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Draw a conceptual sketch of your computer. Identify the keyboard, screen, power source, and
information storage devices using arrows and labels.


Draw a conceptual sketch of an incandescent light bulb. Identify all the components using arrows and
numbers as in Figure 1.1.


Draw a conceptual sketch of a ballpoint pen. Identify all the components with arrows and labels as in
Figure 1.2.


The illustration below is an exploded view of a table. Identify and label all the components.


The following figure is an exploded view of a box. Identify and label all the components.


Repeat Example 1.3 using the NSPE Code of Engineering Ethics. Solve using the Engineering Ethics


Repeat Example 1.4 using the Five Cornerstones of Ethical Behavior. Solve using the Engineering
Ethics Matrix.

In exercises 8 through 12, use the Ethical Decision Matrix Table 1.1, which contains the six Fundamental Canons to respond to these ethical situations.

It is the last semester of your senior year and you are anxious to get an exciting electrical engineering
position in a major company. You accept a position from Company A early in the recruiting process,


CHAPTER 1 What Engineers Do

but continue to interview hoping for a better offer. Then your dream job offer comes along from
Company B. More salary, better company, more options for advancement, it is just what you have been
looking for. What should you do?
a. Just dont show up for work at Company A.
b. Send a letter to Company A retracting your job acceptance with them.
c. Ask Company B to contact Company A and tell them you wont be working for them.
d. Reject the offer from Company B and work for Company A anyway.


A company purchased an expensive computer program for your summer job with them. The license
agreement states that you can make a backup copy, but you can use the program on only one computer
at a time. Your senior design course professor would like you to use the program for your senior design
project. What should you do?
a. Give the program to your professor and let him or her worry about the consequences.
b. Copy the program and use it because no one will know.
c. Ask your supervisor at the company that purchased the program if you can use it at school on your
senior project.
d. Ask your professor to contact the company and ask for permission to use the program at


You are attending a student engineering organization regional conference along with five other students from your institution. The night before the group is scheduled to return to campus, one of the
students is arrested for public intoxication and is jailed. Neither he nor the other students have enough
cash for bail, and he doesnt want his parents to know. He asks you to lend him the organizations
emergency cash so that he doesnt have to spend the night in jail; hell repay you as soon as his parents send money. What should you do?
a. Lend him the money since his parents are wealthy and you know he can repay it quickly.
b. Tell him to contact his parents now and ask for help.
c. Give him the money, but ask him to write and sign a confessional note to repay it.
d. Tell him to call a lawyer since its not your problem.


You are testing motorcycle helmets manufactured by a variety of your competitors. Your company has
developed an inexpensive helmet with a liner that will withstand multiple impacts, but is less effective
on the initial impact than your competitors. The Vice President of Sales is anxious to get this new helmet on the market and is threatening to fire you if you do not release it to the manufacturing division.
What should you do?
a. Follow the vice presidents orders since he or she will ultimately be responsible for the
b. Call a newspaper to blow the whistle on the unsafe company policies.
c. Refuse to release the product as unsafe and take your chances on being fired.
d. Stall the vice president while you look for a job at a different company.


Paul Ledbetter is employed at Bluestone Ltd. as a manufacturing engineer. He regularly meets

with vendors who offer to supply Bluestone with needed services and parts. Paul discovers that
one of the vendors, Duncan Mackey, like Paul, is an avid golfer. They begin comparing notes
about their favorite golf courses. Paul says hes always wanted to play at the Cherry Orchard
Country Club, but since it is a private club, hes never had the opportunity. Duncan says hes been



a member there for several years and that hes sure he can arrange a guest visit for Paul.
What should Paul do?10

Paul should accept the invitation since he has always wanted to play there.
Paul should reject the invitation since it might adversely affect his business relationship with Duncan.
Paul should ask Duncan to nominate him for membership in the club.
Paul should ask his supervisor if its OK to accept Duncans invitation.

Ethical Decision Matrix for Exercises 812






1. Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the

2. Perform services only in the area of your competence.
3. Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful
4. Act for each employer or client as faithful agents or
5. Avoid deceptive acts.
6. Conduct themselves honorably.

