thinking found in women.
This is based on the following principles.
•More emphasis is given to inter-connected relationships and
•Acting justly focuses on avoidance of violence.
•Women with this are usually interested in helping others.
•More common in girls because of their connections to their
•Because girls remain connected to their mothers, they are less
inclined to worry about issues of fairness.
80. Justice-based Morality
Justice-based morality is the kind of thinking found in men.
This is based on the following principles.
•They view the world as being composed of autonomous
individuals who interact with one another.
•Acting justly means avoiding inequality.
•Individuals with this are usually interested in protecting
•Thought to be more common among boys because of their
need to differentiate between themselves and their mothers.
•Because they are separated from their mothers, boys become
more concerned with the concept of inequality.
Profession means a job or an occupation, that helps a person
earn his living. The main criteria of a profession involves the
•Advanced expertise − The criteria of a profession is to have
sound knowledge in both technical aspects and liberal arts as
well. In general, continuing education and updating knowledge
are also important.
•Self-regulation − An organization that provides a profession,
plays a major role in setting standards for the admission to the
profession, drafting codes of ethics, enforcing the standards of
conduct and representing the profession before the public and
•Public good − Any occupation serves some public good by
maintaining high ethical standards throughout a profession.
This is a part of professional ethics where each occupation is
intended to serve for the welfare of the public, directly or
indirectly to a certain extent.
A person who is paid for getting onvolved in a
particular profession in order to earn a living as
well as to satisfy the laws of that profession can
be understood as a Professional. The definition
of a professional is given differently by
different experts in the field. Let us see the
following definitions −
•“Only consulting engineers who are basically
independent and have freedom from coercion
can be called as professionals.” − Robert L.
84. •“Professionals have to meet the expectations of
clients and employers. Professional restrains are to be
imposed by only laws and government regulations
and not by personal conscience.” − Samuel Florman
•“Engineers are professionals when they attain
standards of achievement in education, job
performance or creativity in engineering and accept
the most basic moral responsibilities to the public as
well as employers, clients, colleagues and
subordinates.” - Mike martin and Ronald
85. Models of Professional Engineers
An engineer who is a professional, has some tasks to perform by
which he acts as any of the following, which can be termed as
Models of Professional Engineers.
•Savior − A person who saves someone or something from any
danger is called a Savior. An engineer who saves a group of
people or a company from a technical danger can also be called
a Savior. The Y2K problem that created problems for computers
and computer networks around the world was solved by
engineers who were the saviors.
•Guardian − A person who knows the direction towards a better
future is known to be the Guardian for the same. An engineer
who knows the direction in which there is scope for the
technology to develop can also be called a Guardian. This
engineer provides the organization with innovative ideas for
86. •Bureaucratic Servant − A person who is loyal and can solve
problems when they occur using his own skills, is a
Bureaucratic servant. An engineer who can be a loyal person
to the organization and also the one who solves the technical
problems the company encounters, using his special skills can
be termed as a Bureaucratic servant. The company relies on
his decision-making capability for the future growth.
•Social Servant − A person who works for the benefit of the
society without any selfish interest and does not work on any
business grounds, is called a Social servant. An engineer who
receives a task as part of the government’s concern for the
society considering the directives laid by the society and
accomplishes the assigned tasks can be termed as a Social
Servant. He knows what the society needs.
87. •Social Enabler or Catalyst − A person who makes the
society understand its welfare and works towards the
benefits of the people in it, is a Social Enabler. An engineer
who plays a vital role in a company and helps company
along with society to understand their needs and supports
their decisions in work can be termed as a Social Enabler or
Catalyst. This person quickens the procedure and helps
maintain good environment in the company.
•Game Player − A person who plays a game according to
the rules given is a Game player in general. An engineer who
acts as neither a servant nor a master, but provides his
services and plans his works according to the economic
game rules in a given time, can be termed as a Game
player. He is smart enough to handle the economic
conditions of the company.
Professionalism covers comprehensively all areas of practice of
a particular profession. It requires skills and responsibilities
involved in engineering profession. Professionalism implies a
certain set of attitudes.
The art of Professionalism can be understood as the practice of
doing the right thing, not because how one feels but regardless
of how one feels. Professionals make a profession of the specific
kind of activity and conduct to which they commit themselves
and to which they can be expected to conform. Moral ideals
specify virtue, i.e., desirable feature of character. Virtues are
desirable ways of relating to other individuals, groups and
organizations. Virtues involve motives, attitudes and emotions.
According to Aristotle, virtues are the “acquired habits that
enable us to engage effectively in rational activities that
defines us as human beings.”
89. Professional Ideals and Virtues
The virtues represent excellence in core moral behavior. The
essentials for any professional to excel in the profession are
behavior, skills and knowledge. The behavior shows the moral
ideology of the professional.
The moral ideals specify the virtue, i.e., the desirable character
traits that talk a lot about the motives,
attitude and emotions of an individual.
•Public spirited virtues
•Team work virtues
The virtues mentioned above show the professional
responsibility of an individual. Hence, the professionalism that
comes in with these virtues is called Responsible
Professionalism. Let us now understand each virtue in detail.
90. Public-spirited Virtues
An engineer should focus on the good of the clients and the public at large,
which means no harm should be done intentionally. The code of professional
conduct in the field of engineering includes avoiding harm and protecting, as
well promoting the public safety, health and welfare.
