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15 Cards in this Set

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What happened during the Columbia Disaster?

January 2003: During launch, foam breaks off from tank -> Hole left in wing -> Engineers ask for more information; they want to inspect the wing -> Management refuses; they do not want to inform the astronauts before re-entry -> The shuttle disintegrates on return

Name the two types of responsibility

1. Obligation responsibility


1. Blame responsibility

What is obligation responsibility?

Focus falls on prevention of blame and punishment. It is set up in engineering standards

What are the implications of engineering standards in obligation responsibility?

- Engineers follow regulatory prescriptions


- Engineers follow technical requirements


- Engineers must act so that the public trusts them

What is blame responsibility?

Focus falls on causes, blame, and punishment. It is about the extent of fulfilling role-responsibility

Why is blame responsibility often linked to a negative model of responsibility?

The responsibility is exclusively linked to the task, therefore, people only do their job, nothing more.

What does the legal model of accountability state?

According to law, a person/company is responsible for an accident if it was caused by malicious intent, reckless action, or negligent action.

What is strict liability?

Liability that requires compensation or repairs for harm caused, without attribution of blame. Only applicable to companies

To what extent must engineers act responsibly, and why?

To reasonable care. You are not liable or blame-responsible if you have exercised the standard of reasonable care

What is reasonable care?

That quality of service ordinarily provided by other normally competent practitioners of good standing in that field, at the same time providing similar services in the same locality under the same circumstances

What is reasonable care based on?

- Specialist knowledge of the engineer


- Social expectations that the specialist knowledge will be used to the advantage of society


- Expectations of codes of ethics

What is the problem of many hands?

When something goes wrong in engineering, it is very often difficult to pinpoint who is solely responsible due to the complex nature of that system.

Principle of responsibility of action/inaction in groups

In a situation where harm has been produced by a collective action, the degree of responsibility of each member depends on the extent to which they caused/could have prevented said situation.

Name five stumbling blocks of responsibility

1. Self-interest


2. Fear


3. Self-deception


4. Weak will


5. Ignorance

Name five characteristics of Group Think

1. Illusion of infallibility


2. Shared stereotypes


3. Rationalisation


4. Mind guarding


5. Self-censorship