Cases

Theses cases vary significantly in structure. Some are discussion cases that present open-ended situations requiring a response. Some are descriptions of completed actions and call for a judgment on an action taken. Many cases are brief, but some detailed descriptions also appear. Most cases are at least loosely based on real incidents, in order to give a realistic impression of the moral problems that face engineers.

  • Displaying 1 - 20 of 27
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  • (Web Page on this Site) 

    This Ethics Case Study and Commentary were written by Michael McFarland, S.J. during his time at Markulla Center for Applied Ethics in June of 2012. It includes a case plus a full Tutoriial on Ethical Decision Making as well as information on the Foundations of Ethical Judgement, Ethical Conflict, Ethical Reasoning, Derived Sources of Ethical Wisdom, and Responsibility.

    Resource Added: 08/20/2012

  • (Web Page on this Site) 

    From the Center For the Study of Ethics in Society, Western Michigan University. A list of thirty-two cases, edited by Michael Pritchard, which address a wide range of ethical issues that can arise in engineering practice.

    Resource Added: 08/23/2006

  • (Web Page on this Site) 

    These are summaries of cases maintained in full by Texas A& M University on their site. The full cases include diagrams, numerical problems, teaching guides, and other useful classroom material. They investigate engineering ethics issues, from gross violation of environmental regulations to conflict of interest in the operations of a professional engineering society.

    Resource Added: 08/23/2006

  • (Web Page on this Site) 

    This paper briefly describes cases of engineering failure with which the author has become familiar in his practice as a consultant and expert in construction defects lawsuits, and other engineering failures in the published record, in order to expose students to the concept of the engineer's standard of care.

    Resource Added: 08/23/2006

  • (Web Page on this Site) 

    Stephen Unger, Columbia University. The cases reported on here all came to the attention of the IEEE Ethics Committee during the 1990s. Most came in via the ethics hotline, while the initial contacts for others was via communications addressed to authors of ethics columns that appeared in the IEEE Institute. Most of these cases have not been carefully investigated, although we are fairly confident that the essential information is correct. The outcomes of most of the cases are not known-in some cases matters are still in a state of flux. Names and other information that might identify individuals or organizations have been suppressed or fictionalized.

    Resource Added: 08/23/2006

  • (Web Page on this Site) 

    These 18 assignable problems were originally developed as part of an NSF-funded project to create numerical problems that raise ethical issues for use in engineering and other course assignments. They are technical problems that apply to a number of engineering disciplines.

    Resource Added: 08/23/2006

  • (Web Page on this Site)  Hypothetical Case

    This web-based case study presents the major safety and sustainability points in the ethical debate over ultra-lightweight vehicles and then asks the reader to consider a series of thought-provoking questions for both topics.
    Missy Cummings, Anke Von Gorp
  • (Web Page on this Site)  Historical Case

    Abstract of a 1993 article from IEEE Computer about the Therac-25 computerized radiation therapy machine and its software flaws, which caused massive overdoses to patients.
    Nancy G. Leveson and Clark S. Turner (abstract by Philip D. Sarin)
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    A synopsis and index of the documents in the Case of the Killer Robot, a detailed hypothetical scenario that combines elements of software engineering and computer ethics. The case consists of several FICTIONAL newspaper articles.

    Resource Added: 08/23/2006

  • (Web Page on this Site)  Fictionalized Case, Mini-case

    Joe engineer encounters a conflict of interest when attempting to support work he performed for a past employer.

    Resource Added: 06/26/2012

  • (Web Page on this Site)  Historical Case

    Index to Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident Information. A discussion of the accident at the Three Mile Island Unit 2 (TMI-2) nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania on March 28, 1979 as one of the most serious in the history of the U.S. nuclear industry.

    Resource Added: 08/23/2006

  • (Web Page on this Site)  Hypothetical Case

    WPI begins production and ships the first portion of the order to GFI on time. GFI, at this point, is very happy with the component and wants WPI to ship the final three quarters of the order as soon as feasible. As Philip is working on the component he thinks of an apparent solution to the 'nagging problem' that bothered him in the design. It would involve a small change in the production process, while increasing the cost to three dollars more per component. Philip is convinced that, had they known about this improvement earlier, GFI would have wanted it.

    Resource Added: 08/23/2006

  • (Web Page on this Site)  Hypothetical Case

    Dan Dorset had been looking forward to this trip for weeks. Once he was assigned to help Rancott install its equipment for Boulding, Inc., he arranged his vacation at a nearby ski resort. The installation would be completed on the 12th, and his vacation would begin on the 13th. Unfortunately, not all of Rancott's equipment arrived on time.

    Resource Added: 08/23/2006

  • (Web Page on this Site)  Hypothetical Case

    John Budinski, quality control engineer at Clarke Engineering, has a problem. Clarke contracted with USAWAY to supply a product subject to the requirement that all parts are made in the United States. Although the original design clearly specifies that all parts must satisfy this requirement, one of Clarke's suppliers failed to note that one of the components has two special bolts that are made only in another country. There is not time to design a new bolt if the terms of the contract are to be met. USAWAY is a major customer, and not meeting the deadline can be expected to have unfortunate consequences for Clarke.

    Resource Added: 08/23/2006

  • (Web Page on this Site)  Hypothetical Case

    A design firm considers adding unnecessary items to an initial design in order to boost profits.

    Resource Added: 02/03/2010

  • (Web Page on this Site)  Open-Ended Scenario

    A scenario in which an engineer must choose between state-of-the-art science and a simpler method to fulfill a contract.

    Resource Added: 01/26/2010

  • (Web Page on this Site)  Fictionalized Case

    Is it within an engineer's responsibility to fight against a public danger, even if it is not within his area of expertise?

    Resource Added: 01/26/2010

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Cite this page: "Cases" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 7/28/2009 National Academy of Engineering Accessed: Sunday, May 24, 2015 <onlineethics.org/Topics/ProfPractice/PPCases.aspx>