Engineering in ContextLER 590 - UE, Week 4: Professional & Institutional Setting<br />David E. GoldbergIESE, IFoundry, and...
You May Bowl Alone	<br />But you rarely engineer alone.<br />What is the institutional context of engineering?<br />What i...
Roadmap<br />Part I: Historical setting, Revolt of the Engineers<br />Engineer as “scientist & businessman.”<br />By the n...
The Engineer and Business<br />“The engineer is both a scientist and a businessman.”<br />The engineer as part of a large ...
The Rise of the Engineer in the US<br />1816: 30 engineers.<br />1850: 2000 engineers due to canal and railroads.<br />Eri...
Natural Tensions<br />Art versus science<br />Loyalty vs. independence<br />Autonomy versus hierarchy.<br />Responsible ch...
Evolution of an Engineer’s Career<br />1924 study Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education.<br />4,079 students ...
Forces Guiding Engineering Societies<br />Business versus professional emphasis.<br />Too much profession, not enough supp...
Defining Membership<br />“Vaguely bounded nucleus within a larger body of technical workers.”<br />Four tests:<br />Techni...
First Professional Efforts in US<br />Grew out of Franklin Institute. <br />1829-1836 Alexander Dallas Bache connected pra...
Early Efforts<br />1839 failed effort of 40 engineers with requirement for one communication per year.<br />Regional socie...
ASCE versus AIME: Dialectic Opposites <br />American Society of Civil Engineers.<br />1852, revived 1867.<br />Claimed to ...
Problems in ASCE Paradise<br />Large degree of professional control.<br />Encouraged collegial approval through Proceeding...
AIME by Contrast<br />AIME didn’t claim to serve all.<br />One-man band: Rossiter W. Raymond. <br />Edited Engineering & M...
Professional Space Fills Some More<br />1880 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and 1884 AIEE (American Insti...
AIEE Founded to Compete with British<br />EE as “child of science?” Faraday’s motor 1821. Maxwell’s equations 1861.<br />O...
Engineers as Vital to Progress<br />Engineers see themselves as vital to progress.<br />1895 address by George S. Morison ...
Engineers as Logical, Yet Unhappy<br />Thought of themselves as logical.<br />Impartial.<br />Honest lovers of truth.<br /...
Status Remedies<br />Remedies:<br />Professional loyalty<br />Social responsibility<br />Conservation<br />Cooperation<br ...
Codes of Ethics<br />Compare and contrast NSPE code of ethics to IEEE code of ethics.<br />What are the differences?<br />...
What About HR?<br />Society for Human Resources Management (www.shrm.org).<br />Formed in 1948 by 24 individuals as ASPA o...
Compare & Contrast HR & Engineer<br />Institutionally and professionally, how are HR & engineering similar?<br />How are t...
Layton as Historical Observer or Critic?<br />Is Layton dispassionate observer?<br />One of the basic problems of American...
Engineers Embedded in Markets<br />But markets such a commonplace, hard to take their measure.<br />Many critics and suppo...
Christian & Civic Virtue Traditions<br />Greek & Roman civic virtue tradition evolved. <br />Free men serve the state in w...
Dutch Commerce & National Power<br />Dutch East India Company established in 1602.<br />21 year monopoly for trade in Asia...
Voltaire’s Defense of Self Interest<br />Letters on England, 1734.<br />Religious zeal as a source of discord.<br />Market...
A Famous Passage<br />Go into the London Stock Exchange – a more respectable place than many a court – and you will see re...
The Invisible Hand & Small Virtues<br />Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). <br />The Wealth of Nations (1776).<br />Subtle...
Concerns & Criticisms<br />Jean-Jacques Rousseau – culture corrupts & leads to inequality.<br />Justus Moser – Markets des...
Tensions<br />Sources of dynamism – self interest, capital, & human capital.<br />The state – rule of law as precondition ...
Aspirational Engineering: A Reflection<br />Carl Mitcham keynoted Workshop on Philosophy & Engineering at Royal Academy of...
