Professional Engineers – Ethically Bound to Promote the Well-Being of Society
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What are engineers, exactly? The short answer is they are professionals who use their knowledge of mathematics and applied sciences to solve practical problems.
But there’s so much more to being an engineer than just being able to crunch numbers or design bridges. Engineers have a responsibility not only for themselves but also for the human good – taking care of our most pressing challenges through a focus on public well-being and ethical behavior.
Your Identity as an Engineer is Linked to Your Profession
As a professional engineer, you are not only a scientist or an engineer, you are also part of your profession’s culture, history and social structures. These elements go beyond the individual to include responsibility for all members of our community – like having personal integrity and following ethical standards.
Your profession is an integral part of the person that you are. It is an essential element of your identity. It is not only what you do, but who you are.
Because of this connection, engineers have a duty to the public which goes beyond just doing their jobs, and it is very important that everyone involved in engineering understand this responsibility. This duty includes holding the public safety and well-being above everything else. It means following industry standards and working only in areas we are competent.
What is a Profession
A Profession is a job or occupation for which there are long educational requirements. Professions have many special duties and responsibilities in society beyond those of other businesses. There is an element of trust that the public expects from its professions. For engineering, it goes even further because public safety is often involved.
Professionals must follow a code of ethics and professional conduct when conducting business on behalf of clients or their employer. They are held to a higher standard than other workers because of the responsibility they have to society.
Professional Engineers hold a unique place in their communities and around the world as leaders who are ethical, highly knowledgeable individuals. The National Society of Professional Engineers upholds this standard by offering several resources for all members throughout their career – from engaging with local chapters to attending conferences or taking online courses on ethics, technology and leadership.
The Primacy of the Public Good and Engineering
The profession of engineering is interesting because engineers are not only highly skilled individuals who are responsible for their own work, but also have a responsibility to society as a whole. Engineers are expected to place the interests of the public above those of personal, business or sectional interests.
This obligation, which is often referred to as the public good, is a fundamental difference between engineering and other professions like law or medicine. Lawyers and doctors are professionals with special skills, knowledge or expertise that they need to use for the good of their clients.
But engineers have a different relationship with their profession because public safety is involved in virtually everything we do.
At least one of the reasons that engineers have a duty to society is because their work affects so many people. For example, bridges are designed and built by civil engineers who must consider things like traffic volume, weather conditions and load-bearing capacity on a daily basis. So it makes sense for them to consider the safety of the public first.
Engineers also have a duty to society because they are licensed through their state and must follow professional standards for ethics, education and experience. It is important that engineers only do work that they are qualified or competent to complete so as not to risk engineering projects failing due to lack of expertise on the part of those who designed them
What is the Public Good
The common good is the flourishing of a community and its citizens. Every society, whether it’s in modern-day America or ancient Greece has an underlying goal that all members should contribute towards: The Common Good!
The public good, also referred to as well-being or quality of life, is the idea that the well-being of society as a whole is more important than any one person or group. The public good means choosing what will benefit most people, even if it might not be best for you personally.
Aristotle defined this idea as “the best way for people to live”. It can be difficult at times but when we work with each other towards our shared objective – which usually boils down to the notion that everyone wants their family and neighbors to prosper – it becomes much easier.
The public good makes sense, but you might wonder how it applies to your life. If we make decisions that benefit everyone and not just ourselves, we can create a better world for our children and future generations. It starts with choosing the right path in small ways: recycling or biking instead of driving; turning off lights when they’re not needed
Protecting the Public from Harm
Engineers have an important role in society because they are professionals who not only work on behalf of their clients, but take responsibility for all members of society through their duty to the public good.
Engineers are bound to protect the public in three main ways:
First, engineers must put safety first when considering design decisions that could affect public well-being. This means putting consideration into everything from the safety of the materials used to build bridges or buildings, to whether designs are functional and can stand up under load.
Second, engineers must do their best work by only doing what they are qualified for. This means not taking on tasks that might be outside an engineer’s area of expertise because this could lead to design flaws or other safety risks.
Third, engineers must be honest and maintain strict ethical standards when conducting business. This means avoiding conflicts of interest or other situations where an engineer might make decisions based on personal gain rather than the best interests of their clients. It also requires honesty in reporting back to clients about design decisions made for them – whether they are positive or negative.
Aspirational Ethics – Promoting Well Being
All of these concepts are bound together by the fact that engineers are professionals who, in the course of their jobs, improve the well-being of the public. They do this by taking responsibility for their actions and by following a canon of ethics. This means working towards a higher standard, even if it is difficult or might not provide personal benefit in the short term.
This form of aspirational ethics is not unique to engineers. In fact, many professions have a similar philosophy that requires them to work for the greater good – even when it is difficult or doesn’t provide personal gain.