In exercises 13 through 16, use the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Code of Ethics
(see to respond to these ethical situations.

Some American companies have refused to promote women into positions of high authority in their
international operations in Asia, the Middle East, and South America. Their rationale is that business
will be hurt because some foreign customers do not wish to deal with women. It might be contended
that this practice is justified out of respect for the customs of countries that discourage women from
entering business and the professions.
Some people feel that such practices are wrong and that gender should not to be used in formulating
job qualification, and further, that customer preferences should not justify gender discrimination.
Present and defend your views on whether or not this discrimination is justified.


Marvin Johnson is an Environmental Engineer for one of several local plants whose water discharges
flow into a lake in a flourishing tourist area. Included in Marvins responsibilities is the monitoring
of water and air discharges at his plant and the periodic preparation of reports to be submitted to the
Department of Natural Resources.
Marvin has just prepared a report that indicates that the level of pollution in the plants water discharges slightly exceeds the legal limitations. However, there is little reason to believe that this excessive amount poses any danger to people in the area; at worst, it will endanger a small number of fish.
On the other hand, solving the problem will cost the plant more than $200,000.

Extracted from Teaching Engineering Ethics, A Case Study Approach, Michael S. Pritchard Editor, Center for the Study of Ethics
in Society, Western Michigan University (


CHAPTER 1 What Engineers Do

Marvins supervisor says the excess should be regarded as a mere technicality, and he asks Marvin
to adjust the data so that the plant appears to be in compliance. He explains: We cant afford the
$200,000. It would set us behind our competitors. Besides the bad publicity wed get, it might scare
off some of the tourist industry. How do you think Marvin should respond to Edgars request?


Derek Evans used to work for a small computer firm that specializes in developing software for management tasks. Derek was a primary contributor in designing an innovative software system for customer services. This software system is essentially the lifeblood of the firm. The small computer
firm never asked Derek to sign an agreement that software designed during his employment there
becomes the property of the company.
Derek is now working for a much larger computer firm. Dereks job is in the customer service area,
and he spends most of his time on the telephone talking with customers having systems problems. This
requires him to cross reference large amounts of information. It now occurs to him that by making a few
minor alterations in the innovative software system he helped design at the small computer firm, the
task of cross referencing can be greatly simplified.
On Friday Derek decides he will come in early Monday morning to make the adaptation. However,
on Saturday evening he attends a party with two of his old friends, Horace Jones and you. Since it has
been some time since you have seen each other, you spend some time discussing what you have been
doing recently. Derek mentions his plan to adapt the software system on Monday. Horace asks, Isnt
that unethical? That system is really the property of your previous employer. But, Derek replies,
Im just trying to make my work more efficient. Im not selling the system to anyone, or anything like
that. Its just for my useand, after all, I did help design it. Besides, its not exactly the same system
Ive made a few changes. What should be done about this situation?11


Jan, a professional engineer on unpaid leave, is a part-time graduate student at a small private university and
is enrolled in a research class for credit taught by Dimanro, a mechanical engineering professor at the university. Part of the research being performed by Jan involves the use of an innovative geothermal technology.
The university is in the process of enlarging its facilities, and Dimanro, a member of the universitys
building committee, has responsibility for developing a Request For Proposal (RFP) in order to solicit
interested engineering firms. Dimanro plans to incorporate an application of the geothermal technology
into the RFP. Dimanro asks Jan to serve as a paid consultant to the universitys building committee in
developing the RFP and reviewing proposals. Jans employer will not be submitting a proposal and is
not averse to having Jan work on the RFP and proposal reviews. Jan agrees to serve as a paid consultant.
Is it a conflict of interest for Jan to be enrolled in a class for credit at the university and at the same
time serve as a consultant to the university?12

A Calvin and Hobbes comic strip nicely illustrates the importance of thinking ahead in engineering and ethical issues. As they are cascading down a treacherous hill in Calvins wagon they discuss their circumstance:
Calvin: Ever notice how decisions make chain reactions?
Hobbes: How so?

Adapted from

Adapted from NSPE Board of Ethical Review Case No. 91-5.
This section is from Michael S. Pritchard, # 1992: Center for the Study of Ethics in Society,