Roadmap<br />Recap argument: Mitcham 5, a criterion, and a classification.<br />Some concerns.<br />What is philosophical ...
Mitcham 5, a Criterion & a Classification<br />Use term “occupations” to avoid debates about whether they are “professions...
Preliminary Concerns<br />Greek philosophy & virtues are the starting point.<br />Their methodology still relevant. <br />...
Philosophical Strength & Weakness<br />Mitcham’s notion turns on ethics, one of five elements of philosophy: metaphysics, ...
Comparative Analysis of the Five<br />
Different Categorization<br />3 PS’ occupations: Medicine, law & military<br />2 PW’ occupations: Business & engineering<b...
Recovering Mitcham’s Division<br />Consider whether occupations are instrumental or end-in-themselves occupations.<br />Ob...
At Aggregate Occupational Level<br />Does health care system provide health?<br />Fixing disease versus wellness.<br />Doc...
Institutional Settings: Clue to the Problem	<br />Occupations work at level of individual practitioner and in institutiona...
Institutional Comparison<br />Lawyers: Officer of court, monopoly on practice by state.  Work in private firms and in gove...
What about HR?	<br />What is institutional setting for HR pro?<br />Take a moment to reflect.<br />Let’s discuss.<br />
Institutional Differences Significant<br />Institutional framework creates situation for Mitcham’sstrong occupations:<br /...
Some Ethical Urgings<br />Move from “is” to “ought.”<br />Engineering ought be more like law/med.<br />Adopt ideals corres...
Simple Ideals Hard for Biz/Engineering<br />Technological artifacts can satisfy many positive values: From human survival ...
Peace, the Military & Engineering<br />Soldier seeking peace puts engineering problem in perspective, 4 problems:<br />Doe...
Return to Engineering<br />Assume simple, practical aspirational ideal exists or that engineers have sufficient judgment t...
Absolute Control Model<br />Assume engineers aspire to some ideal.<br />Construct institutional framework to help good occ...
Philosophers, PW & the Republic<br />Institutional framework of philosopher similar to that of the engineer.<br />Philosop...
Fail-Safe Action Model<br />OK, don’t put engineers in charge.<br />Keep marketplace, insist engineers invent, make, susta...
Engineer in Regulated Market Intermediate<br />Presently: <br />Engineers not in charge of a command economy.<br />Do not ...
History: Engineers Professional Strivings <br />Strivings reflect institutional & ethical variation.<br />Civil Engineers ...
NeoProfessionalism: Déjà Vu All Over Again <br />New report calls for professionalism at the center of educational reform....
Summing Up<br />Examined “philosophically weak” based on ideals.<br />Defined PS’/PW’ differently.  Engineering philosophi...
Bottom Line<br />Engineering professional and institutional history marked by complexity.<br />Simple solutions unlikely t...
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Engineering in Context: The Professional and Institutional Setting

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Lecture 4 of the course Understanding Engineers by David E. Goldberg reviews the institutional and professional setting of engineering. The course is taught in Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois to masters students in human resources.

