The paper presents Charles Norton's views on eudaimonism and outlines a process for the coming together of the bioscience and activist communities (cited example) in regards to animal testing.
Every engineer will be faced with an ethical dilemma sometime during hisworking career. Engineers also make ethical decisions every day duringthe regular course of engineering work. It is important that engineersstrive to make their systems functionally correct and safe. While noperson can solve all ethical dilemmas, it is important to know that there issupport and resources available for engineers in need. Rarely in anyengineer's career is there an incident like the Challenger disaster where theexplosion of a launch vehicle with people on board occurs, but it is always apossibility. Because engineers create systems which have a profoundeffect on society, they are responsible to society to make their very bestefforts at safe and ethical design.
In context of past business frauds we know for sure that Enron had a Code of Ethics. The same hold true for WorldCom that certainly didn’t lack extensive internal controls. In the present case, too, Greencore is a sound company with their ethics in place and controls intact. Nonetheless, they presumably had cultures where engaging in unethical conduct was tacitly condoned, if not encouraged.
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Frauds are nothing new in the big and established companies. Enron leaders Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were caught in a scam that led to their trial that became popular and labeled as the ‘Trial of the century’. Former WorldCom mangers are in jail for pulling off one of the largest frauds in history. More recently, an internal audit at Scottish mineral water company Campsie Spring uncovered a 14 million pound fraud. A statement at on the Greencore website said concerns about the accounts emerged after an internal audit on 6 June. While it is true that all of these cases and dozens other similar are cases of fraud, and hence criminal activity, what is important for us here is to take stock of the nature of lapses and how they impact the issue of ethics in business.
Official condemnation by the OECD in 1997 and
increasing awareness that bribery even in small amounts robs
developing nations of real economic advances are working to
reduce briberys benefits as an effective, though unethical,
Ethics are of special importance to practicing professionals, includingengineers. Professions such as doctors, teachers, lawyers, and engineershave a greater responsibility to society to do their jobs ethically. Inorder to accomplish this though, it is important to understand what ethicsreally means. The actions that society finds acceptable versus theactions which society does not accept create the ethics by which a member ofsociety must abide. From this definition, ethical action on the part ofengineer can be partially simplified, (as it is in most codes of ethics fromengineering organizations,) as the simple mandate that an engineer's greatestresponsibility is to the public good. The following discussion iscentered around what responsibility comes with being an engineer, thechallenges an engineer faces, and some resources for helping an engineerfulfill his responsibility to do the public good.
As the theoretical and practical efforts in the field of business ethics surround virtually all aspects of business conduct, there is also a great variety within this science. Some of the main issues that occupy business ethics scholars are:
In fact, the contemporary business attempts to create a positive image in order to gain the customers’ recognition and approval. In such a situation, it is really important to meet the moral standards of society and avoid arguable decisions. At the same time, it is important to understand the fact that the practical implementation of moral principles of business ethics is not a one-sided, benevolent process organized and performed by companies but it also needs the public involvement and control.
Moral behavior in the face of immoral environment: a significant test for the firm’s ethical behavior is the nature of business transactions when the environment does not enforce high standards, thus enables ethically questionable (and maybe more profitable) conduct. Examples may include environmental issues (e.g. CO emissions), human rights (e.g. child labor), safety in the workplace, discrimination and sexual harassment.
Third, a new wing of economic and legislative thinking in all fields of ethics (e.g. in medicine and environmental issues) has also transformed the line of thought towards businesses, from perceiving them as mechanisms for creating value to active members of the society with individual sets of responsibilities.
To further motivate the discussion of ethics, we will present some more indepth discussion on just what ethics is, including some alternatedefinitions. We will then present some hypothetical situations in whichthe right and wrong are not so clearly defined. Concluding thediscussion, we will talk about some existing engineering and related fieldscodes of ethics, and what help they may be to the practicing engineer.