Maintaining a sense of community with faith and hope within the society and
being generous by extending time, talent and money to professional
societies and communities, an engineer can maintain the public-spirited
virtue. Finally, justice within corporations, government and economic
practices becomes an essential virtue that an engineer should always
These refer to the virtues followed in the profession according to the talent
and intellect of an engineer. The moral values that include this virtue are
competence and diligence. The competence is being successful in the job
being done and the diligence is taking care and having alertness to dangers
in the job. Creativity should also be present in accomplishing the assigned
91. Teamwork Virtues
These virtues represent the coordination among team
members which means working successfully with other
professionals. These include cooperative nature along with
loyalty and respect towards their organization, which makes
the engineers motivate the team professionals to work
towards their valuable goals.
These virtues are concerned with moral responsibilities which
represent integrity and self-respect of the person. The
integrity actually means the moral integrity which refers to the
actions, attitude and emotions of the person concerned
during his professional period.
The self-governance virtues center on commitment, courage,
self-discipline, perseverance, self-respect and integrity. The
truthfulness and trustworthiness which represent his honesty
are the crucial moral values to be kept up by a professional.
Meta-ethics is the branch of
ethics that seeks to understand
the nature of ethical
attitudes, and judgments.
According to Richard Garner
and Bernard Rosen,
1.What is the meaning of moral
terms or judgments?
2.What is the nature of moral
3.How may moral judgments be
supported or defended?
95. Normative ethics investigates the set of questions that arise when
considering how one ought to act, morally speaking.
Normative ethics can be divided into the sub-disciplines of moral
theory and applied ethics.
Three competing views:
96. Applied ethics is the philosophical examination, from a moral
standpoint, of particular issues in private and public life that are
matters of moral judgment.
• Bio ethics
• Business ethics
• Professional ethics
• Machine ethics
• Relational ethics
• Military ethics
• Public service ethics
Honesty refers to a facet of moral character and
denotes positive, virtuous attributes such as
integrity, truthfulness, and straightforwardness along
with the absence of lying, cheating, or theft.
“Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I
O Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions,
values, methods, measures, principles,
expectations, and outcomes.
O Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of
hypocrisy, that it regards internal consistency as a
O The word "integrity" derived from the Latin
adjective integer that means “wholeness”.
“Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless,
and knowledge without integrity is dangerous
and dreadful.” - Samuel Johnson
O Transparency is a general quality.
O It is implemented by a set of policies, practices and
O It allow citizens to have accessibility, usability,
utility, understandability, informativeness and
auditability of information and process held by
centers of authority (society or organizations).
“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep
sense of insecurity.”
O Accountability is often used synonymously with
such concepts as
answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and other
terms associated with the expectation of account-
O It is the acknowledgment and assumption of
responsibility for actions, products, decisions, and
policies and be answerable for resulting
O It cannot exist without proper accounting practices.
O Political accountability
O Ethical accountability
O Accountability in administration &
O Individual accountability
O Constituency relations
O Public/private overlap
“When a man points a finger at someone else, he
should remember that four of his fingers are pointing
at himself.” — Louis Nizer
O Confidentiality is an ethical principle of
discretion associated with the professions, such as
medicine, law, psychotherapy.
O In law, and mediation, there exist communications
between the client and the professional, which are
O In business, the confidentiality of information, a
mainstream adaptation of the “need to know”
O In military, it is basic to the security of corporate
O Objectivity is a principle of journalistic
O In journalism, objectivity may synonymous with
O Objectivity in journalism enables highly
accelerated news reporting and delivery, which
sometimes is at tension with standards of
“The belief in objectivity is a faith in 'facts,' a distrust
in 'values,' and a commitment to their
O Respect gives a positive feeling of esteem for a person
and conduct representative of that esteem.
O Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual
qualities of the one respected.
O Rude conduct is usually considered to indicate a lack of
respect, disrespect, whereas actions that honor somebody or
something indicate respect.
O The opposite of respect is contempt.
“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the
garbage man or the president of the university.”
• O Respect is shown in many languages such as:
- An honorific is a word or expression.
- An anti-honorific forms.
- A Style is a legal, official, or recognized.
• Hand gesture:
• O When a person's foot accidentally touches a book or
any written material (manifestation of the goddess of
• O This also counts for money, which is considered as a
manifestation of the goddess of wealth Lakshmi.
116. OBEDIENCE TO
O Law is the set of enforced rules under which a
society is governed.
O Law is one of the most basic social institutions-and
one of the most necessary.
O The law thus establishes the rules that define a
person's rights and obligations. The law also sets
penalties for people who violate these rules.
O In fact, laws frequently are changed to reflect
changes in a society's needs and attitudes.
O Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are
enforced through social institutions to govern
117. OBEDIENCE TO
O The formation of laws themselves may be
influenced by a constitution (written or unwritten)
O The law shapes politics, economics and
society in countless ways and serves as a social
mediator of relations between people.
“An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest
for its breach is more so.”
118. OBEDIENCE TO LAW
• Legal subjects
• O International law
• O Constitutional and
• O Criminal law
O Contract law O
• O Property law
• O Equity and trusts
O Civil law
O Common law
O Religious law
O A whistleblower is a person who tells the public
or someone in authority about alleged dishonest or
illegal activities occurring in a government
department or private company or organization.
O A whistleblower is a person who raises concern
about frauds, corruptions, wrongdoings and
O A government employee who exposes corruption
practices within his department is a whistleblower. So is
an employee of a private organization, who raises his
voice against misconduct, within the company.
The misconduct can be classified in several ways, such as:
O Violation of Indian laws.
O Posing direct threat to public interest(Fraud,corruption)
O Violation of health or safety norms.
O Deceptive practices.
123. CODES OF ETHICS
O The primary aspect
of codes of ethics is
to provide the basic
ethical judgment for
124. CODES OF ETHICS
O The codes of ethics are guidelines for specific
group of professionals to help them perform their
roles, to know how to conduct themselves, and to
know how to resolve various ethical issues.
O The codes of ethics help the professionals to apply
moral and ethical principles to the specific
situations encountered in professional practice.
