Professional Responsibilities

1160 Words 5 Pages
Do the professional duties of an engineer go beyond conscientiously and effectively carrying out the instructions of their employer? If so, why and how? If not, why not?
As population and economy across the globe continues to grow, engineers have increasingly influential roles in designing and delivering the subsequent demand for new or upgraded technology and infrastructure on which the world 's future is dependent. (Polkinghorne, 2013). A common question arises, do the professional duties of an engineer go beyond conscientiously and effectively carry out the instructions of their employer? Yes it does. This essay would first give a summary of each case studies used as examples. Then, an explanation on the professional duties an engineer
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As an engineer, when preparing designs or making decisions, they must "hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties" (ASME Code of Ethics, 2009). These engineers in the case studies above have failed to fulfil their duty of care to the public. In the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, Lund 's decision to approve the launch was made by weighing the costs and benefits of risking the flight crew 's lives to make the launch schedule to save his company. In the Pinto Ford madness, the engineers went along with the manager 's decision of cost cutting design and have produced inadequate structures that failed to meet the basic design principles. Both Lund 's and Ford engineers has violated the profession 's fundamental code of ethics on protecting the public 's safety, health and welfare. Many argue that these engineers also have a responsibility towards their company. (Harris, Pritchard & Rabins, 2009). In other words, those engineers are merely loyal employees who are concerned about the financial well being of their organization. However, according to Baron (1984), she states "[Loyalty] is hardly something to advocate to engineers, whose impact on the safety of the public is so very significant. Irresponsibility, whether caused by selfishness or by …show more content…
A duty of disclosure is where members shall; where relevant take steps to inform themselves, clients and employers, of the social, environmental, economic and other possible consequences which may arise from their actions. (Arrell, 2015). In both case studies, the engineers failed their duty of disclosure. They have withheld vital information from their clients/employers on the consequences of their decision on launching the space shuttle (Texas A&M University, n.d) and mass producing Ford Pinto (Dowie, 1977). When the decision was made to proceed with the launch in the Challenger Shuttle case, the flight crew was not aware of the risk they were taking. In the Ford Pinto case,
It is the responsibility of the engineers to inform their clients of the dangers regardless of what the manager says. Opponents of information disclosure argue that even if the technical data are presented to the crew, they do not possess the technical expertise to understand. (Rossow, 2012).
Lack of

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