Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press
Engineering Ethics: Balancing Cost, Schedule, and Risk - Lessons Learned from the Space Shuttle

Engineering Ethics: Balancing Cost, Schedule, and Risk - Lessons Learned from the Space Shuttle


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How do engineers respond to ethical dilemmas that occur in practice? How do they view their individual and collective responsibilities? How do they make decisions before all the facts are in? Using the space shuttle program as its framework, this book examines the role of ethical decision making in the practice of engineering. In particular, the authors consider the design and development of the main engines of the space shuttle as a paradigm for how individual engineers perceive, articulate, and resolve ethical dilemmas in a large, complex organization. A series of in-depth case studies show engineers at work on various stages of the project as they balance budgets, deadlines, and risks. By documenting the historical development of a single system, the volume provides a unique opportunity to explore the complex interactions between political, organizational, and technical pressures and engineering and management decisions. The resulting book will appeal to everyone with an interest in engineering and the history of technology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521437509
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 05/21/2003
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.91(d)

Table of Contents

Part I. Theoretical and Practical Background: 1. Low-bid ethics: Decision-making about cost, safety and deadlines; 2. Engineering ethics framework; 3. Engineering ethics: The common ground between individual whim and legality; 4. Satisficing, organizational theory and other theoretical contributions to engineering ethics; 5. The decision to build the space shuttle: Pay me now or pay me later; 6. The space shuttle main engine: An overview; 7. All-up testing versus component testing: Normative practice or flawed judgment?; Part II. The Cases: 8. A. O. Tischler: An 'ethical' engineer (alternatives to whistle-blowing); 9. Cost versus schedule versus risk: The band-aid fix: $3.5 million overrun in test stand construction; 10. Back to the drawing board or normal errors: Senate investigations of the SSME development problems; 11. A judgment call or negligence: Maiden voyage of the Challenger delayed six months; 12. Against the odds: Ethical decisions and organizational goals; 13. Engineering ethics and risk assessment; Part III. Postscript: 14. The Challenger accident: Engineering design and performance decisions.

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