The Ethical Dimension of Professionalism

by Richard H. McCuen, (A.M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Maryland, College Park, Md.,

Serial Information: Issues in Engineering: Journal of Professional Activities, 1979, Vol. 105, Issue 2, Pg. 89-105

Document Type: Journal Paper


While technical knowledge and skill represents an important dimension of professionalism, professional conduct is one dimension of professionalism that has not received the attention that it deserves. Just as civil engineers progress through successive stages of technical competence, individuals also vary in moral reasoning capabilities and similarly advance through stages of professional conduct development. A typological scheme that characterizes the stages of professional conduct development is presented to represent the ethical dimension of professionalism. The results suggest: (1)A significant number of senior-level undergraduate students do not have the moral reasoning capabilities to meet the minimum requirements as a professional engineer, (2)professional experience contributes to an advancement in the stage of professional conduct development; and (3)there is a significant relationship between academic class level and the stage of professional conduct development. The implications of these findings to the engineering educator, practitioner, and researcher are presented.

Subject Headings: Professional development | Ethics | Undergraduate study | Students

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