O These codes convey the rights, duties, and
obligations of the members of the profession.
125. POSITIVE ROLES OF CODES
O Support for responsible conduct
O Deterring and disciplining unethical professional conduct
O Education and promoting of mutual understanding
O Contributing to a positive public image of the profession
O Protecting the status quo and suppressing opposition within
O Promoting business interests through restraint of trade
O Ethical codes provide a
positive inspiration for the
professionals to exercise
O These codes inspire the
engineers to apply moral
principles under the
O The ethical codes provide
guidelines for achieving the
obligations of professionals.
O These codes also provide
specific guidelines, which tell
how to apply the code to the
O The ethical codes offer
positive and potential
support to engineers to
perform their duties in
O At times, the codes can
serve as legal support for
those engineers who are
twisted in professional
obligations and conflicts.
129. DETERRENCE AND DISCIPLINE
O The ethical codes can be
used for deterring and
O These codes are also
considered as the formal
basis for investigating
130. EDUCATION AND MUTUAL
O The ethical codes can be used in educational institutions
and other places for emphasizing the importance of moral
issues and values.
O They are also useful to encourage a shared understanding
among professionals, the public and government
organizations concerning the moral responsibilities of
131. CONTRIBUTING TO
O The ethical codes can confer
a positive image to the public
of an ethically committed
O The codes enable the
engineers to serve the public
132. PROTECTING THE STATUS
O The codes institute ethical
conventions. These ethical
conventions can promote a
minimum, acceptable level of
O The codes can also suppress
the dispute within the
133. PROMOTING BUSINESS
O The codes of ethics promote
business interests through
restraint of trade.
O They help in facilitating
morally feasible business
dealings to the professionals.
134. LIMITATIONS OF CODES
O Codes of ethics are broad guidelines, restricted to
general phrases. The codes cannot be applied directly to
O Engineering codes often have internal conflicts, since
several entries in codes overlap with each other, which
may result in moral dilemmas.
O The codes cannot serve as the final moral authority for
135. COMPUTER ETHICS
O Computer ethics is the study of ethical issues that are
associated primarily with computing machines and
O Don’t use a computer to harm other people.
O Don’t interfere with other people’s computer work. O
Don’t snoop around in other people’s computer files. O
Don’t use a computer to steel.
O Don’t copy or use propriety software for which you have
O Don’t use other people’s computer resources without
authorization or proper compensation.
O Don’t appropriate other people’s intellectual output.
O Think about the social consequences of the program you
are waiting or the system you are designing.
O Use a computer in ways that insure considerations and
respect for your fellow humans.
O Medical Code of Ethics is the document establishing the
ethical rules of behaviour of physicians and dental
practitioners, defining the priorities of their professional
work, showing the principles in the relations with
patients, other physicians and the rest of community.
O The greatest ethical imperative for the physician is the
welfare of the patient.
O The physician should approach patients with
consideration, respecting their personal dignity, right to
intimacy and privacy.
O The physician should perform all diagnostic, therapeutic
and preventive procedures with due exactitude and
devoting the necessary time.
O The physician has the duty to maintain confidentiality.
O It is the duty of every physician to continually update and
develop professional knowledge and skills as well as to
share them with co-workers.
O Legal ethics encompasses
an ethical code governing the
conduct of persons engaged in
the practice of law and persons
more generally in the legal
141. CODES OF ETHICS FOR
O Competency (having required knowledge to handle
O Maintaining good communication with clients
O Advise and counsel her clients
O Protecting Client Property
O Honesty (with clients, judges and other parties)
142. CODES OF ETHICS FOR
O Completely provide the information to our lawyer
O Maintaining good communication with lawyer
O Do not harm the opposing party
O Do not deal directly with the opposing party
O Honesty (with lawyer, judges and other parties)
143. CODES OF ETHICS FOR
O Analyze all the data that are provided
O Should not be partial
O Should give the correct judgment
O Should complete the case on time
144. CODES OF ETHICS FOR
O Teachers are duly licensed
professionals who posses
dignity and reputation with
high moral values as well as
technical and professional
145. O Posses and actualize full commitment and devotion to duty.
O Shall not engage in the promotion of any
political, religious, or other partisan interest.
1. The Teacher and the State
2. The Teacher and the Community
O Provide leadership and initiative to actively participate in
O Study and understand local customs and traditions.
146. O Has the right and duty to determine the academic marks
and promotion of learners in the subjects they handle.
O Shall not accept, directly or indirectly, any remuneration
O Base evaluation of the learner’s work on merit and quality
of academic performance.
O Exercise utmost discretion to avoid scandal, gossip and
preferential treatment of the learner.
O Shall not inflict corporal punishment on
learners nor make deductions from their
3. The Teacher and Learners
147. 4. The Teacher and Parents
O Establish and maintain cordial relations with parents.
O Inform parents, through proper authorities of the progress
or deficiencies of learners under him.
O Hear parents’ complaint with sympathy and
5. The Teacher as a Person
O Live with dignity in all places at all times.
O Place premium upon self-respect and self-discipline.
O Maintain at all times a dignified personality.
O Recognize the Almighty God or Being as guide of
his own destiny and of the destinies of men and nations.
O Marketing ethics is the area of applied ethics
which deals with the moral principles
behind the operation and regulation of marketing.
Some areas of marketing ethics (ethics
of advertising and promotion) overlap with media
151. The Three
1) Would you do it if your family was watching?
2) Would you do it if your boss was watching?
3) Would you do it if an officer of the law was
152. Code of Ethics
Respond to each question with either a Y for yes or N for no
to the right of the question’s number.
During the past several months, have I …
1. ___ Conducted personal business on company time?
