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Corbin Huisman

Oct 31, 2014

EE 394
Ethics Essay

It is important to have and to follow a code of ethics because the new

technologies we work on as engineers have a direct affect on the quality of life. By
agreeing to follow a code of ethics we put safety and welfare of the public first, to be
honest with the data that has been collected, to improve the understanding of
technology and its potential consequences and many other ethical decisions.
When approached with an ethical situation the first thing I do is to assess the
situation. How the decision is made is based on honesty but most of all safety. If
there is a chance that it could be dangerous to the users then the project has to be
reconsidered. Also when close to the end of the project I would seek out honest
criticism and look to fix the problem based on that criticism and finally give credit to
anybody who helped make the final decision.
The case study chosen was the Ford Pinto case. There were some ethical
decisions that differed among the group but overall we were all at a consensus that
they should have put more work into safety. Where we differed was whom the
responsibility fell on, knowing that there was not a single person for the
responsibility to fall on. I thought more of the responsibility was for the crash test
engineers to decide instead of just signing off to their superiors. They should have
been more worried about the safety of people over keeping their superiors happy.

They had to choice to stop it before it even got to the manufacturing stage if they
had more concern for safety. Our group decided that making the eleven-dollar
change to each car in order to preserve the safety of the consumer was well worth it.
The six virtues of ethics always have a relation to any ethical situation in
some way. Sometimes some virtues are more important than others in certain
situations. The three virtues I felt related most to the Ford Pinto case were integrity,
honesty, and responsibility. Integrity is a sort of moral uprightness and having good
judgment, honesty is made up of truthfulness, fairness, sincerity, and openness, and
responsibility is accountability and recognizing a personal moral obligation to act
for the good of others. I chose these virtues for this case because if the engineers
designing and performing crash tests had more integrity about the situation; being
able to judge whether or not they should go through with the smaller crush space.
Also if the vice president had more honesty about their product then less people
would have been injured. And finally if the crash test engineers had more
responsibility they would have been more accountable for the test instead of just
signing off to the superiors. Some of the other virtues are less relevant such as:
fidelity. It is less relevant because it is one of the main reasons the car was passed
along up the chain of command because of fidelity to their employer.