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Engineering Ethics - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780120885312, 9780080458021

Engineering Ethics

1st Edition

An Industrial Perspective

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Author: Gail Baura
Hardcover ISBN: 9780120885312
eBook ISBN: 9780080458021
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 11th April 2006
Page Count: 256
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Engineering Ethics is the application of philosophical and moral systems to the proper judgment and behavior by engineers in conducting their work, including the products and systems they design and the consulting services they provide. In light of the work environment that inspired the new Sarbanes/Oxley federal legislation on “whistle-blowing” protections, a clear understanding of Engineering Ethics is needed like never before.

Beginning with a concise overview of various approaches to engineering ethics, the real heart of the book will be some 13 detailed case studies, delving into the history behind each one, the official outcome and the “real story” behind what happened. Using a consistent format and organization for each one—giving background, historical summary, news media effects, outcome and interpretation--these case histories will be used to clearly illustrate the ethics issues at play and what should or should not have been done by the engineers, scientists and managers involved in each instance.

Key Features

  • Covers importance and practical benefits of systematic ethical behavior in any engineering work environment
  • Only book to explain implications of the Sarbanes/Oxley "Whistle-Blowing" federal legislation
  • 13 actual case histories, plus 10 additional "anonymous" case histories-in consistent format-will clearly demonstrate the relevance of ethics in the outcomes of each one
  • Offers actual investigative reports, with evidentiary material, legal proceedings, outcome and follow-up analysis
  • Appendix offers copies of the National Society of Professional Engineers Code of Ethics for Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Code of Ethics


Mechanical, Aerospace, Civil, Chemical, Electrical, Environmental, and Biomedical engineering; Undergraduate and graduate engineers in these same disciplines; Managers in industry responsible for product development, product safety and liability issues; In-house legal counsel at major manufacturing companies; Public-sector managers and attorneys responsible for enforcement and prosecution of liability, fraud, and related legal areas having to do with product quality and safety

Table of Contents

Part I: An Ethics Foundation Chapter 1: A Personal Engineering Ethics Threshold 1.1 A Real World Example 1.2 What Is Engineering Ethics? 1.3 Ethical Theories 1.3.1 Utilitarianism 1.3.2 Duty Ethics 1.3.3 Rights Ethics 1.3.4 Virtue Ethics 1.4 Engineering Ethics Codes 1.4.1 NSPE Code of Ethics for Engineers 1.4.2 IEEE Code of Ethics 1.4.3 Code Effectiveness 1.5 Professional Responsibility 1.5.1 Protection of Public Safety 1.5.2 Technical Competence 1.5.3 Timely Communication of Negative & Positive Results to Management 1.6 Ethical Dilemmas 1.6.1 Public Safety & Welfare 1.6.2 Data Integrity & Representation 1.6.3 Trade Secrets & Industrial Espionage 1.6.4 Gift Giving & Bribery 1.6.5 Principle of Informed Consent 1.6.6 Conflict of Interest 1.6.7 Accountability to Clients & Customers 1.6.8 Fair Treatment 1.7 Determining Your Personal Engineering Ethics Threshold for Action 1.7.1What Is Your Personal Threshold? 1.8 References 1.9 Questions for Discussion Chapter 2: Options for Action When an Engineering Ethics Threshold is Reached 2.1 Departure 2.2 Whistleblowing 2.3 The Employee Conscience 2.3.1 Employee Protection Legislation 2.3.2 Employee Protection Procedures 2.3.3 Employee Protection Examples 2.4 The Observer Conscience 2.4.1 Observer Protection Legislation 2.4.2 Observer Protection Procedures 2.4.3 Observer Protection Examples 2.5 Conclusion 2.6 References 2.7 Questions for Discussion Part II: National Case Studies Chapter 3: 1978 - Ford Pinto Explosion 3.1 The Reported Story 3.2 The Back Story 3.3 Applicable Regulations 3.4 An Engineering Perspective 3.5 References 3.6 Questions for Discussion Chapter 4: 1981 - Kansas City Hyatt Regency Skywalk Collapse 4.1 The Reported Story 4.2 The Back Story 4.3 Applicable Regulations 4.4 An Engineering Perspective 4.5 References 4.6 Questions for Discussion Chapter 5: 1986 - Challenger Space Shuttle Explosion 5.1 The Reported Story 5.2 The Back Story 5.3 Applicable Regulations 5.4 An Engineering Perspective 5.5 References 5.6 Questions for Discussion Chapter 6: 1989 - Exxon Valdez Oil Spill 6.1 The Reported Story 6.2 The Back Story 6.3 Applicable Regulations 6.4 An Engineering Perspective 6.5 References 6.6 Questions for Discussion Chapter 7: 1989 - San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Earthquake Collapse 7.1 The Reported Story 7.2 The Back Story 7.3 Applicable Regulations 7.4 An Engineering Perspective 7.5 References 7.6 Questions for Discussion Chapter 8: 1994 - Bjork Shiley Heart Valve Defect 8.1 The Reported Story 8.2 The Back Story 8.3 Applicable Regulations 8.4 An Engineering Perspective 8.5 References 8.6 Questions for Discussion Chapter 9: 1999 - Y2K Software Conversion 9.1 The Reported Story 9.2 The Back Story 9.3 Applicable Regulations 9.4 An Engineering Perspective 9.5 References 9.6 Questions for Discussion Chapter 10: 2002 - Bell Laboratories Scientific Fraud 10.1 The Reported Story 10.2 The Back Story 10.3 Applicable Regulations 10.4 A Scientific Perspective 10.5 References 10.6 Questions for Discussion Chapter 11: 2002 - Ford Explorer Rollover 11.1 The Reported Story 11.2 The Back Story 11.3 Applicable Regulations 11.4 An Engineering Perspective 11.5 References 11.6 Questions for Discussion Chapter 12: 2003 - Columbia Space Shuttle Explosion 12.1 The Reported Story 12.2 The Back Story 12.3 Applicable Regulations 12.4 An Engineering Perspective 12.5 References 12.6 Questions for Discussion Chapter 13: 2003 - Guidant Ancure Endograft System 13.1 The Reported Story 13.2 The Back Story 13.3 Applicable Regulations 13.4 An Engineering Perspective 13.5 References 13.6 Questions for Discussion Chapter 14: 2003 - Northeast Blackout 14.1 The Reported Story 14.2 The Back Story 14.3 Applicable Regulations 14.4 An Engineering Perspective 14.5 References 14.6 Questions for Discussion Chapter 15: 2004 – Indian Ocean Tsunami 15.1 The Reported Story 15.2 The Back Story 15.3 Applicable Regulations 15.4 An Engineering Perspective 15.5 References 15.6 Questions for Discussion Part III: Individual Case Studies