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Engineering in Context: The Professional and Institutional Setting

  1. 1. Engineering in ContextLER 590 - UE, Week 4: Professional & Institutional Setting<br />David E. GoldbergIESE, IFoundry, and School of Labor and Employment RelationsUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbana, Illinois 61801 USAdeg@illinois.edu<br />
  2. 2. You May Bowl Alone <br />But you rarely engineer alone.<br />What is the institutional context of engineering?<br />What is the professional context of engineering?<br />
  3. 3. Roadmap<br />Part I: Historical setting, Revolt of the Engineers<br />Engineer as “scientist & businessman.”<br />By the numbers.<br />Evolution of professional societies.<br />Layton’s view of business and markets.<br />Part II: Understanding markets<br />Ancient antipathy.<br />Modern sympathy.<br />A continuing struggle.<br />Part III: Some philosophical clarification<br />Engineering as philosophically weak?<br />The Mitcham five.<br />Weakness or complexity?<br />Market embedding as middle ground.<br />
  4. 4. The Engineer and Business<br />“The engineer is both a scientist and a businessman.”<br />The engineer as part of a large bureaucratic organization. <br />Need for many engineers arose with large-scale business.<br />The original “organizational man.”<br />
  5. 5. The Rise of the Engineer in the US<br />1816: 30 engineers.<br />1850: 2000 engineers due to canal and railroads.<br />Erie Canal & B&O Railroad as training ground for tech talent.<br />1880 to 1920: 7,000 to 136,000 engineers.<br />1930: 226,000; 1940, 260,000; +500k, 1950, 800k, 1960, .<br />Engineering as largest new profession called forth by industrial revolution.<br />
  6. 6. Natural Tensions<br />Art versus science<br />Loyalty vs. independence<br />Autonomy versus hierarchy.<br />Responsible charge (local vs. societal).<br />Contrast to medicine (engineering serves ends ulterior to itself). Return to this later<br />Engineering versus business. <br />
  7. 7. Evolution of an Engineer’s Career<br />1924 study Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education.<br />4,079 students studied & predominantly from less-educated members of middle class.<br />Large cities underrepresented then (and now).<br />Most engineers leave home states (59%).<br />60% transition to management proper at some point. <br />Engineers as board chairmen or CEOs (1/8 in 1900 and 1/5 1950).<br />Tend to forget engineering when they “arrive.”<br />
  8. 8. Forces Guiding Engineering Societies<br />Business versus professional emphasis.<br />Too much profession, not enough support from employers for meeting attendance/membership.<br />Wholly business, left by creative technical professionals. <br />Ways to alter the balance: <br />Field covered: inclusive or industry specific.<br />Professional standards of measurement.<br />
  9. 9. Defining Membership<br />“Vaguely bounded nucleus within a larger body of technical workers.”<br />Four tests:<br />Technical creativity<br />Ability to design<br />Being in responsible charge<br />Company/industrial affiliation<br />Technical creativity: new work by small numbers (2%).<br />Design a key: Practice and application of professional knowledge, but design not everything engineers do.<br />Responsible charge affiliated with bureaucracy.<br />Industrial affiliation further dilutes profession.<br />
  10. 10. First Professional Efforts in US<br />Grew out of Franklin Institute. <br />1829-1836 Alexander Dallas Bache connected practical matters to Institute.<br />Civil Engineering as one of three professional subdivision’s of Institute Journal. <br />
  11. 11. Early Efforts<br />1839 failed effort of 40 engineers with requirement for one communication per year.<br />Regional societies worked: Boston Society of Civil Engineers (1848), ASCE (1852) in NY at first, Western Engineering Society (1869) in Chicago & Engineers Club (1868) in St. Louis.<br />
  12. 12. ASCE versus AIME: Dialectic Opposites <br />American Society of Civil Engineers.<br />1852, revived 1867.<br />Claimed to represent all engineers not military.<br />High professional standards.<br />Stood for ideal of engineering as independent profession.<br />American Institute of Mining Engineers. <br />Not representative of all. <br />Represent those who serve mining and metals.<br />Not restricted to professional engineers.<br />
