Engineering Code of Ethics and Diversity!

 

I looked at the code of ethics for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The fundamental canons of their code of ethics is as follows:

 

  1. “Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public and shall strive to comply with the principles of sustainable development in the performance of their professional duties.
  2. Engineers shall perform services only in areas of their competence.
  3. Engineers shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.
  4. Engineers shall act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and shall avoid conflicts of interest.
  5. Engineers shall build their professional reputation on the merit of their services and shall not compete unfairly with others.
  6. Engineers shall act in such a manner as to uphold and enhance the honor, integrity, and dignity of the engineering profession and shall act with zero-tolerance for bribery, fraud, and corruption.
  7. Engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers, and shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision.”

I also looked at the code of ethics for the American Society of Sociological Association (ASA). Their fundamentals principles were listed as:

 

  1. “Professional competence
  2. Integrity
  3. Professional and scientific responsibility
  4. Respect to people’s rights, dignity, and diversity
  5. Social responsibility”

The general principles for both organizations are the same. The term “diversity” which is one of the principals of the ASA organization cannot be implied from the ASCE code of ethics. My major is in Civil and Environmental Engineering and the main focus in Engineering is upholding integrity, honor, and dignity of the engineering profession by:

 

  1. “Using their knowledge and skill for the enhancement of human welfare and the environment;
  2. Being honest and impartial and serving with fidelity the public, their employers and clients;
  3. Striving to increase the competence and prestige of the engineering profession; and
  4. Supporting the professional and technical societies of their disciplines.”

 

Although it makes since to have diversity as a core principle for the American Society of Sociological Association (ASA), I think that it is equally important to have similar guidelines for engineering based organizations.  The ASA clearly states that they do not discriminate based on  “age; gender; race; ethnicity; national origin; religion; sexual orientation; disability; health conditions; or marital, domestic, or parental status. They are sensitive to cultural, individual, and role differences in serving, teaching, and studying groups of people with distinctive characteristics.” It is understandable how sociologists need to acknowledge the rights of others to hold values, attitudes, and opinions. However, I think that is it equally important to have these values as principle guidelines in the Engineering code of ethics. Non-discrimination is important in all fields and organizations, and it should not be valued more in sociological organizations. All other fields, specially engineering highly impact the society and include the collaboration of diverse groups. I chose ASA intentionally to show how diversity and non-discrimination is an important part of such organizations and how it should also be listed as a cannon in all other majors and organizations specially in engineering which directly impacts the society. I am not sure about the job market for sociologists, however for Civil Engineers, I am certain that not having diversity as a principle in the engineering code of ethics has impacted the job market and how not all companies are obligated to hire new employees based on diversity and inclusion.

 

‘So we agree: having attained diversity, we must now categorize, coordinate and consolidate it.’

‘For some strange reason personnel want us to review our equal opportunities employment policies!’

 

'So we agree: having attained diversity, we must now categorize, coordinate and consolidate it.'

‘So we agree: having attained diversity, we must now categorize, coordinate and consolidate it.’

'For some strange reason personnel want us to review our equal opportunities employment policies!'

‘For some strange reason personnel want us to review our equal opportunities employment policies!’

2 Comments

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2 Responses to Engineering Code of Ethics and Diversity!

  1. Thanks for sharing. It seems that the ethical code in my field, marriage and family therapy, shares common principles such as competency and client’s interest. You said that not having diversity as an ethical code in the engineering code has impacted the job market. How so? I am curious about that.

    • Yasaman Shahtaheri

      Thanks for the comment Wei-Ning! How interesting, I never thought that marriage and family therapy will have competency and client’s interest principles.

      Well, this is just my personal opinion but applying to jobs and internships throughout the years, and getting familiarized with various companies, I understood that some companies have diversity as one of their major criteria in the hiring process. This means they they need to hire a certain percentage of international applicants, minorities, etc. However, other companies clearly state that they do not hire internationals, etc when they announce that they have an open position. . . I personally think that if engineering had diversity as one of its cannons, this might have impacted the hiring process.

      Thanks,

      Yasaman

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