Question

You are considering the following options:

1. Because the bigger bike companies are now using the quick release skewer and presumably have many engineers, the problem is now theirs to deal with. Thus, you plan to do nothing.

2. Tell your boss about the issue and explain that you have some ethical reservations. Trust that your boss will determine how to best follow up with the bike companies using the part.

3. Directly contact engineers at the bike companies to explain your concerns on the malfunction and trust that they will determine the best course of action.

4. Work out a solution to the problem, but without telling the bike companies. Once your company has resolved the issue you can simply sell the new design and give the companies some extras to replace any of the old quick release skewers that their customers are using.


Assignment: For each of these options discuss any violations NSPE Code of Ethics for Engineers which would arise while citing the specific sections of the code when relevant. Note that not all options necessarily present a breach of engineering ethics. Which option do you think is best? Why? Is there a better option that you can think of?
Assignment Template
Scenario 1 – I believe the actions in scenario 1 violate a number of the sections in the NSPE Code of Ethics. Section I.2.x…. states that … which is clearly at odds with … Another part of the code which is relevant is … because it states ….
Scenario 2 –
Scenario 3 –
Scenario 4 –
Of the 4 scenarios, the option that I think is best is … because….
Even though this option is the best of the 4, I think that a better option would be to ….

Solution Preview

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Scenario 1, the do-nothing option, would be in contravention of a number of sections of the NSPE Code of Ethics (hereafter referred to as “the Code”), I believe. Before taking up consideration of some of the specific sections, it is important to note the implications of this scenario: by choosing to do nothing, the engineer is expediently assuming (and/or hoping) that the engineers at the bigger bike companies will catch the problem and fix it – or, if they don’t, any harm done to customers will be their responsibility, because their companies assemble and sell the bikes. But, of course, making these assumptions is unethical. Chiefly, this approach fails to adhere to the Code’s rule of practice, Section 2.1, which states that engineers must...

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