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Introduction to Ethics Discussion and Support for Transportation Professionals. Source: Neal Hawkins. Why Ethics?. Course Objectives. Understand the importance of ethical decision making and how it is a key to success

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introduction to ethics discussion and support for transportation professionals

Introductionto EthicsDiscussion and Support for Transportation Professionals

Source: Neal Hawkins

course objectives
Course Objectives
  • Understand the importance of ethical decision making and how it is a key to success
  • Gain perspective on how our individual personality types influence our reactions and the need for preparing ourselves personally to respond to ethical dilemmas
  • Gain a clear and simple understanding of ethical concepts and have a blueprint for ethical decision making and personal preparation
  • Participate in valuable discussions regarding a range of ethical challenges, case studies and issues
introduction to ethics
Introduction to Ethics

Would you be proud of your decisions/actions or would your behavior change if your family read about it in the newspaper or saw it on the evening news?

“Be on guard against science without humanity, politics without principle, pleasure without conscience, work without sacrifice, wealth without work, commerce without morality and knowledge without character.”

– Gandhi

“When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

introduction to ethics6
Introduction to Ethics

Source: Des Moines Register

2003: Executive Summary

“The Year In Scandals”

- Forbes 2003


What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘ethics’?


Ethics – It is a Personal Issue

Do you have more than one ethical standard?

Everything we have found out about ethics makes it why doesn't it make sense to start the discussion with finding out more about ourselves and how we think and react?

personalities and ethics
Personalities and Ethics

Have you ever taken a personality test?

Sanguine – sociable, happy, talker, naïve, inconsistent, changeable

Choleric – Independent, decisive, self sufficient, stubborn, headstrong, workaholic

Melancholy – Persistent, self sacrificing, sensitive, detailed, loyal, resentful, hard to please, moody

Phlegmatic – peaceful, submissive, patient, obliging; indecisive, indifferent, hesitant

personalities and ethics11
Personalities and Ethics

Source: StreetSmarts, Duluth, GA


ITE Canons of Ethics

  • Preamble
  • The ITE Member, to uphold and advance the honor and dignity of the profession and in keeping with high standards of ethical conduct, will:
    • Use professional knowledge and skill for the advancement of human welfare;
    • Be honest and impartial in dealing with employer, clients and the public;
    • Strive to increase the competence and prestige of the profession.
reasons for unethical choices
Reasons for Unethical Choices

1. We do what’s most convenient

2. We do what we must to win

3. We rationalize our choices with relativism

- Maxwell

exploring the canons
Exploring the Canons

We do what’s most convenient in our relations with:

Public –

Employers/Clients –

Other Professionals–

highlighting project benefits and skimming over the negative impacts

chargingtime you have not worked

taking credit for others’ contributions

exploring the canons16
Exploring the Canons

We do what we must to win in our relations with:

Public –

Employers/Clients –

Other Professionals –

promising things that we know won’t be delivered

failure to learn from or admit past mistakes

exaggerate our abilities

exploring the canons17
Exploring the Canons

We rationalize our choices with relativism in our relations with:

Public –

Employers/Clients –

Other Professionals –

answer “yes” without knowing full impacts

it’s just this one time

they will never know

The Golden Rule

“Treat others as you would want to be treated.”

Source: Neal Hawkins


Factors That Can TarnishThe Golden Rule







ethics questions
Ethics Questions
  • Is it Right?Most of us know the difference between right and wrong, but when push comes to shove, how does the decision make you feel about yourself?
  • Is it Balanced?Is it fair to all parties concerned both in the short-term as well as the long term? Is this a winning situation for those directly as indirectly involved?
  • Is it Legal?In other words, will you be violating any criminal laws, civil laws or company policies by engaging in this activity?
ethics guided by 7 tests
Ethics Guided by 7 Tests
  • Harm Test: Do the benefits outweigh the harms, short term and long term?
  • Reversibility Test: Would I think this choice were good if I traded places?
  • Colleague Test: What would professional colleagues say?
  • Legality Test: Would this choice violate a law or a policy of my employer?
  • Publicity Test: How would this choice look on the front page of the newspaper?
  • Common Practice Test: What if everyone behaved this way?
  • Wise Relative Test: What would my wise old Aunt and uncle do or think?
ethical highway
Ethical Highway
  • Be honest.
  • Employ the highest standards of ethical conduct.
  • Place service before profit.
  • Honor and standing of the profession before personal advantage.
  • Place public welfare above all other considerations.
  • When you are working with others, which of the six factors that tarnish the Golden Rule are most prevalent?
  • 2. How do these apply to you personally?
  • 3. Are you able to identify your weaknesses? If so, how will this help you prepare for an ethical dilemma?
ethics entails action
Ethics Entails Action
  • Take responsibility for your actions
  • Develop personal discipline
  • Know your weaknesses
  • Align your priorities with your values
  • Admit wrong doing quickly and ask for forgiveness
  • Place a high value on people

- Maxwell

ethical case studies warm up
Ethical Case Studies - Warm Up

An engineer testifying as an expert witness in a product liability case should…?

a. answer as briefly as possible only those questions posed by the attorneys.

b. provide a complete and objective analysis within his or her area of competence.

c. provide an evaluation of the character of the defendant.

d. provide information on the professional backgrounds of the defendants.

Source: 1997 FE Practice Exam

ethical case studies warm up28
Ethical Case Studies - Warm Up

A professional engineer, originally licensed 30 years ago, is asked to evaluate a newly developed computerized control system for a public transportation system. The engineer may accept this project if…?

a. he or she is competent in the area of modern control systems.

b. his or her professional license has not lapsed.

c. his of her original area of specialization was in transportation systems.

d. he or she has regularly attended annual meetings of their professional engineering societies.

ethical case studies29
Ethical Case Studies


Are you taking credit for others’ work?

Do you own up to your errors?

Do you stand behind your recommendations?

Are the numbers on your timesheet and expense sheet correct?

Do the invoice quantities match what you received?

ethical case studies30
Ethical Case Studies

Conflicts of Interest

Professional Relationships

Personal Relationships

ethical case studies31
Ethical Case Studies


Bidding Documents

Proposal Information

Teaming for RFP’s

ethical case studies32
Ethical Case Studies


Where do you draw the line with “gifts”?

  • Ethics affects all of us
  • Personalities and ethics
  • ITE Canons of Ethics
  • Reasons for unethical choices
  • The Golden Rule
  • Case studies

“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do.” – Elvis Presley

Source: Neal Hawkins

about the authors
About the Authors

Neal R. Hawkins

Hillary N. Isebrands

Marsha Anderson-Bomar

Hibbett Neel

ITE Ethics Standing Committee The Ethics task force was formed to examine ethical issues inherent in the transportation profession and to determine how ITE could best assist its members in this area. The task force was elevated to a Standing Committee in 2009.