  13. 13. Problems in ASCE Paradise<br />Large degree of professional control.<br />Encouraged collegial approval through Proceedings & comments & medals.<br />Railroads as major problematic.<br />Antagonized three groups:<br />Local groupings.<br />Industry engineers.<br />Young engineers.<br />Many who considered themselves engineers were not represented.<br />
  14. 14. AIME by Contrast<br />AIME didn’t claim to serve all.<br />One-man band: Rossiter W. Raymond. <br />Edited Engineering & Mining Journal himself, no comments.<br />ASCE too elite & AIME not professional enough.<br />ASCE<br />AIME<br />
  15. 15. Professional Space Fills Some More<br />1880 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and 1884 AIEE (American Institute of Electrical Engineers). <br />Professional standards but lower than ASCE.<br />ASME: Relatively low standards but leadership by professional elite – Responsible charge as key.<br />Boiler code negotiation as way to successful code and governmental regulation.<br />
  16. 16. AIEE Founded to Compete with British<br />EE as “child of science?” Faraday’s motor 1821. Maxwell’s equations 1861.<br />Older inventor style was unable to solve problems. <br />Early low standards gravitate toward high ones:<br />27 years old<br />Professional engineer in practice for five years.<br />Responsible charge 2 years.<br />Qualifed to design and direct EE works.<br />Rock star EEs were innovators and tech virtuosos early. <br />Other societies: SAE (1904) & IRE (1907) & early calls for unity.<br />Michael Faraday (1791-1867)<br />
  17. 17. Engineers as Vital to Progress<br />Engineers see themselves as vital to progress.<br />1895 address by George S. Morison to ASCE.<br />Claim of all technical innovation as engineering innovation. <br />“We are the priests of material development, of the work which enables other men to enjoy the fruits of the great sources of Power in Nature, and the power of mind over matter. We are the priests of the new epoch, without superstition.” <br />George S. Morison (1842-1903)<br />
  18. 18. Engineers as Logical, Yet Unhappy<br />Thought of themselves as logical.<br />Impartial.<br />Honest lovers of truth.<br />Aspired to seat at policy table.<br />Unhappy with status.<br />Henry Hess, “a place more in accord with the importance of engineering.” <br />
  19. 19. Status Remedies<br />Remedies:<br />Professional loyalty<br />Social responsibility<br />Conservation<br />Cooperation<br />Become business leaders<br />
  20. 20. Codes of Ethics<br />Compare and contrast NSPE code of ethics to IEEE code of ethics.<br />What are the differences?<br />What are the similarities?<br />Can you have all three below?<br />Need to be faithful to employer/client.<br />Need to be faithful to the public.<br />Need to avoid conflicts of interest<br />
  21. 21. What About HR?<br />Society for Human Resources Management (www.shrm.org).<br />Formed in 1948 by 24 individuals as ASPA or American Society for Personnel Administration.<br />67 people attended first meeting in Cleveland.<br />Until 1964: Strictly volunteer organization.<br />1989 name change.<br />250,000 members today in 120 countries.<br />From hrguru.monster.com:Considering HR? Your timing is great. Human resources is transforming itself. Once widely viewed as mere tacticians, paper pushers, or in-office enforcers, today’s HR professionals are increasingly seen as integral to their companies’ business success. This growing strategic role means HR now has a place at the table where real business decisions are made, and that offers unprecedented opportunities for those entering the field.<br />
  22. 22. Compare & Contrast HR & Engineer<br />Institutionally and professionally, how are HR & engineering similar?<br />How are they different?<br />Consider SHRM code of ethics in light of other two.<br />
  23. 23. Layton as Historical Observer or Critic?<br />Is Layton dispassionate observer?<br />One of the basic problems of American engineers is that the balance has tended to shift too far in the direction of business, and accommodation has taken place largely on the terms laid down by employers. The professional independence of engineers has been drastically curtailed. The losers are not just engineers. The public would benefit greatly from the unbiased evaluations of technical matters that an independent profession could provide. American business too might profit in the long run from the presence of a loyal opposition. (p. 19)<br />
  24. 24. Engineers Embedded in Markets<br />But markets such a commonplace, hard to take their measure.<br />Many critics and supporters of markets.<br />Getting perspective:<br />2 traditions against commerce<br />Dutch commerce & national economy<br />Voltaire and tolerance<br />Adam Smith, the invisible hand, and small virtues<br />Some tensions<br />
  25. 25. Christian & Civic Virtue Traditions<br />Greek & Roman civic virtue tradition evolved. <br />Free men serve the state in war and peace.<br />Aristotle: Merchant’s way is “ignoble and contrary to virtue.”<br />Christianity also hostile to trade:<br />Zero-sum game.<br />Aquinas defends property, but economic life is static and hierarchical: Know your place.<br />Usury (lending at interest) prohibited 1139. Jew could lend. Commerce associated with Jews.<br />
  26. 26. Dutch Commerce & National Power<br />Dutch East India Company established in 1602.<br />21 year monopoly for trade in Asia.<br />First company to issue stock (1606).<br />Links between politics and power, political economy.<br />Early discussions of free trade versus mercantilism. <br />
  27. 27. Voltaire’s Defense of Self Interest<br />Letters on England, 1734.<br />Religious zeal as a source of discord.<br />Markets as a motivator for social cooperation.<br />Given negative attitudes, trick was to understand how self interest could be positive.<br />Hobbes, Mandeville and others made earlier arguments.<br />Francois-Arouet Marie (1694-1778)<br />
  28. 28. A Famous Passage<br />Go into the London Stock Exchange – a more respectable place than many a court – and you will see representatives from all nations gathered together for the utility of men. Here Jew, Mohammedan and Christian deal with each other as though they were all of the same faith, and only apply the word infidel to people who go bankrupt. Here the Presbyterian trusts the Anabaptist and the Anglican accepts a promise from the Quaker. On leaving these peaceful and free assemblies some go to the Synagogue and others for a drink, this one goes to be baptized in a great bath in the name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, that one has his son’s foreskin cut and has some Hebrew words he doesn’t understand mumbled over the child, others go to heir church and await the inspiration of God with their hats on, and everybody is happy.<br />
  29. 29. The Invisible Hand & Small Virtues<br />Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). <br />The Wealth of Nations (1776).<br />Subtle argument how positive unintended consequences can arise from self regard.<br />Not naïve in its argument. Distinguishes between moral and immoral trade. Competition is basically good force. <br />Collusion natural and must be prevented.<br />Complex argument, not laissez faire.<br />Adam Smith (1723-1790)<br />
  30. 30. Concerns & Criticisms<br />Jean-Jacques Rousseau – culture corrupts & leads to inequality.<br />Justus Moser – Markets destroy communities.<br />Edmund Burke – Religion needed as counterweight.<br />Mathew Arnold – Culture and intellectuals needed as counterweight.<br />Karl Marx – Capitalism important historical stage that will lead to rule by the proletariat. Herbert Marcuse – OK, affluence has been produced, but larger happiness thwarted by provision and purchase of false needs<br />Friedrich Hayek – No economic values, a plurality of values in marketplace.<br />Schumpeter – Creative destruction sows seeds of capitalism’s downfall<br />Daniel Bell – Prerequisites of capitalism undermined by its success<br />
  31. 31. Tensions<br />Sources of dynamism – self interest, capital, & human capital.<br />The state – rule of law as precondition & goldilocks regulation.<br />Self interest – selfishness or rightly understood.<br />Individuals – market as enabler, cultural surplus, things you don’t need, produces things we do want. <br />Risk – welfare state as response. <br />Community – old community versus new associations.<br />Particular versus universal – tends toward homogeneity.<br />Variety of capitalisms – one size does not fit all.<br />
  32. 32. Aspirational Engineering: A Reflection<br />Carl Mitcham keynoted Workshop on Philosophy & Engineering at Royal Academy of Engineering in 2008.<br />Paper entitled “The Philosophical Weakness of Engineering as a Profession” caused stir.<br />Analyzed 5 “professions” & labeled some as “strong,” others as “weak.”<br />Take that analysis seriously and probe in following directions: <br />What is philosophical weakness (PW)? <br />Recover Mitcham’s key distinctions. <br />Consider in light of complexity of (1) ideals & (2) institutions.<br />Carl Mitcham (b. 1941)<br />
  33. 33. Roadmap<br />Recap argument: Mitcham 5, a criterion, and a classification.<br />Some concerns.<br />What is philosophical weakness? An alternative formulation.<br />Reclassifying the 5. Engineering still weak but for different reasons.<br />Recapturing classification: End-in-themselves versus instrumental occupations.<br />Occupations and their institutional setting.<br />From is to ought & concerns regarding ideal complexity.<br />An ideals approach to the military: Lessons for engineering.<br />Institutional redesign: 2 bounding attempts.<br />neoProfessionalism: Déjà vu all over again.<br />
  34. 34. Mitcham 5, a Criterion & a Classification<br />Use term “occupations” to avoid debates about whether they are “professions.”<br />The 5:<br />Medicine<br />Law<br />Business<br />Military<br />Engineering<br />Mitcham: Medicine and law are philosophically strong (PS) as they serve good-in-themselves ideals (health, justice).<br />Others philosophically weak (PW) as they do not.<br />Is to Ought: Engineering would be better off and serve larger good more directly.<br />Query: Is Philosophy PW?<br />
  35. 35. Preliminary Concerns<br />Greek philosophy & virtues are the starting point.<br />Their methodology still relevant. <br />Are their values, values of idle elite of a slaveholding society 2.5kya?<br />Is anything good in itself (Pitt, 2000)? Pragmatic concern for community and usefulness.<br />Philosophically “strong” or “weak” as tied to ideals & ethical aspirations?<br />Difficulties in rooted normative in 20th & 21st century.<br />Ayers, Rorty, Foucault.<br />Weak stuff: Tied to tradition or community practice.<br />Set these larger concerns aside and accept terms of the debate:<br />Assume there are ideals that are good in themselves.<br />That original classification has meaning.<br />
  36. 36. Philosophical Strength & Weakness<br />Mitcham’s notion turns on ethics, one of five elements of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics.<br />Considers ideals or aspirational ethics as turning point.<br />Here analyze the five according to first 3 of the elements:<br />Metaphysically reflective if occupation considers its history.<br />Epistemologically reflective if conscious of storing its knowledge in forms appropriate to subject.<br />Ethically reflective if occupations have codes of ethics.<br />Philosophically strong (PS’/PW’) if strong on 2 of 3 dimensions.<br />
  37. 37. Comparative Analysis of the Five<br />
  38. 38. Different Categorization<br />3 PS’ occupations: Medicine, law & military<br />2 PW’ occupations: Business & engineering<br />Mitcham scheme downgrades military, business & engineering for being insufficiently aspirational.<br />But military and engineering are reflective about ethics in fairly strong way.<br />Ironic: Call engineering “philosophical weak” on only dimension of philosophy it considers.<br />PW vs. PW’ not just academic. Engineering pathologies mainly due to ontological & epistemological lacunae.<br />Aside: Philosophy is PS’, not as clear whether it is PS or PW.<br />
  39. 39. Recovering Mitcham’s Division<br />Consider whether occupations are instrumental or end-in-themselves occupations.<br />Objection, tautology or prescriptive:<br />Captures grouping <br />Complex exchange  division of labor.<br />Some occupations expected to be instrumental<br />This gives us Mitcham’s grouping:<br />Doctors heal & lawyers seek justice for clients.<br />Businessmen, engineers & military are instrumental to accomplishing goals determined by others.<br />Only works at level of individual practitioner.<br />Adam Smith (1723-1790)<br />
  40. 40. At Aggregate Occupational Level<br />Does health care system provide health?<br />Fixing disease versus wellness.<br />Doctors unconcerned with lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, social engagement: major keys to longevity.<br />Does legal system provide justice?<br />Getting known criminal off is not directly just.<br />Tort pursuit of the deepest pockets.<br />Law/Med are rough institutional approximations to health & justice, at best.<br />
  41. 41. Institutional Settings: Clue to the Problem <br />Occupations work at level of individual practitioner and in institutional setting.<br />Not a bunch of free agents.<br />Institutions arise to shape & constrain work.<br />From economic perspective, institutions arise because using free market is not free.<br />Institutional frameworks different among the five.<br />Ronald H. Coase (b. 1910)<br />
  42. 42. Institutional Comparison<br />Lawyers: Officer of court, monopoly on practice by state. Work in private firms and in government.<br />Doctors: Member of regulated profession, in regulated institutions, monopoly on practice of medicine by state. Work in private practice, HMO, or government.<br />Military: State has monopoly on force, military members are employees/conscripts of state, follow direct orders of civilian leaders through chain of command.<br />Businessperson: Free agent to contract with others, obeying laws of the state. Works in private enterprise.<br />Engineer: Free agent to contract with others, obeying laws of the state. Some licensed for some types of work. Work in free enterprise or public sector.<br />Philosopher: Free agent to contract with others obeying laws of the state. Academic practitioners require PhD for tenure-track position. Work in private or public sector.<br />
  43. 43. What about HR? <br />What is institutional setting for HR pro?<br />Take a moment to reflect.<br />Let’s discuss.<br />
  44. 44. Institutional Differences Significant<br />Institutional framework creates situation for Mitcham’sstrong occupations:<br />Practitioner advances the client’s interest.<br />Doing so assumed to promote societal interest (justice, health).<br />Call first condition local ethical alignment.<br />Call second presumption of global ethical alignment.<br />Philosophically strong merely ethically simple.<br />Institutional setting generally permits local action to lead to good global result.<br />Institutional framework of weak occupations does not ensure alignment:<br />Practitioner advances client’s interest.<br />No guarantee of good result.<br />2 ways:<br />Client may have malevolent intent.<br />Good intentions leading to unintended consequences.<br />Mitcham’s philosophically weak merely institutionally & ethically complex: local alignment does not yield global good.<br />Health & law less simple with increased i-complexity.<br />
  45. 45. Some Ethical Urgings<br />Move from “is” to “ought.”<br />Engineering ought be more like law/med.<br />Adopt ideals corresponding to health and justice.<br />Ostensibly to fix ill effects of technology.<br />2 questions:<br />Is simple engineering ideal feasible?<br />What institutional modifications necessary for presumption of global ethical alignment?<br />
  46. 46. Simple Ideals Hard for Biz/Engineering<br />Technological artifacts can satisfy many positive values: From human survival to εὐδαιμονία. <br />Hard to constrain generally.<br />Different individuals value different things differently.<br />Simple formulations seem problematic (biz/engin).<br />Consider military instead:<br />Aspirational ideal for military like law/meds?<br />Survival doesn’t seem good enough.<br />What about peace?<br />Kenneth J. Arrow (b. 1921)<br />
  47. 47. Peace, the Military & Engineering<br />Soldier seeking peace puts engineering problem in perspective, 4 problems:<br />Does military action  peace? Predictability problem<br />Deterrent effect as actions prevented: effectiveness detection.<br />Can individual soldiers directly aspire to peace? Ideal complexity problem.<br />Should individual soldiers directly aspire to peace? Social effectiveness problem.<br />Predictability problem: When does a little war here and now promote peace later? Does technology promote intended ideal? <br />Effectiveness detection: Can we actually detect good when it occurs.<br />Ideal complexity: Individual judgment of soldiers may be insufficient to directly promote the ideal. Engineers have similar limitations.<br />Social effectiveness: Individual soldiers pursuing peace individually would not be an army. Engineers work in complex social settings. Need cohesive corps to solve problem. <br />Can you modify institutions  individual action moves toward larger ideal.<br />
  48. 48. Return to Engineering<br />Assume simple, practical aspirational ideal exists or that engineers have sufficient judgment to practically pursue an ideal complex.<br />Marketplace insufficient institutionally to ensure local ethical alignment  global ethical alignment. <br />Design new institution for engineers that ensures local alignment  global alignment.<br />Bounding models of institutional restructuring:<br />Absolute control model<br />Absolute fail-safe model<br />
