I looked up the professional code of ethics for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), because they are the biggest and most famous professional organization in Electrical Engineering. They are also one of the most respected, esteemed, and some of the best places to publish in their numerous journals and conferences.
I found the code of ethics here. For some reason, I got the feel of ethics as it should be, if you would. It reminded me of that required ethics course in undergrad, that taught people what ethics are… And put them in controversial situations and asked them what the most ethical solution would be in any given situation. That class was one of the most memorable 300 person class in undergrad, because I learned about the different views of ethics and how people should act, etc… And to me ethics have been commonsense, since I was brought up to be conscientious about ethics.
In the IEEE code of ethics, one of the first things mentioned is the importance of keeping in mind the interest and the well-being of the public. In fact, it is the first thing. I believe this is necessary, because a lot of times engineers get in that zone of focusing only on their work, to the extent where they look up other important things. However, it is very important to put public safety, health, and well-being first. Second, is avoiding the conflicts of interests. In all cases, associations, locations, and professional organizations– conflicts of interests must be discussed. This is because, people need to inform organizations when their is a conflict of interest, before doing something negative to sabotage their career and reputation. Therefore, conflict of interest has always been an important part of ethics to discuss.
Third and fourth on the list are having integrity in all presented data/situations and accepting no bribes. These are obviously common sense, and as was taught in ethics classes these things tend to come up. When people are in an organization/association and have power… they must avoid it. In fact, some places do not allow their employees to go out to lunch with companies presenting information about their machines… to avoid the environment that is conducive to bribes, etc.
Five and six are similar, and are related to one another. Technology is everywhere, and as engineers it is expected to help that technology be further understood by the general people. I personally believe this entails communicating science properly, and helping people understand in a less jargon entailed manner. In addition, IEEE’s code of ethics asks engineers to always be up to date with everything in their field, which I find is a necessary skill for one to have… But isn’t very easy to maintain over the years.
Seven is really important, to be fair in all situations, and to accept criticism of work. I believe that constructive criticism is necessary for the growth of all academics, in fact, the growth of all humans. If one doesn’t see the mistakes they’re unintentionally making, they will always stay in the same place they’ve always been, and they will never grow. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense for constructive criticism to be mentioned, to make better members of society.
Eight is important in academia, organizations, industry, and everywhere alike… To avoid discrimination and profiling. This is important, and necessary. We discussed the importance of that in the academia, and it is important. Avoiding the unconscious biases taking control of our conscious decisions.
Nine is about avoiding hurting other people’s reputation/property/ etc. Common sense.
Ten is about being a good member of society and helping others! This is important. People shouldn’t be so stuck in their careers, and ignoring the needs of society and others.