2. ___ Taken or used company resources for personal purposes?
3. ___ Told or passed along a joke that was in poor taste?
4. ___ Engaged in negative gossip or spread rumors about someone?
5. ___ “Bad mouthed” the organization and/or management to my professional
6. ___ Failed to follow-through on something that I said that I would do?
7. ___ Taken or accepted credit for something that someone else did?
8. ___ Failed to admit to or correct a mistake that I made?
9. ___ Shared information that was told to me in confidence?
10.___ Knowingly ignored/violated an organizational policy or procedure?
153. Examine the
“Man in the Mirror”
Take time to look at …
The “little white lies” that get told;
The office supplies that get taken home;
The commitments that we make but don’t always keep;
The “unimportant” work rules that we’re sure don’t need to be followed
all the time;
The way we treat and talk about our co-workers and fellow employees;
The jokes that we share with others;
The emails that we write and/or forward to others;
The personal business that we allow ourselves to conduct at work; and
The credit that deserves to be shared with, or given to, others for a job
155. Putting the Principles
into Daily Practice
I see myself as an ethical individual. I let my conscience be my guide and I’m always able to
face the mirror. I can look at myself and feel good about what I have done.
I appreciate a sense of satisfaction from my accomplishments and I have faith in my abilities.
My self-esteem keeps me balanced – both personally and professionally.
I believe that things will work out well, even if it takes time. I am comfortable with what
comes my way.
I behave ethically all the time, not just when it’s convenient to do so. And when I make a
commitment to do something, I do it. My behavior is consistent with my intentions.
I take time each day to reflect upon my values, my beliefs, and my priorities. By doing this,
I’m able to focus on my purpose and to “see” things more clearly.
156. WHAT IS A PROFESSION?
The term profession referred to a free act of commitment
to a way of life. When associated with the monastic
vows of a religious order, it referred to a monk’s public
promise to enter a distinct way of life with allegiance to
high moral ideals. One ‘‘professes’’ to be a certain type
of person and to occupy a special social role that
carries with it stringent moral requirements. By the late
17th century, the term had been secularized to refer to
anyone who professed to be duly qualified. It has come
to mean the occupation which one professes to be
skilled in and to follow. A vocation in which professed
knowledge of some branch of learning is used in its
application to the affairs of others, or in the practice of
an art based upon it.
157. Meaning of “Ethics”
“Rational, optimal and appropriate
decision, behavior and response on
the basis of commonly desired
values, preferences and
expectations with effect of
158. What is “Ethics”
Set of standards of conduct and moral
judgments to determine “rightness”
and “wrongness” in behavior and
161. • Rules for ‘right’ and ‘wrong’
• ‘Should be’ or ‘should not be’
• Emotion and belief
• External exposure
• Social description
• Personal description
• Response to society
• Internal exposure
• Driving principles
• Values and norms
• Drive and motivation
162. Philosophy on Ethics
• Virtues: Justice, charity and generosity benefiting the
person and the society (Aristotle)
• State consequentialism: Evaluating the moral worth
of an action based on how much it contributes to the
basic good of a state.
• Utilitarianism: Conduct which produces the
greatest/maximum happiness or benefit to the greatest
number of people.
• Deontological theory: Ethics are central to morality -
a human duty - based on rational people’s respect for
other rational people.
• Hedonism: Maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain
163. Scope of “Ethics”
• Meta-ethics: About the theoretical meaning and
reference of moral propositions and how their truth
values may be determined
• Normative Ethics: Value for service, development,
quality outputs, productivity, competitiveness.
• Descriptive Ethics: Value-free approach to ethics like
“ethical codes”, common pattern of behaviour
irrespective of real life situations. Prescriptive rather than
• Applied ethics: How moral outcomes can be achieved in
164. Scope of “Ethics”
• Value-free approach to
ethics like “ethical
pattern of behaviour
irrespective of real life
rather than normative
• How moral
• Value for
• About the theoretical
reference of moral
propositions and how
their truth values may
165. Basic Principles of Ethics
• Utility principle
• Rights principle
• Fairness principle: Impartiality and
• Social justice principle: Equity
• Professional competency principle
• Efficiency principle
• Accountability principle
166. Types of Ethics
• Ethics of Principled Conviction
– Asserts that intent is the most important factor.
– Good principles enforce ethical act.
• Ethics of Responsibility
– Outcome or consequence oriented ethics.
– Not dependent on high-minded principles.
167. • Values and intentions
• Good principles lead
to ethical behaviour
• Result, impact and
outcome lead to ethical
169. As mentioned previously, Rae suggests that ethics are a
process that is both an art and a science. There are generally
three philosophical approaches, or what may be considered the
science, to ethical reasoning:
1. Utilitarian ethics
2. Deontological ethics
3. Virtue ethics
170. After having gone through the various ethical theories, one can
understand that these ethical theories have to be formulated
considering the following points
• The concepts of the theory formulated must be coherent.
• The doctrines of the theory should never contradict the
• The theory should never be defended upon false
• The theory should guide in specific situations
comprehending all aspects possible.
• The theory should be compatible with individual’s moral
convictions in any situation.
Formulation of Ethical Theories
171. Ethical theories help in the following areas −
• Understanding moral dilemmas.
• Justifying professional obligations and ideas.
• Relating ordinary and professional morality.
Uses of Ethical Theories
173. Utilitarian ethics
• The “utility” (usefulness or moral rightness) of a policy is
measured by its tendency to promote the “good” (or to
• “Nature has placed mankind under the governancy of two
sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone
to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine
what we shall do.”
• “The principle of utility . . . Is that principle which
approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever
according to the tendency which it appears to have to
augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose
interest is in question”
• “By utility is meant that property in any object, whereby it
tends to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good, or
happiness, or to prevent the happening of mischief, pain,
evil, or unhappiness. . .”
