Ethical Aspects

In the wake of increased infrastructural development, the concept of ethics has gained acknowledgment for its role in the decisions regarding development. Before any decision is made regarding infrastructural development, certain ethical considerations have to be made to ascertain the moral principles binding it with the residents. These considerations include the duties, obligations and rights that every human is entitled to. There is controversy over where to draw the line and whether ethics should completely determine the outcome of decisions. Nonetheless, every decision that affects humans should be screened against ethical considerations to cushion people from being exploited morally. In fact, most disciplines, including engineering have a distinct set of ethics that guide the operations of the practitioners.

Responsibility and accountability is one tenet of ethics in the development of infrastructure. Responsibility is the obligatory sense in both professional and moral spheres bestowed upon the practitioners. The people trusted with the responsibility should demonstrate a willingness and ability to fulfill the responsibility given. Accountability on the other hand is the fruit of responsibility where the holder of the responsibility can account for every action that he takes. This is to say that any practitioner tasked with a certain duty should be able to explain their course of action and give reasons for the same. The existence of responsibility and accountability is of great importance to the decisions made with regard to infrastructural development. Engineers for instance, cannot risk making unethical decisions because they are required to show why they chose certain decisions over others. Essentially, they cannot approve projects that do not conform to their ethical codes of conduct.

Another ethical consideration is social sustainability in which the projects must be sustainable in all aspects. For instance, project managers should ensure that an impact assessment is conducted prior to commencement of a project. In addition, engineers should make decisions on the approval of the project based on the availability of impact assessments for specific projects. Without the documents, engineers should not approve projects, however tenable they may appear to be. A project should not therefore disturb the nature-society link or undermine one of the two in an effort to bring income to some. Decisions regarding the approval of projects based on their social sustainability are anchored on the fact that human and natural lives are both important.

It is also important to consider competence and integrity of both the project and the engineer before making decisions that concern infrastructural development. In this case, the engineer should not take up a project in a field that they are not competent. The judgment on one’s competence level is an important tool in determining whether the project will be successful or not. For instance, an engineer should be honest enough to give up a project because it falls not within their specialty. Moreover, the integrity of the project should be a major factor in approval of the said project. Engineers should be able to cancel project that are faced with integrity questions. For example, public projects in which the cost of infrastructure is unfairly inflated should be stopped at the earliest point possible to avert a possible loss of public funds.

The importance of ethical considerations in making decisions regarding infrastructural projects is increasingly gaining prominence. It is the duty of engineering practitioners to observe and adhere to their ethical codes in making major decisions. This means that they should not shy from stopping projects that are morally wrong and that conflict with the set ethical codes.


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