However, engineers are bound to hold the public good in a way that other professionals are not. If an engineer doesn’t follow the proper procedures to ensure safety, they may put others in danger of being injured or dying. Likewise, if an engineer promises their client one thing but delivers another – even for reasons outside of their control – they have broken trust with those who rely on them to make sound and honest decisions.
The Social Context of Engineering – Designing for Well Being
Professional engineers must respect and protect the public good as part of their duty to society. They must follow a set of ethics that define what is right and wrong in terms of design decisions, how they work with each other, and how they conduct business.
This includes designing for well-being – not just physical but social well-being as well: engineers must consider how their work will impact the people who rely on them. If engineers design to support communities or protect families, they are doing their part in creating a better world for everyone – not just themselves.
Engineers hold responsibility over anything that could potentially affect others, and this is an integral role of theirs as professionals. They must consider safety first when designing, they must do what is right for their clients, and they cannot allow personal gain to interfere with the work that will improve public well-being.
Engineers take on a responsibility that is different from other professions. They are bound to the public good, and must consider safety in all aspects of their work – even if it doesn’t provide them with direct benefit or if they aren’t entirely qualified for what they’re working on.
Adopting a Critical Attitude Toward Technology
Engineers use technology to design and improve the world around them. However, when working with technology – especially when it is used by other people in society – they must take a critical approach to their work and question how products might support or harm behavior patterns.
For example, engineers should consider if certain technologies are too distracting for drivers of vehicles. This means that they have an obligation to consider the social context of engineering when designing new products.
Engineers must also learn how to use their expertise in a way that is sensitive and respectful towards others, especially those who might be in need or vulnerable – such as children and patients in medical facilities.
Ultimately, engineers hold responsibility over anything they design: if it works correctly but harms the public in some way, they are guilty of neglecting their responsibilities towards society. This is why engineers must constantly consider how their actions might affect others before taking them – even when this means challenging themselves or questioning what feels instinctive to them.
Honesty is the Foundation of the Engineering Profession
Engineers should be truthful when describing their abilities, expertise, services, and goods. They should not make promises they cannot keep, and if the client requests something outside of their abilities – engineers must let them know.
Engineers must be honest in order to ensure the safety of others. This is because engineers are responsible for creating designs that may have negative or harmful effects on people, so honesty becomes an essential part of being one themselves.
Public trust is the basis for all of the work that engineers do, and without it – they would not be able to create designs that benefit the general public. It is imperative that people are confident that a bridge was designed and built to the highest standards of safety and reliability. Engineers must therefore always act in a way that maintains trust between themselves and the public.
If engineers are dishonest about their abilities or services, then people who rely on them may suffer as a result of faulty products or susceptible safety measures. This is why honesty is the foundation of engineering – and why engineers must always be truthful when describing their work.
Engineers hold responsibility over many aspects of society, from bridges to medical equipment to new technologies that can help or harm people in some way. This means they have a moral obligation to always be honest: if they don’t take this seriously, then there will be no way to ensure the safety of those around them.
Engineers Must Work Competently and Diligently for Stakeholders
In order for engineers to deliver the best products possible, they must work diligently and competently. It’s very important that they consider their stakeholders’ needs first. Engineers must always prioritize their clients and employers over themselves – even if it means working long hours or taking on additional responsibilities.
Engineers must work to the best of their abilities because they are responsible for creating products that can influence society – even when no one is watching them. They have an obligation to make sure that every aspect of what they create is done correctly, and this requires a lot of hard work..
Engineers shouldn’t take on projects if they don’t feel confident in their abilities, or else people could be at risk – especially when it comes to medical equipment, bridges, or vehicles. For this reason engineers should only accept jobs for which they are qualified.
Engineers must also be conscientious about the work they do – because if it doesn’t follow standards, procedures, or regulations then people could be injured as a result of their negligence.
Professional Development is Critical
Engineers must continuously work to enhance their professional development and that of their colleagues and staff. This is because they rely on their peers and mentors for feedback – which allows them to enhance the quality of what they do.
Engineers should always be open to new ideas, techniques, technologies, or concepts that could help improve their work and make it more efficient. They must also encourage growth in the people who surround themselves with: this will allow teams to grow and give people access to better opportunities.
Continuing education is an important element of professional development. Engineers should always be open to additional classes and training that could help them do their jobs better.
Engineers must also stay up-to-date with current standards, best practices, and procedures in order to ensure the highest level of safety. The only way for engineers to know these things is through professional development – which means they need to make it a priority.
Final Take on Engineering for the Human Good
Engineers are professionals, and as such we have a duty to the public good. We want our work to be of value to society and contribute positively in some way. The primacy of the public good is an ethos that guides engineers every day- it’s what makes engineering unique among professions.
Engineers are charged with protecting the public from harm and working to improve society’s well being, so it should come as no surprise that engineers have an obligation to be knowledgeable about what they do in their everyday lives. As an engineer, your profession is part of who you are-your identity, if you will-so pay close attention now because this could change everything!