The Ethics of Serving Two Masters: An Engineer's Dilemma

by Anthony J. Bellitto, Jr., Civ. Engrg. Student; Manhattan College, Riverdale, Bronx, N.Y. 10471,

Serial Information: Issues in Engineering: Journal of Professional Activities, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 4, Pg. 238-242

Document Type: Journal Paper


The question posed is Does the engineer serve two masters——the employer and the public welfare? Through analogies of the decision making process to common everday problems and a look at the alternative of a one-sided ideology, it is reasoned that every engineer must indeed serve two masters in his unique role as builder and businessman. To approach the resolution of this dilemma in cases of a conflict of interest, a strategy is suggested which includes an improvement in education, a revision of the Code of Ethics, and a fostering of professionalism through registration and involvement in peer societies. Ethics must necessarily be the concern of all engineers at all levels as an essential component in developing the honesty, dignity, and character expected in a profession relied on so heavily by society.

Subject Headings: Ethics | Public health and safety | Decision making | Case studies | Dispute resolution | Education | Standards and codes | Licensure and certification

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