Engineers & Ethics at Volkswagen

business_ethics_highlights_2Once again, highly-educated professionals are at the centre of a major ethics scandal. At Enron, it was accountants. At VW, it’s engineers. Engineers are not just employees — they’re professionals trusted by the public to do their work properly. It’s worth noting that engineers are not regulated or licensed in Germany the same way they are, for example, in the US or Canada, so they don’t have to swear to a code of ethics to get to call themselves engineers. That’s not to say that this couldn’t have happened in North America. But it does raise interesting questions about how engineers are educated, and how they can be disabused of the dangerous notion that their jobs are merely technical ones. >>>

LINK: Engineers, Ethics, and the VW Scandal (by Prachi Patel for IEEE Spectrum)

“This is shocking,” says Yotam Lurie, a senior lecturer of business ethics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. “It’s shocking that the software engineers of Volkswagen overlooked and neglected their fiduciary responsibility as professionals. Professionals who have a semi-regulatory responsibility within the organization to ensure safety, in this case environmental safety, even when this is less efficient or economical.”….

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