Engineering Ethical Dilemmas

Engineering Ethical Dilemmas

Introduction to Ethical Engineering Behavior

Engineers continually engage in innovative processes by making use of valuable intuitive imaginations as well as strong background knowledge. Engineers are actively involved in finding solutions to the problems that affect the members of the community through creative invention and innovation. Ethical behavior in engineering helps engineers to maintain acceptable behavior as they carry out their activities. Code of ethics in engineering helps engineers to make various decisions that may confront them while making their operational decisions as explained by Kreiner, Flores & Krishnamurthy (256). However, despite the fact that the code of ethics helps engineers to make acceptable and valuable decisions in their operations, there are various circumstances that limit their ability to make firm decisions since every choice would lead to a significant set of consequences and which may have various impacts on the lives of the members of the society (Harris et al., 176). A number of ethical dilemmas face both the firm that bids to construct the southern wall as well as the individuals and engineers who will be involved in the construction.

Ethical Dilemmas Related to the Construction of the Southern Border

Dilemmas to the Firm

To start with, the firm is likely to face a dilemma between maintaining its public image or taking up the contract. The proposal of the wall construction has been opposed by many people across the world whereby they claim that it would be an immoral and unethical decision to lock put any innocent people who may want to use the southern border to gain entry into the U.S. for purposes of safety or even to look for better economic opportunities as discussed by Tholen (264). By taking up the opportunity and involving itself in the construction of the wall, the company will have tarnished its name and image among the many individuals who oppose the same construction. According to the utilitarianism model, any best action should be one that only benefits most people in a population and causes harm to only a few individuals (Whitbeck, 275). The construction of the wall has been named to be a significant disadvantage to a large population.

According to Singer (231), any suffering and deaths that result from the lack of shelter, food and medical care are bad and should be prevented by any possible means. As a result, individuals should be willing to take any given measures that could be useful in the prevention of such losses. The biggest aspect that one should consider when undertaking any activity should be the moral importance of the action. According to this principle, people engineers and al people at large should be willing to prevent any wrongs and harm from happening to the members of the community and they, at the same time, promote good for the benefit of the same members. The same principle applies to firms and organizations and it instructs that the firms should only be willing to carry out assignments that are going to benefit the general humankind rather than causing suffering to the same. In the case of construction of the Southern border, there have been many arguments between the good and negative impacts that will be associated with such a construction. However, there is a common agreement that even though the construction may help to minimize the entry of illegal immigrants into the U.S. which will, in turn, help the government to enhance security through the control of entry of illegal substances such as drugs and firearms, the same construction will be a barrier and it will block many individuals who flee to America for security and economic purposes. Based on the principle, the firm bidding to construct the wall may be faced by the ethical dilemma of deciding if the wall will be a benefit or harm to humans, especially while considering that there are many other effective ways that the government could employ to enhance border security other than locking both innocent and criminals altogether from entering America.

Dilemmas to the Employees

The individual employees who may be required to participate in the bidding process and engineering project also face some ethical dilemmas. While some may be entirely against such a construction, they may be faced by a dilemma on whether to take the opportunity as if would help them to make income and thus enhance their ability to satisfy their needs. According to Martin & Schinzinger (172), individuals involved in engineering projects that consequently affected people or the environment are highly criticized and the individuals participating in the construction of the wall may be faced with the dilemma of whether they should be really involved in such an activity that is going to affect some part of the global community adversely.

The bidding process potentially violates the professional code of engineering ethics which states promote such principles as the commitment to something greater than oneself as well as caring for other livings and environment as a whole (Veach 99). By disregarding the effect that the construction of such a wall is likely to have on other people, the participants of the construction process fail to adhere and observe the values emphasized by the code. Considering that the debate over the construction of the wall has gained popularity over the last few years and many people have opposed the project based on the negative impacts that it potentially holds to the innocent immigrants, any participants in the project should also bear such arguments in mind and understand that any engineering processes and projects are supposed to make the lives of humans better and not worse.

In addition, Pence (105) discusses a theory of work and emphasizes the dignity that society today associates to work. As a result, almost every member of the society seeks and looks forward to getting employed even without necessarily considering the general impacts that their work is likely to have in the broader community. in his theory, he tries to portray the effect that such a system has had on morality. Today, people are willing to work for their gain and benefits without even considering the broader community and evaluating how their work decisions affect the rest of the members of the society. The individual employees who may be required to participate in both the bidding and engineering processes of the construction of the southern border are faced with an ethical dilemma between choosing to take the opportunity for their own self development or assume and fail to take it for the benefit of the other people who may be undermined by the project. The fact that the individual employees have a variety of personal needs that require that they take up the opportunity so as to make an income that would help them to solve and meet such needs makes it harder for them to ignore the opportunity. On the other hand, when considering the numbers of people that the project is going to affect negatively by locking them out of economic opportunities and refuge from attacks makes it a harder choice to make.

Conclusion and Recommendation

In conclusion, the project of construction of the southern wall has been a topic of discussion basing on its ethical and moral value. While the government of the U.S. plans to construct the wall as a way of controlling illegal immigration which is commonly associated with the entry of illegal substances such as drugs and firearms which have in turn contributed to an increased rate of crime in the US, there are many negative implications that have been associated with the project. Among the major shortcomings of the project include the assertions that it will lock out many immigrants who get into the US in search of refuge and safety as well as profitable economic opportunities. Consequently, both the firm and individual employees who participate in the bidding process as well as the implementation of the proposed policy are faced by the ethical dilemma between taking up the opportunity or undermining it. In order to resolve such dilemmas faced by both the firm and the stakeholders in the construction process, the best solution would be to refrain from the construction project as it would pose a threat to the entry of innocent immigrants who may be in need of safety and better economic opportunities as available in the US. Otherwise, a better plan of controlling harmful immigration that is commonly characterized by the entry of drugs and other harmful products such as guns should be implemented rather than constructing a non-selective wall.


Works Cited

Harris Jr, C. E., Pritchard, M. S., Rabins, M. J., James, R., & Englehardt, E. (2013). Engineering ethics: Concepts and cases. Cengage Learning.

Kreiner, J., Flores, A., & Krishnamurthy, S. (2004). Ethical issues facing engineers and their profession. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Education and Research “Progress Through Partnership”. VSB-TUO.

Martin, M., & Schinzinger, R. (1996). Engineering ethics.

Pence, Gregory. “Towards a theory of work.” Philosophy and the Problems of Work: A Reader (2001): 93-105.

Singer, Peter. “Famine, affluence, and morality.” Philosophy & public affairs (1972): 229-243.

Tholen, B. (2010). The changing border: developments and risks in border control management of Western countries. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 76(2), 259-278.

Veach, C. M. (2006). There’s no such thing as engineering ethics. Leadership and management in engineering, 6(3), 97-101.

Whitbeck, C. (2011). Ethics in engineering practice and research. Cambridge University Press.