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Human Values And Professional Ethics

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Universal human values play an important role in the life of human at various stages including education and career. When a child enters in school, her/his behaviour depends on the home culture that is family circle. In primary and secondary school life, there is major influence of friends and teachers on her/his behaviour that is the school circle. When she/he enters the college or professional course, the social circle plays an important role which has a dominant impact on humanity andmoral capabilities. The overall personality of individual depends on those circles.The article clarifies how education in human values is deeply essential to nourish the moral capabilities in the students and ultimately in workplace, in a positive way.


Values form the basis for all our thoughts, behaviours and actions. Once we know what is valuable to us, these values become the basis, the anchor for our actions. We also need to understand the universality of various human values, because only then we can have a definite and common program for value education. Then only we can be assured of a happy and harmonious human society. A value is defined as a principle that promotes well-being or prevents harm.” Another definition is: Values are our guidelines for our success—our paradigm about what is acceptable.”


Professional Ethics

Profession is a commitment to a designated and organized occupation by virtue of being an authority over a body of knowledge with requisite skills acquired through specialized training.An occupation becomes a profession when a group of people sharing the same occupation work together in a morally acceptable way with members setting and following a certain ethics code. A professional is a practitioner belonging to a specific profession.

Professional ethics, as opposed to personal values and morality, is a set of ethical standards and values a practicing engineer is required to follow. It sets the standards for professional practice, and is only learned in a professional school or while practicing one’s own profession. Today, it is an essential part of professional education because it helps students deal with issues, they will face

Why Professional Ethics?

  • To understand the moral values that ought to guide the profession,
  • Resolve the moral issues in the profession, and
  • Justify the moral judgment concerning the profession.

It is intended to develop a set of beliefs, attitudes, and habits that engineers should display concerning morality.

The prime objective is to increase one’s ability to deal effectively with moral complexity in managerial practice.

Morality and Ethics

  • Concerns the goodness of voluntary human conduct that affects the self or other living things
  • Moralityusually refers to any aspect of human action
  • Ethics commonly refers only to professional behaviour
  • Ethics consist of the application of fundamental moral principles and reflect our dedication to fair treatment of each other, and of society as a whole.
  • An individual’s own values can result in acceptance or rejection of society’s ethical standards because even thoughtfully developed ethical rules can conflict with individual values.

Aspects of Ethics

There are two aspects to ethics:

  • The first involves the ability to discern right from wrong, good from evil and propriety from impropriety.
  • The second involves the commitment to do what is right, good and proper. Ethics entails action.


“Technology can have no legitimacy unless it inflicts no harm”-AdamH.G. Rickover

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  • Engineers have an ethical and social responsibility to themselves, their clients and society.
  • Practically (although there is much debate about this), engineering ethics is about balancing cost, schedule, and risk.

Engineering Ethics is

  • The study of moral issues and decisions confronting individuals and organizations involved in engineering and
  • The study of related questions about moral ideals, character, policies and relationships of people and organizations involved in technological activity.

Why Study?

ENGINEERING ETHICS is a means to increase the ability of concerned engineers, managers, citizens and others to responsibly confront moral issues raised by technological activities.

Training in Preventive Ethics:

  • Stimulating the moral imagination
  • Recognizing ethical issues
  • Developing analytical skills
  • Eliciting a sense of responsibility
  • Tolerating disagreement and ambiguity

Impediments Of Responsibility:

  • Self-interest.
  • Fear.
  • Self-deception.
  • Ignorance.
  • Egocentric tendencies.
  • Microscopic vision.
  • Groupthink.

Questionable Engineering Practices:

  • Trimming – “smoothing of irregularities to make data look extremely accurate and precise”
  • Cooking – “retaining only those results that fit the theory and discarding others”.
  • Forging – “inventing some or all of the research data…”
  • Plagiarism – misappropriating intellectual property.
  • Conflicts of interest (such as accepting gifts.)

Wrong Engineering Practices:

  • Lying
  • Deliberate deception
  • Withholding information
  • Failing to adequately promote the dissemination of information
  • Failure to seek out the truth
  • Revealing confidential or proprietary information
  • Allowing one’s judgment to be corrupted.

Senses of Expressions:

  • Ethics is an activity and area of inquiry. It is the activity of understanding moral values, resolving moral issues and the area of study resulting from that activity.
  • When we speak of ethical problems, issues and controversies, we mean to distinguish them from non-moral problems.

Varieties of Moral Issues:

  • MICRO-ETHICS emphasizes typically everyday problems that can take on significant proportions in an engineer’s life or entire engineering office.
  • MACRO-ETHICS addresses societal problems that are often shunted aside and are not addressed until they unexpectedly resurface on a regional or national scale.

Professional Responsibility:

  • Being morally responsible as a professional.
  • Most basic and comprehensive professional virtue.
  • Creation of useful and safe technological products while respecting the autonomy of clients and public, especially in matters of risk taking.


A code of ethics prescribes how professionals are to pursue their common ideal so that each may do the best at a minimal cost to oneself and those they care about. The code is to protect each professional from certain pressures by making it reasonably likely (and more likely then otherwise) that most other members of the profession will not take advantage. A code is a solution to a coordination problem. A professional has obligations to the employer, to customers, to other professionals- colleagues with specific expectations of reciprocity.


  1. Lecture Notes On: Human Values andProfessional Ethics by K. Yamuna
  2. Professional Ethics and Human Values by Syed Ibrahim
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Human Values And Professional Ethics. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from
“Human Values And Professional Ethics.” Edubirdie, 08 Jul. 2022,
Human Values And Professional Ethics. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 Nov. 2023].
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