Chapter 16: Anonymous Industrial Engineering Ethics Cases 16.1 Case 1: Biomedical Engineer 16.2 Case 2: Mechanical Engineer 16.3 Case 3: Electrical Engineer 16.4 Case 4: Geologic Engineer 16.5 Case 5: Biomedical Engineer 16.6 Case 6: Electrical Engineer 16.7 Case 7: Mechanical Engineer 16.8 Case 8: Biomedical Engineer 16.9 Case 9: Computer Engineer 16.10 Case 10: Electrical Engineer


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© Academic Press 2006
11th April 2006
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
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About the Author

Gail Baura

Dr. Baura received her BS Electrical Engineering degree from Loyola Marymount University, her MS Electrical Engineering and MS Biomedical Engineering degrees from Drexel University, and her PhD Bioengineering degree from the University of Washington. Between her graduate degrees, she worked as a loop transmission systems engineer at AT&T Bell Laboratories. She then spent 13 years in the medical device industry conducting medical device research and managing research and product development at several companies. She holds 20 U.S. patents. In her last industry position, Dr. Baura was Vice President, Research and Chief Scientist at CardioDynamics. In 2006, she returned to academia as a Professor of Medical Devices at Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences, which is one of the Claremont Colleges.

Throughout her career, Dr. Baura has championed engineering curriculum excellence. She has written four engineering textbooks, three of which are medical device textbooks. She is an ABET Engineering Accreditation Commissioner. In her new position as Director of Engineering Science at Loyola, she is constructing a general engineering curriculum that incorporates substantial industry input and prepares new engineering graduates for positions in the medical device, semiconductor, and wastewater treatment industries.

Affiliations and Expertise

Vice President, Research and Chief Scientist, CardioDynamics Corporation, San Diego, CA, USA


"This is a most extraordinary book. Its contents range from valuable reference material on Sarbanes-Oxley and US engineering codes of conduct to some folksy, almost sentimental, personal case histories. But, remarkably, the author's own personal commitment and integrity shine through on every page." --John Turnbull, The Chemical Engineer, August 2006

"At first glance, this book looks like most other recent volumes on this topic. But where other books often written in whole or part by philosophers and academics - can be tedious for engineers who are not coversant with ethical theory, Baura definitely approaches from an industrial perspective. She also addresses the subject with a concrete problem-solving approach and with more elegant prose and a better organization than I find in other treatments." --Gael UlRich, Chemical Engineering 2006

"Despite the US focus, the examples are presented with a level of detail that will enable engineers anywhere to understand the underlying technical and behavioral issues. It will be welcomed by those teaching engineering ethics modules, especially with the up-to-date examples we all remember from the news." --Julia King, Materials Today, March 2007

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