Engineering is an imperative and knowledgeable profession. As a member of this profession, one should be guided by a set of norms and standards which are purposely for the good of the entire society. The fourth canon should be amended since engineers should hold paramount the safety, welfare and health of the general public and defines the loyalty between an engineer, clients, and an employing organization. However, conflicts normally arise between canon one and four which leaves engineers at crossroads during critical decision-making. Due to the nature of their work environment, engineers need a high degree of autonomy and discretion in decision making since they are responsible for general safety, health and welfare of society in general. They are responsible for offering technical skills and experience of solving technical problems hence should not be subjected to cannons which deprive them from being autonomous and free to innovate and come up with novel ideas to provide a solution to the entire public. Besides, during division of labor and specialization, engineers are assigned technical jobs which are then supervised or governed by a very rigid policy, especially in bureaucratic organizations. They are set to obey orders given by their superiors who lack adequate skills of supervising an engineering work. They are required to be loyal to the organization even if their rights, obligations and duties are being infringed. It thus means deferring any law leads to dysfunctional outcomes and inter-role conflicts since engineers are deprived the necessary freedom as well as autonomy to accomplish the organizational tasks as per the knowledge and expertise. It thus calls for the amendment of these canon so as to provide engineers with necessary freedom that can enable them to solve problems with a lot of ease and without coercion or undue influence.
Since cannon four is still rooted in a traditional law of agency which strictly prohibits autonomy and liberty of professionals(engineers) and demand employees subordination was making engineers to face high degree of intimidation hence need for change of cannon four. It also advocates mainly for loyalty which deprives creativity and innovation hence leading to irresolvable conflict in the organization. It is because the result is always predetermined by the employer's judgment without any guidance from the codes proposed by the professional's body. Due to the conflicts which arise between cannon one and cannon four of the NSPE code of ethics, engineers thus are left undecided on which cannon to use without bringing chaos and confusion which can lead to a greater danger in future. Thus, Cannon four of the ethical act should be amended so as to ensure that there is a flow and a proper coordination between the employees and the employers and employees and customers.
Therefore, engineers proposition and autonomy should be upheld by taking their views very seriously during decision making hence enable them to balance duty to the societys welfare and loyalty to employers. In such a case, engineers will not be stuck between the two principles and advance their decision-making processes based on rationality and ethics. It will also enable engineers to eliminate tensions between cannons one and four hence makes the whole issue more explicit that encourages engineers to engage in reflecting on and weighing of factors and circumstances involved in a particular challenging situation.
Templin, T. (2015). Deliberations on and Suggestions for Revising Canon four of the Code of Ethics for Engineers of the National Society of Professional Engineers: The Economics of Professional Ethics.319-941.
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