174. Deontological ethics
• Action that should be done or avoided regardless
of consequences (Sets of rules in a field are known
as deontological ethics.)
• Based on respect for persons
• Based on requirements of research/work
• Based on role-related responsibilities
175. Virtue ethics
• Virtue ethics is a philosophy developed by
Aristotle and other ancient Greeks. It is the quest
to understand and live a life of moral character.
This character-based approach to morality
assumes that we acquire virtue through practice.
By practicing being honest, brave, just, generous,
and so on, a person develops an honorable and
moral character. According to Aristotle, by honing
virtuous habits, people will likely make the right
choice when faced with ethical challenges.
• So, virtue ethics helps us understand what it
means to be a virtuous human being. And, it gives
us a guide for living life without giving us specific
rules for resolving ethical dilemmas.
178. Different Schools of Thought
Consequentialism All that matters is the consequences of a decision or action;
motivation is not relevant.
Contractarianism It is based on the concept of fairness. All individuals are
accorded equal respect as participants in social arrangements,
leading to the idea of a social contract and the right of
individuals to veto a proposed
Pluralism Focuses on the concept of duty – individuals have an obligation
to each other to be open, honest and fair.
Focuses on the need of the individual to be enriched by the
decision made and to feel comfortable with it. Other affected
179. Moral Agent
• A moral agent is a person who has the ability to discern right from
wrong and to be held accountable for his or her own actions. Moral
agents have a moral responsibility not to cause unjustified harm.
• Traditionally, moral agency is assigned only to those who can be held
responsible for their actions. Children, and adults with certain mental
disabilities, may have little or no capacity to be moral agents. Adults
with full mental capacity relinquish their moral agency only in extreme
situations, like being held hostage.
• By expecting people to act as moral agents, we hold people
accountable for the harm they cause others.
• So, do corporations have moral agency? As artificial intelligence
develops, will robots have moral agency? And what about socially
intelligent non-human animals such as dolphins and elephants?
• Indeed, future philosophers and legal scholars will need to consider
moral agency as it applies to these situations and others.
180. Moral Absolutism
• Moral absolutism asserts that there are certain universal moral
principles by which all peoples’ actions may be judged. It is a form of
• The challenge with moral absolutism, however, is that there will
always be strong disagreements about which moral principles are
correct and which are incorrect.
• For example, most people around the world probably accept the idea
that we should treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves. But
beyond that, people from different countries likely hold varying views
about everything from the morality of abortion and capital punishment
to nepotism and bribery.
• Moral absolutism contrasts with moral relativism, which denies that
there are absolute moral values. It also differs from moral pluralism,
which urges tolerance of others’ moral principles without concluding
that all views are equally valid.
• So, while moral absolutism declares a universal set of moral values, in
reality, moral principles vary greatly among nations, cultures, and
181. Moral Cognition
• Moral cognition is the study of the brain’s role in moral judgment and
decision-making. As a social science, it involves understanding the
rationalizations and biases that affect moral decision-making. Moral
cognition also involves the scientific study of the brain that is evolving
along with technology.
• Researchers who study moral cognition attempt to provide social and
biological explanations for how our brains process information and
make moral or immoral choices. Some scientist examine genetic and
molecular influences, while others use neuroimaging to map the areas
of the brain that direct people’s choices.
• Moral thinking appears to be a complicated process. There is no single
seat of moral activity in the brain. However, a network of various
regions of the brain does consistently appear to be involved in moral
• So, the study of moral cognition does not aim to tell people what
choices they should make. Rather, it attempts to explain how and why
people make the moral choices that they do.
182. Moral Emotions
• Emotions – that is to say feelings and intuitions – play a major role in
most of the ethical decisions people make. Most people do not realize
how much their emotions direct their moral choices. But experts think
it is impossible to make any important moral judgments without
• Inner-directed negative emotions like guilt, embarrassment, and shame
often motivate people to act ethically.
• Outer-directed negative emotions, on the other hand, aim to discipline
or punish. For example, people often direct anger, disgust, or contempt
at those who have acted unethically. This discourages others from
behaving the same way.
183. Moral Emotions
• Positive emotions like gratitude and admiration, which people may feel
when they see another acting with compassion or kindness, can prompt
people to help others.
• Emotions evoked by suffering, such as sympathy and empathy, often
lead people to act ethically toward others. Indeed, empathy is the
central moral emotion that most commonly motivates prosocial activity
such as altruism, cooperation, and generosity.
• So, while we may believe that our moral decisions are influenced most
by our philosophy or religious values, in truth our emotions play a
significant role in our ethical decision-making.
184. Moral Equilibrium
• Moral equilibrium is the idea that most people keep a running mental
scoreboard where they compare their self-image as a good person with what
they actually do.
• When we do something inconsistent with our positive self-image, we naturally
feel a deficit on the good side of our scoreboard. Then, we will often actively
look for an opportunity to do something good to bring things back into
equilibrium. This is called moral compensation.
• Conversely, when we have done something honorable, we feel a surplus on the
good side of our mental scoreboard. Then, we may then give ourselves
permission not to live up to our own ethical standards. This is called moral
• For example, Oral Suer, the hard-working CEO of the Washington D.C.-area
United Way, raised more than $1 billion for local charities. Unfortunately,
Suer gave himself license to divert substantial sums intended for the charity
for his personal use to reward himself for his good deeds.
• So, our tendency to maintain moral equilibrium may mean that we will act
unethically. Indeed, we must guard against our natural inclination to give
ourselves permission to depart from our usual moral standards.
