Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Help with Making Ethical Decisions
Ethical decisions can be very difficult to make at times. To aid in ethical decision making, there are tips called heuristics to guide the way one proceeds with a decision or design. Heuristics can be interpreted in different ways for different situations, but can be very useful in saving time. It is important to note that heuristics are not the solution to the problem. Heuristics can be found in two different circumstances: optimization and procedural. Optimization heuristics analyze two or more terms that need to be balanced against each other to find the maximal result. Procedure heuristics are for the beginner to know how to handle oneself or practice to get better end results. Along with heuristics, there are codes of ethics. For engineering, there is a general code of ethics for all engineers and there is a code of ethics for each discipline of engineering. These codes are upheld by the National Society of Professional Engineers and are used by the Board of Ethical Review to resolve ethical issues.
Even with all the heuristics and codes, I believe that making an ethical decision comes down to an individual's morals and values. I think that it is important for engineers to understand they have a direct impact on the consumers that come into contact with their products, take their work seriously, analyze their morals and values, and use the various heuristics and codes available to them to aid in make ethical decisions.