Transparency Is an Important Element of Engineering Ethics
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As engineering professionals, we are entrusted with the safety of our communities and environments. It is therefore important that engineering ethics are at the forefront of engineering practice. Engineering professionals should be focused on transparency in engineering decisions to promote trust within their community.
It is important to ensure engineering decisions are made with transparency not only for our clients and employer, but also for the public. As engineering professionals, we should be focused on providing oversight and guidance as needed in projects or design schemes that require a professional engineer’s signature of responsibility.
A project may have been designed by an unqualified person who failed to properly consult engineering expertise, or a professional engineer may not have been consulted on the project. Either way, engineering professionals should be on alert for ethical violations in engineering practice and take steps to prevent them from happening.
What Does Transparency Mean
Transparency has many definitions, but in the context of engineering ethics, it is the act of being open and honest without the appearance of impropriety. Transparency in engineering:
- promotes shared knowledge and understanding among all stakeholders
- increases trust among stakeholders
- assures that engineering projects meet professional standards for quality and safety
- enhances public awareness and support of engineering activities
- fosters a safe environment for risk taking on behalf of society’s welfare
- encourages engineering practitioners to take responsibility for their work
- encourages engineers to be as open about engineering practices as possible
Transparency is one of the founding principles in engineering ethics because it promotes several ethical values, such as honesty, trustworthiness, accountability, professionalism (meeting professional standards for quality established by engineering boards and professional societies) and engineering excellence.
Transparency also plays a crucial role in the engineering process because it promotes quality, safety and public trust. Engineers are encouraged to be transparent about engineering practices as possible so that they can uphold these values for themselves, their profession and society at large.
Examples of Transparency
When engineers create new products or systems, they have to be transparent about the engineering design process. This is especially important because engineering designs can be highly complex, and to ensure understanding of engineering concepts it is necessary for engineers to adequately communicate their reasoning throughout the engineering design process.
Transparency also helps promote safety in engineering by allowing other professionals (i.e., designers) access to essential engineering information that they may need to evaluate engineering design.
Engineers have a responsibility for themselves, their profession and society at large. The engineering profession has strict standards about transparency of professional engineering work in order to ensure that professionals are held accountable not just by state licensing boards but also by the public through the media and general access to engineering documents.
Is Transparency an Ethical Principle
Transparency is a core engineering ethical principle that is grounded in professional engineering standards. Engineering ethics promote transparency to allow other professionals (i.e., designers) access to essential engineering information they may need to evaluate engineering design, as well as for engineers themselves to participate meaningfully and responsibly in society by providing a window into the profession’s work.
Engineers are committed not only to public safety, engineering standards, and ethical principles but also to transparency.
Transparency is a key engineering principle that drives good engineering design through informed understanding of the context in which engineering decisions are made. This, in turn, contributes to the public’s trust and confidence in professional engineers and the engineering profession.
Transparency and Corporate Culture
Transparency is not a static or fixed entity – it’s an active and dynamic process. It can feel like you’re walking on eggshells, but if transparency is the operating principle behind your company culture then each individual in that space has to be comfortable enough with their own skin so they don’t needlessly fear what others might think of them.
Transparency isn’t just about openness; sometimes people are perfectly open without being transparent at all because there doesn’t seem any point in hiding things when everything else seems out-in-the-open anyway! Transparency means having nothing left unsaid – opening up those “last boxes.”
Why Do Engineers Need to Be Transparent in All Actions
Professional engineers take an oath to uphold engineering standards. They also take pride in their work and professionalism. Being transparent is the best practice for engineers because it keeps them accountable for their actions, which helps both themselves and society.
In addition, engineers are judged by clients and the general public by their conduct and actions. They need to show the public that engineering is a professional field, and engineering ethics are important.
Transparency in Engineering Codes of Ethics
Every state engineering board has a code of ethics that professional engineers are required to follow. Within these codes of ethics is a theme of transparency that is expected of all engineers.
Every engineering board has transparency provisions which ensure that engineering ethics are upheld. This includes the requirement to be open and honest with clients, perform engineering competently, and report any wrongdoing experienced in engineering work.
The ASCE code of ethics requires engineers to promote truthfulness by being honest and fully disclosed about their qualifications when giving testimony or opinions as an expert witness. It also asks them to act ethically so they maintain integrity among society at large.
Accountability in Professional Ethics
The profession of engineering is built on trust. Without trust, the public would not have confidence that buildings, bridges, and products designed by engineers were safe and reliable.
Accountability is an important element of building and maintaining this trust. When engineering work is done on a project, the engineering firm or person doing the engineering must be able to show that they have followed professional standards and ethical expectations.
Engineers are obligated to maintain their own accountability by following regulations for practicing engineering in their state as well as adhering to other codes of conduct.
The responsibility falls not only upon engineers but also those who oversee them. Employers should provide guidance so all parties clearly understand how responsibilities are divided between an employer and employees. It can be helpful if employers set up guidelines for disciplinary action before problems arise rather than reacting after something bad has happened..
Final Take on Transparency and Engineering Ethics
Transparency is a crucial engineering ethics principle. An engineering professional should be transparent in all aspects of their work, from the design process to the final product. There are many benefits to engineering transparency; an engineer can better collaborate with others on projects and provide a safe environment for those who use their products or services.