We believe that such lessons are especially relevant to practicing industrial engineers.Especially because of the nature of their work,IEs must not only deal with pressures of costand schedule,but often are the ones responsible for setting those schedule and cost con-straints.It is the industrial engineer who typically must decide which schedule is feasible andat what cost.Once the schedule is frozen,the IE must make sure that it is adhered to,and thenserve as the first line of responsibility when costs begin to increase or the schedule slips.Indoing this,the IE must make assumptions about risk,and how that risk may be increased.Fur-ther,he or she must determine when that increased risk is no longer acceptable.All too often,such risk assessments are done implicitly rather than explicitly.So,the ability to assess riskbecomes an important tool for the ethical industrial engineer.
ENGINEERING ETHICS AS APPLIED ETHICS
Engineering Ethics—A New Field of Inquiry
The formal field of engineering ethics is relatively new.Although it boasts a growing litera-ture,there is no reflective analytic view of engineering ethics as a discipline.Indeed,Martinand Schinzinger,authors of one of the first and still a leading engineering ethics text,note that“as a discipline or area of extensive inquiry,engineering ethics is still young”.They set itsformal beginnings in the late 1970s and cite several landmark events:a first interdisciplinaryconference in engineering ethics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a scholarly bibliog-raphy in 1980;and the first scholarly journal,
Business and Professional Ethics,
in 1981 .“This late development of the discipline is ironic,”they conclude,given that numerically,theengineering profession “affects all of us in most areas of our lives”.Our approach is that of applied ethics.We wish to sensitize the engineer or engineeringstudent to potential ethical dilemmas,especially those that arise in the daily workplace.Inparticular,we want the engineer to be able to recognize these developing ethical dilemmasand then be able to structure the issues in a way that first better clarifies them and then facil-itates resolution.A prerequisite to this identification and structuring process is a definition of terms commonly used in the field.To do this,we have adopted the following definitions .
A few definitions of terms
A generic term for several ways of examining the moral life (i.e.,critical reflectionon what one does and why one does it).Some approaches to ethics are descriptive and oth-ers are normative.
Descriptive Ethics (non-normative)
Factual investigation of moral behavior and beliefs.The study not of what people ought to do but how they reason and how they act.
Normative Ethics (general)
The field of inquiry that attempts to answer the questions,Which action guides are worthy of moral acceptance? and For what reasons? Types of actionguides are theories,principles,and rules.They are used to assess the morality of actions.
Normative Ethics (applied)
The act of applying action guides to normative problems (i.e.,professional codes of ethics—role norms/obligations that professions attempt to enforce).Sometimes etiquette and responsibilities are spelled out.Typically,applied normativeethics are not as inclusive as general normative ethics.
The analysis of language of crucial ethical terms such asvirtue,right,obligation.It examines the logic and the patterns of moral reasoning.
Unsaid,unspoken rules of practice.
ENGINEERING ETHICS:APPLICATIONS TO INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING