The 5th Annual Sidney and Ann Braudy and Louis and Edith Manker MBA, Law, and M. Eng. Engineering Management Ethics Workshop was held Sept. 27, 2013

The 5th annual Braudy Workshop on Ethics in Engineering Management was held Friday Sept. 27 in the ILR Conference Center from 5-8:30 PM.  It was attended by 9 MBA students from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell, 8 students from the Cornell Law School, and 23 M. Eng. Students from a wide swath of majors in the Cornell Engineering College. Facilitators for this year’s workshop were Prof. Oskar Liivak of the Cornell Law School, Dr. Dana Radcliffe, Day Family Lecturer in Business Ethics at the Johnson School of Management, Dr. John Callister, Director of the Entrepreneurship Program in the Cornell Engineering College, Carol Grumbach, Associate Dean for First Year Student Experience, John Belina, Cornell Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Park Doing, Bovay Program in Engineering Ethics, Prof. Ron Kline, Director of the Bovay Program in Engineering Ethics, Dr. Bob Braudy, and Judi Braudy

This year, the keynote speaker was Dr. Erica Dawson, Director of Leadership Programs in the Engineering College, who opened the workshop with a talk entitled “Motivated Reasoning” which gave research perspectives from the field of social psychology on why and how different people and different groups tend to ‘see’ technical facts in different ways.  After that, Dr. Park Doing, Lecturer in the Bovay Program of Ethics in Engineering, gave an overview of the Ford Pinto case, supplementing material on the case that was given to the students before the workshop. The workshop then broke into small group discussions to analyze the case pressing the points that the Pinto was under legal compliance the entire time it was in operation and there were many dangerous cars on the road at the time.  Does someone in engineering management have an ethical obligation to go beyond simple legal compliance in the management of engineering projects?  In the small group discussions, students were encouraged to take the perspectives of the Ford Recall Officer, a Ford Lawyer, a representative of the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority, a Ford Engineer, a family member of a victim of a Ford Pinto rear end collision fire, the CEO of Ford, and a Journalist.

After the small group discussions, the entire workshop reconvened for a large group discussion, drawing on the different areas of expertise in attendance, about current issues where simple legal compliance might, in the future, be questioned as ethical. Issues of consumer information, privacy, patents, and other disasters like the Fukushima Nuclear Plant and the Macondo Well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico were discussed.

The combination of opening talk, change in format focusing on a real case study and its relation to current issues, and the higher ratio of MBA and Law students to M. Eng. Students was seen to have set the stage for and enable lively discussion from these different perspectives involved in Engineering Management decisions.

2013 Braudy Workshop