185. Moral Imagination
• Moral imagination, according to philosopher Mark Johnson, means
envisioning the full range of possibilities in a particular situation in order to
solve an ethical challenge. Johnson emphasizes that acting morally often
requires more than just strength of character. For example, moral action
requires empathy and the awareness to discern what is morally relevant in a
• Moral imagination, as defined by Minette Drumwright and Patrick Murphy, is
the ability to be simultaneously ethical and successful by envisioning new and
creative alternatives. In other words, can people look beyond the dollars-and-
cents impact of a decision to see how it affects others?
• For example, consider Nestle Foods. The company refused to target young
children with advertising for its high sugar, high fat products. Instead, to keep
the company competitive in that market, it innovated and created new,
healthier products to advertise to young children.
• Indeed, moral imagination, combined with creativity and moral courage,
enables both individuals and businesses to act more ethically in society.
186. Moral Muteness
• Moral muteness occurs when people witness unethical behavior and choose
not to say anything. It can also occur when people communicate in ways that
obscure their moral beliefs and commitments.
• When we see others acting unethically, often the easiest thing to do is look the
other way. Studies show that less than half of those who witness organizational
wrongdoing report it. To speak out risks conflict, and we tend to avoid conflict
because we pay an emotional and social cost for it.
• For example, in one study, psychologist Harold Takooshian planted fur coats,
cameras, and TVs inside 310 locked cars in New York City. He sent a team of
volunteers to break into the cars and steal the valuables, asking the “thieves” to
act in an obviously suspicious manner. About 3,500 people witnessed the
break-ins, but only 9 people took any kind of action. Of those who spoke up,
five were policemen.
• Indeed, only a relatively small percentage of people who see wrongdoing
speak up. But, if we wish to be ethical people, we must strive to combat moral
muteness in all areas of our lives.
187. Moral Myopia
• Moral myopia refers to the inability to see ethical issues clearly.
• The term, coined by Minette Drumwright and Patrick Murphy, describes what
happens when we do not recognize the moral implications of a problem or we
have a distorted moral vision. An extreme version of moral myopia is called
• For example, people may become so focused on other aspects of a situation,
like pleasing their professor or boss or meeting sales targets, that ethical issues
• Organizations can experience moral myopia too, as Major League Baseball did
during the steroid era. For more than a decade, players got bigger, hit more
home runs, and revenues rose dramatically. But the League didn’t see it, even
as evidence of steroid use was rampant.
• Societies may also suffer moral myopia, as they often have done at the
expense of minorities. For instance, the treatment of Native Americans and the
enslavement of African-Americans are two examples of moral blindness in the
history of the United States.
• Moral myopia is closely related to ethical fading. In both cases, people’s
perception of reality becomes altered so that ethical issues are indistinct and
hidden from view.
188. Moral Philosophy
• Moral philosophy is the branch of philosophy that contemplates what is right
and wrong. It explores the nature of morality and examines how people should
live their lives in relation to others.
• Moral philosophy has three branches.
• One branch, meta-ethics, investigates big picture questions such as, “What is
morality?” “What is justice?” “Is there truth?” and “How can I justify my
beliefs as better than conflicting beliefs held by others?”
• Another branch of moral philosophy is normative ethics. It answers the
question of what we ought to do. Normative ethics focuses on providing a
framework for deciding what is right and wrong. Three common frameworks
are deontology, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics.
• The last branch is applied ethics. It addresses specific, practical issues of moral
importance such as war and capital punishment. Applied ethics also tackles
specific moral challenges that people face daily, such as whether they should
lie to help a friend or co-worker.
• So, whether our moral focus is big picture questions, a practical framework, or
applied to specific dilemmas, moral philosophy can provide the tools we need
to examine and live an ethical life.
189. Moral Pluralism
• Moral pluralism is the idea that there can be conflicting moral views that are
each worthy of respect.
• Moral pluralists tend to be open-minded when faced with competing
viewpoints. They analyze issues from several moral points of view before
deciding and taking action.
• Moral pluralists believe that many moral issues are extremely complicated.
Thus, no single philosophical approach will always provide all the answers.
• For example, assume a building is on fire. A woman has the opportunity to
rush inside and save the children trapped in the burning building. But in doing
this she may die, and leave her own child an orphan. A moral pluralist would
conclude that there is no definitive way to decide which is the better course of
moral action. Indeed, moral pluralism declares that it is sometimes difficult to
choose between competing values.
• So, moral pluralism occupies a sensible middle ground between “there is only
one right answer” as moral absolutism says, and “there is no wrong answer”
as moral relativism claims.
190. Moral Psychology
• Moral psychology is the study of moral identity development, or how people
integrate moral ideals with the development of their own character.
• Moral psychology differs from moral philosophy in that it studies how we
make decisions, rather than exploring what moral decisions we should make. It
encompasses the study of moral judgment, moral reasoning, moral character,
and many related subjects at the intersection of philosophy and psychology.
• Moral psychologists are interested in answering a wide range of questions such
as, “What types of thinking give rise to moral judgment, and how did they
evolve?” “What levels of moral development are found in children and
animals?” and “What role do intuitions play in moral judgment and decision-
• For centuries, philosophers have been contemplating fundamental issues such
as “What does it mean to be a ‘good’ person?” without resolving them. So, by
adding the tools of psychology to those of philosophy, we may be able to shine
more light on such difficult questions.
191. Moral Reasoning
• Moral reasoning applies critical analysis to specific events to determine what
is right or wrong, and what people ought to do in a particular situation. Both
philosophers and psychologists study moral reasoning.
• How we make day-to-day decisions like “What should I wear?” is similar to
how we make moral decisions like “Should I lie or tell the truth?” The brain
processes both in generally the same way.
