Professional Ethics in Engineering Practice: Discussion Cases Based on NSPE BER Cases

These cases present situations that raise ethical questions common in engineering practice and research. They are based on original cases brought to the BER (Board of Ethical Review) of the NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers) for review between 1976 and 1998. The NSPE BER reviews cases with the specific purpose of making an ethical judgment on the actions of (only) the engineers in the cases, based solely on the NSPE Code of Ethics. The Online Ethics Center is presenting new versions of these cases that are more suitable for group and class discussion. These rewritten cases are deliberately open ended to encourage exchange regarding how one should respond to the situation rather than simply judgments about what someone already did. The discussion cases vary in the extent of their resemblance to the corresponding NSPE case. Each rewritten case has a link to the original NSPE version.

Public Safety and Public Welfare

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Conflicting Interests and Conflict of Interest

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Ethical Engineering/Fair Trade

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International Engineering Ethics

Research Ethics

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NSPE Code of Ethics An earlier version may have been used in this case.

An extensive collection of the original NSPE Board of Ethical Review cases and judgments from 1958 to present is available on the NSPE BER webpage.

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Cite this page: "Professional Ethics in Engineering Practice: Discussion Cases Based on NSPE BER Cases" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 6/10/2006 OEC Accessed: Monday, September 7, 2020 <>