About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5819-5825
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.1364

Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain

ANALYZING THE FACTORS INFLUENCING THE ETHICAL DECISION MAKING SKILLS AMONG ENGINEERING STUDENTS

M. Atesh, B. Baruah, A. Ward

University of York (UNITED KINGDOM)
A high standard of ethical conduct is a fundamental expectation of all professional engineers. Potentially all design and operational decisions have ethical implications so ethical thinking should be high in the minds of engineers in their operational as well as strategic thinking in their individual activities, team working and interactions with outside companies. Today organizations typically have a set standard of professional conduct and values expected of their engineers and many offer forms of ethical training and support as part of their professional development. Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) also have strategies to initiate ethical awareness and professional conduct among undergraduate engineers through specific training and curriculum interventions. There is however, some lack of clarity on the ethical development of engineering students. Can university curricula and ethics education influence the ethical decision making capabilities of students? Do students address difficult ethical situations with a refined professional approach after undertaking a course or workshop on ethics? This research study aims to address these issues by investigating the key factors that influence decision making competences of engineering students. Using two focus groups: one with students who have undertaken an ethics based workshop and a second, as a control group, with students who haven’t. This study explores the differences in their skills and approaches to decision making. According to Rest (1986), there are four key stages involved in the ethical decision making process: Recognising moral issues (ETHICAL AWARNESS); Making a moral judgement (ETHICAL JUDGEMENT); Prioritising moral issues ahead of other issues (ETHICAL INTENT); and Acting on the moral concerns (ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR). This study adopts this model as part of the analysis to determine what shapes the decision making capabilities and competences of the participants and whether distinct patterns are followed. The analysis shows no significant differences in the level of ethical awareness and intentions of the participants in the two focus groups. However, the findings do highlight that the factors influencing their responses did vary between the groups. Factors such as job and financial motivation, personal commitment to friendship, fear of academic punishment heavily influenced the decision making competences among these groups. The two key motivation themes that emerge are external and internal rewards. Participants from the group which had no experience of ethics education showed preference towards external rewards (money, salary and job) in their decision making whereas participants who had undertaken a workshop on ethics sought internal rewards (being happy and guilt-free). The study makes a contribution to the literature of ethics education and curriculum design by bringing clarity on the factors influencing students’ decision making skills. It also reflects on the effectiveness of ethics education in HEIs. Educators can use the findings of this study to build and reform ethical awareness and professional conduct among student. Students can utilize this study to understand the ethical norms and expectations in a profession like engineering as part of their career development.
@InProceedings{ATESH2017ANA,
author = {Atesh, M. and Baruah, B. and Ward, A.},
title = {ANALYZING THE FACTORS INFLUENCING THE ETHICAL DECISION MAKING SKILLS AMONG ENGINEERING STUDENTS},
series = {11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-8491-2},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2017.1364},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2017.1364},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {6-8 March, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {5819-5825}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Atesh AU - B. Baruah AU - A. Ward
TI - ANALYZING THE FACTORS INFLUENCING THE ETHICAL DECISION MAKING SKILLS AMONG ENGINEERING STUDENTS
SN - 978-84-617-8491-2/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2017.1364
PY - 2017
Y1 - 6-8 March, 2017
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2017 Proceedings
SP - 5819
EP - 5825
ER -
M. Atesh, B. Baruah, A. Ward (2017) ANALYZING THE FACTORS INFLUENCING THE ETHICAL DECISION MAKING SKILLS AMONG ENGINEERING STUDENTS, INTED2017 Proceedings, pp. 5819-5825.
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