• Moral reasoning typically applies logic and moral theories, such as deontology
or utilitarianism, to specific situations or dilemmas. However, people are not
especially good at moral reasoning. Indeed, the term moral dumbfounding
describes the fact that people often reach strong moral conclusions that they
cannot logically defend.
• In fact, evidence shows that the moral principle or theory a person chooses to
apply is often, ironically, based on their emotions, not on logic. Their choice is
usually influenced by internal biases or outside pressures, such as the self-
serving bias or the desire to conform.
• So, while we likely believe we approach ethical dilemmas logically and
rationally, the truth is our moral reasoning is usually influenced by intuitive,
192. Moral Relativism
• Moral relativism is the idea that there is no universal or absolute set of moral principles.
It’s a version of morality that advocates “to each her own,” and those who follow it say,
“Who am I to judge?”
• Moral relativism can be understood in several ways.
• Descriptive moral relativism, also known as cultural relativism, says that moral
standards are culturally defined, which is generally true. Indeed, there may be a few
values that seem nearly universal, such as honesty and respect, but many differences
appear across cultures when people evaluate moral standards around the world.
• Meta-ethical moral relativism states that there are no objective grounds for preferring
the moral values of one culture over another. Societies make their moral choices based
on their unique beliefs, customs, and practices. And, in fact, people tend to believe that
the “right” moral values are the values that exist in their own culture.
• Normative moral relativism is the idea that all societies should accept each other’s
differing moral values, given that there are no universal moral principles. Most
philosophers disagree however. For example, just because bribery is okay in some
cultures doesn’t mean that other cultures cannot rightfully condemn it.
• Moral relativism is on the opposite end of the continuum from moral absolutism, which
says that there is always one right answer to any ethical question. Indeed, those who
adhere to moral relativism would say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
195. A Sociological Analysis of Professionalism
Among the several traditions of sociological analysis of the
professions, one of the most influential has a distinctly economic
orientation. These sociologists view attaining professional status
as a tactic to gain power or advantage in the marketplace.
Professions have considerable power in the marketplace to
command high salaries, so they conclude that professional status
is highly desirable. If we distinguish between an occupation,
which is simply a way to make a living, and a profession, the
question is how a transition from a ‘‘mere’’ occupation to a
profession is accomplished. The answer is to be found in a series
of characteristics that are marks of professional status.
196. 1. Extensive training
Entrance into a profession typically requires an extensive period of
training, and this training is of an intellectual character. Many
occupations require extensive apprenticeship and training, and
they often require practical skills, but the training typically
required of professionals focuses more on intellectual con tent
than practical skills. Professionals’ knowledge and skills are
grounded in a body of theory. This theoretical base is obtained
through formal education, usually in an academic institution.
Today, most professionals have at least a bachelor’s degree from
a college or university, and many professions require more
advanced degrees, which are often conferred by a professional
school. Thus, the professions are usually closely allied in our
society with universities, especially the larger and more
prestigious ones. Although extensive training may be required
for professional work, the requirement of university training
serves as a barrier to limit the number of professionals and thus
to provide them with an economic advantage.
197. 2. Vital knowledge and skills
Professionals’ knowledge and skills are vital to the well-
being of the larger society. A society that has a
sophisticated scientific and technological base is
especially dependent on its professional elite. We rely
on the knowledge possessed by physicians, lawyer, and
accountant. Likewise, we are dependent on the
knowledge and research of scientists and engineers for
our safety from hazards, for many of the technological
advances on which our material civilization rests, and
for national defense. Since professional services are
vital to the general welfare, citizens are willing to pay
any price to get them.
198. 3. Control of services
Professions usually have a monopoly on, or at least
considerable control over, the provision of professional
services in their area. This control is achieved in two
ways. First, the profession convinces the community
that only those who have graduated from a professional
school should be allowed to hold the professional title.
The profession usually also gains considerable control
over professional schools by establishing accreditation
standards that regulate the quality.
199. 3. Control of services
Second, a profession often attempts to persuade the
community that there should be a licensing system for
those who want to enter the profession. Those who
practice without a license are subject to legal penalties.
Although it can be argued that monopoly is necessary
to protect the public from unqualified practitioners, it
also increases the power of professionals in the
200. 4. Autonomy in the workplace
Professionals often have an unusual degree of autonomy
in the workplace. This is especially true of
professionals in private practice, but even professionals
who work in large organizations may exercise a large
degree of individual judgment and creativity in
carrying out their professional responsibilities. Whether
in private practice or in an organizational setting,
physicians must determine the most appropriate type of
medical treatment for their patients, and lawyers must
decide the most successful type of defense of their
201. 4. Autonomy in the workplace
This is one of the most satisfying aspects of professional
work. The justification for this unusual degree of
autonomy is that only the professional has sufficient
knowledge to determine the appropriate professional
services in a given situation. Besides providing a more
satisfying work environment for professionals,
autonomy may also increase the ability of professionals
to more easily promote their economic self-interest. For
example, a EE might order more necessary protection
because they are performed by a firm in which she has
a financial interest.
202. 5. Claim to ethical regulation
Professionals claim to be regulated by ethical standards,
many of which are embodied in a code of ethics. The
degree of control that professions possess over the
services that are vital to the well-being of the rest of the
community provides an obvious temptation for abuse,
so most professions attempt to limit these abuses by
regulating themselves for the public benefit.
Professional codes are ordinarily promulgated by
professional societies and, in the United States, by state
boards that regulate the professions. Sometimes
professional societies attempt to punish members who
violate their codes, but their powers are limited to
expelling errant members.
