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Lebanese International University School of Engineering Department of Electrical Engineering Spring 2012 ENGG650 Engineering Profession & Ethics

Assignment 1
Instructor: Dr. Bassam Hussein Due Date: Week 4

1. How different are professional ethics and personal ethics? Is this difference true to you personally? 2. An engineer notified his firm that for a relatively minor cost a flashlight could be made to last several years longer by using a more reliable bulb. The firm decides that it would be in its interests not to use the new bulb, both to keep costs lower and to have the added advantage of built-in obsolescence so that consumers would need to purchase new flashlights more often. Identify the moral values, issues and dilemmas, if any, involved in the case and explain why you consider them moral values and dilemmas. 3. Government regulation and engineering societies codes of ethics attempt to provide a legal and professional framework for engineers. Describe the relationship between the two. Identify their similarities and differences. Which one provides the society with more benefits? 4. An engineer leaves a company and goes to work for a competitor. a. Is it ethical for the engineer to try to lure customers away from the previous employer? b. Is it alright for the engineer to use proprietary knowledge gained while working for the previous employer at the new job? How would the answer change if the new job was not for a competitor? c. At the new job, is it acceptable for the engineer to use skills developed during previous employment? 5. A team of engineers are redesigning an artificial lung marketed by their company. They are working in a highly competitive market with long hours and high stress. The engineers have little or no contact with the firms customers, and they are focused on technical problems, not people. It occurs to the project engineer to invite recipients of artificial lungs and their families to the plant to talk about how their lives were affected by the artificial lung. The change is immediate and striking: When families began to bring in their children who for the first time could breathe freely, relax, learn, and enjoy life because of the firms product, it came as a revelation. The workers were energized by concrete evidence that their efforts did really improve peoples lives, and the morale of the workplace was given a great lift. a. Comment on why you think simple human contact made such a large difference. b. What does it say about what motivated the engineers, both before and after the encounter? c. Is the case too unique to permit generalizations to other engineering products?