This week’s assignment involved ethical conflict and creative middle ways.
We were presented with a situation that can occur at any work place these days. The CEO of a company has negotiated contract to crash test cars using child cadavers. This obviously caused a bit of a conflict within the company’s employees and engineers in particular.
Our job was to put our self’s in this situation and try to come up with middle way of solving this issue.
(What did you know about this issue before?)
I never thought about car crash test been done in such way and before we were presented with this case I’ve never heard of anything like this before. To my surprise this was done since the 70’s. I always assumed that dummies were used to model the human body and the effects of car accidents were then computably modeled to fit the car manufacturer’s requirements. When we were presented first with this assignment I felt that this was inhumane and people were gone a bit too far this time.
Being a parent I was in a bit of shock at first and took me some time to get my head around the issue of using dead kids to be used in crash testing.
(Why is knowledge of this issue important for an engineer?)
As future engineers we have to be able to face such problems in a constructive way and try and come up with a middle way, which is going to satisfy the employer and our self’s as well. Having this knowledge of how to deal with ethical conflicts and how to create middle ways is very important for our future career and development as engineers. Some of us might be facing a similar problem in the next 3-4 years, so we need to be prepared to deal with it quickly and with confidence keeping in mind the fact that some times we have to push boundaries in order to achieve progress and useful results.
(What did you learn from this problem?)
Over the course of my research for this presentation I find out that some times we need to take step back and look at situation from personal and professional point of view. We have to weigh the facts and rely on facts and rock solid data when presented with an ethical conflict situation where we need to make the right choice i.e. create middle way of solving the issue and keep the employer happy. On the other side we need to follow the code of ethics of an engineer and try not to compromise with our self’s as human beings. Personally I would not be comfortable working in a place where child cadavers been used as a crash dummies but as we’ve seen in live we can be faced with even worse situation in our future careers as engineers.
(What specific things will you do with this learning?)
I presume what I am going to take on board from this unusual exercise is that if I am presented with similar conflict in the future I will try not to over react, but remember the way I approached this exercise and how we were able to come up with a solution (middle way) for this particular problem. It is hard to predict what is going to happen in our future careers but I know that I am ready to deal with ethical conflicts that will occur in everyday life.