  49. 49. Absolute Control Model<br />Assume engineers aspire to some ideal.<br />Construct institutional framework to help good occurs.<br />Engineering is iterative process: Orders obeyed in space and time to ensure good outcome eventually.<br />Authoritarian control over private firms, decision-making, individuals, and property.<br />Limits on choice by others to ensure good outcomes deemed proper by engineers in name of the state.<br />Name for this technocracy. Approximated in regimes.<br />Be careful what you wish for!<br />
  50. 50. Philosophers, PW & the Republic<br />Institutional framework of philosopher similar to that of the engineer.<br />Philosophy has ideal of “loving wisdom” and seeking knowledge for its own sake.<br />But ideas and knowledge are often instrumental.<br />If philosopher has idea, how does he/she know that it will be used for greater good?<br />Plato’s solution in The Republic is close to the absolute control model.<br />Plato (428-328 BC)<br />
  51. 51. Fail-Safe Action Model<br />OK, don’t put engineers in charge.<br />Keep marketplace, insist engineers invent, make, sustain things that cause no harm, Ever!<br />Precautionary principle on steroids.<br />Regulatory regime: Strictly liability for all outcomes of things they make.<br />Minimax strategy: Minimize harm subject to adversary who will maximize misuse & mischief.<br />Ensures almost no innovation. Penalties for bad outcomes too severe.<br />Not really engineering. Mistake making as necessary for engineering progress (Petroski, 1992). <br />What about philosophers and their ideas?<br />
  52. 52. Engineer in Regulated Market Intermediate<br />Presently: <br />Engineers not in charge of a command economy.<br />Do not require them to never make mistakes.<br />Allow freedom to act in marketplace with regulatory regime to constrain worst outcomes.<br />Is Institutionally intermediate solution.<br />Analogous to majority rule as intermediate between veto & authoritarian rule (Buchanan & Tullock, 1962). <br />
  53. 53. History: Engineers Professional Strivings <br />Strivings reflect institutional & ethical variation.<br />Civil Engineers more autonomous. Closer to ideal of med/law practice.<br />Mining engineers employees from the get go.<br />Electrical engineers start as rock stars and end up as employees.<br />Variations in professional practice dictated by institutional variations.<br />Historical record of ideal & institutional complexity.<br />
  54. 54. NeoProfessionalism: Déjà Vu All Over Again <br />New report calls for professionalism at the center of educational reform.<br />NAE story.<br />Problematic for many of reasons here.<br />Institutional settings for different engineers different.<br />Simple aspirational ideals not practical.<br />Institutional arrangements to make them similar to law/med undesirable.<br />Reflect on complexity, history, and why things are.<br />Complex adaptive systems: No silver bullets. <br />
  55. 55. Summing Up<br />Examined “philosophically weak” based on ideals.<br />Defined PS’/PW’ differently. Engineering philosophically weak, but in sense closely aligned with pathologies of practice/education.<br />Recaptured distinction (good/instrumental occupation) & considered institutional setting.<br />Med/Law in institutional setting where local ethical practical assumed to global ethical alignment.<br />Comparative analysis yields significant differences and strong institutional support for law/med.<br />Difficult to envision simple ideals (social choice) for engineering/business.<br />Switch to military isolates difficulty in predicting outcomes, problems with institutional redesign & risk of making military ineffective.<br />Institutional reframing: absolute control & fail-safe action.<br />Regulated market regime as intermediate.<br />Engineering ethically/institutionally complex.<br />Past calls to ideals or professionalism haven’t worked.<br />neoProfessionalism likely to face similar difficulties in practice.<br />
  56. 56. Bottom Line<br />Engineering professional and institutional history marked by complexity.<br />Simple solutions unlikely to work.<br />One-size-fits-all unlikely to work.<br />Think of institutional complexity and work to create systems that respect.<br />Parallels with HR interesting & worthy of reflection.<br />

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