203. 5. Claim to ethical regulation
State boards have much stronger legal powers, including
the ability to withdraw professional licenses and even
institute criminal proceedings. These regulatory
agencies are controlled by professionals themselves,
and so the claim to genuine ethical regulation is
sometimes seen to be suspicious. The claim to self-
regulation does, however, tend to prompt the public to
allow professionals to charge what they want and to
allow professionals considerable autonomy.
204. According to this sociological analysis, the identifying
characteristics of professions may have one or both of
two functions: altruistic and self-interest. Arguments
can certainly be made that these characteristics of
professionalism are necessary in order to protect and
better serve the public. For example, professionals
must be adequately trained, and they must have a
certain amount of freedom to determine what is best for
the client. One can also view these characteristics as
ways of promoting the economic self-interest of
professionals. Thus, there is a certain amount of moral
cynicism in this analysis, or perhaps moralism.
206. Public Service Values
207. Bureaucratic Ethics
Bureaucratic ethics is defined around "fairness"
in action and behaviour for public interest
comprising of trust, consistency, truthfulness,
integrity, clearly stated expectations, equitable
treatment, a sense of ownership, mutual respect
and impartial decision making.
Public interest or the best interest of the people is
the ethical framework and guiding philosophy
for professional civil service.
208. Values and Morals:
Complementarity with Ethics
• Values are the rules by which we make
decisions about right and wrong, should and
should not, good or bad, feasible or
infeasible, and so on.
• Morals have a greater social element to
values and tend to have a very broad
acceptance. These are the people’s
fundamental beliefs and motivational basis
for ethical judgment in social condition.
209. Different Views on Ethical
• Utilitarian View
Where moral behaviour is that which delivers the greatest good to
the greatest number of people.
• Individualism View
Where moral behaviour is that which is best for long-term self-
• Moral-Rights View
Where moral behaviour is that which respects fundamental rights
shared by all human beings.
• Justice View
Where moral behaviour is that which is impartial, fair and equitable
in treating people. (Protective, distributive and procedural justice)
210. Particular Fields of Application
• Bioethics: Controversial ethics brought
about by advances in biotechnology like
cloning, gene therapy, genetic engineering
• Geo-ethics: Ethical management of
relationship between human and earth
• Service ethics: Effective service delivery
with public service motivation
• Relational ethics: Managing professional
211. • Performance ethics: Delivery of standard
and ethical performance
• Political ethics: Political neutrality
• Developmental ethics: Right approach,
priority and allocation for development
• Innovation ethics: valuing innovation and
212. Ethical Responsibility
Involves more than leading a decent, honest,
And it involves something much more than
making wise choices when such choices
suddenly, unexpectedly present themselves.
Our moral obligations must . . . include a
willingness to engage others in the difficult
work of defining the crucial choices that
confront technological society .
213. Ethical Standards
• Professional responsibility and
• Learning and professional development
• Contribution to institutional development
• Responsibility towards societal issues of
214. Benefits of Ethical Management
• Social responsiveness
• Transparency and accountability
• Standardized performance and reputation
• Performance and service culture
• Attraction and retention of competent human
• Customer support
• Orientation to reform and improvements
• Social legitimacy
• Teamwork and productivity
216. Basic Principles
• Clear ethical standards
• Legal framework: Adequate and appropriate
• Ethical guidance for public servants
• Knowledge of rights, obligations and consequences to public
• Political reinforcement to public service ethics
• Public scrutiny and transparency of decision making process
• Guidelines for interaction between public and private sectors
• Policy, institution, systems and methods for promoting ethics
• Adequate and appropriate accountability mechanisms
• Appropriate sanction against non-compliance and unethical
217. Values of Public Service
• Providing public benefits: Adequacy, Utility and
• Emotional competence for performance and
• Promoting democracy and governance
• Empowering citizens and clients
• Continuous improvement for better performance
• Politico-administrative synergy in delivery of
218. Who are Professionals
• Expert power
• Harmonized ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’
• Use of expertise responsibly: integrity
• Marked as professionals: Legitimacy
• Delivering capacity for professional results
• Culture of performance, development,
• Professional networking capacity:
219. Professional Ethics
• Personal, organizational and corporate
standards of behaviour expected of
• Making rational judgments, application of
skill, knowledge and competency for
• Professional neutrality, impartiality and
220. Professional Ethics
• Principles that guide the actions and
decisions of professionals, and determine
if they are good or bad, or right or
wrong, or rational or irrational, or just or
• Professional capability for securing
social, technical and professional
legitimacy of decisions and actions.
• Instrument for ensuring social
222. Occupational Ethics
“Among the universal ethical values
are honesty, integrity, promise-
keeping, fidelity, fairness, respect
for others, responsible citizenship,
pursuit of excellence and
- Michael Josephson
224. Understanding Professional
• Professional ethics is the field of
applied ethics and system of moral
principles that apply the practice of
certain profession or occupation.
• The field examines and sets the
obligations by professionals to society,
to the client, and to the profession.
225. Determinants of Occupational
• Ethical considerations to public,
• Fulfilment of professional standards of
• Contribution to development of
226. Ethical Principles for Profession
• Professionals shall hold paramount the
safety, health and welfare of the public and
shall strive to comply with the principles of
sustainable development in the performance
of their professional duties.
• Professionals shall perform services only in
areas of their competence.
• Professionals shall issue public statements
only in an objective and truthful manner.
227. • Professionals shall act in professional matters for each
employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and shall
avoid conflicts of interest.
• Professionals shall build their professional reputation on
the merit of their services and shall not compete unfairly
• Professionals shall act in such a manner as to uphold and
enhance the honor, integrity, and dignity of the
engineering profession and shall act with zero-tolerance
for bribery, fraud, and corruption.
• Professionals shall continue their professional
development throughout their careers, and shall provide
opportunities for the professional development of those
engineers under their supervision.