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Investigating the Contextual and Shifting Nature of Ethics within Engineering Design Teams across Time

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engaging Ethics in Teams and Communities

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28587

Download Count

49

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Paper Authors

biography

David Torres Purdue University

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David is a third year doctoral candidate in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University pursuing a PhD in Organizational Communication with a minor in data analysis and research methodology. His research interests reside at the intersection of organizational communication, identity, design, and organizational ethics.

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Carla B. Zoltowski Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Carla B. Zoltowski is an assistant professor of engineering practice in the Schools of Electrical and Computer Engineering and (by courtesy) Engineering Education at Purdue University. She holds a B.S.E.E., M.S.E.E., and Ph.D. in Engineering Education, all from Purdue. Prior to this she was Co-Director of the EPICS Program at Purdue where she was responsible for developing curriculum and assessment tools and overseeing the research efforts within EPICS. Her academic and research interests include the professional formation of engineers, diversity and inclusion in engineering, human-centered design, engineering ethics, leadership, service-learning, and accessibility and assistive-technology.

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Megan Kenny Feister California State University, Channel Islands

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Megan Kenny Feister is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Communication at California State University Channel Islands. She is a recipient of the Purdue Research Foundation dissertation grant and co-wrote a National Science Foundation grant for her dissertation and postdoctoral work in Organizational Communication at Purdue. Her primary research interests include collaboration and innovation; negotiations of expertise in team-based organizational work; team processes and decision-making; ethical reasoning, constitution, and processes; engineering design; technology and its impacts on organizational and personal life; network analysis; as well as organizational identity, identification, and culture.

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Patrice Marie Buzzanell Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0058-7676

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Patrice M. Buzzanell is a Distinguished Professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication and the School of Engineering Education (courtesy) at Purdue University. She also serves as the Butler Chair and Director of the Susan Bulkily Butler Center for Leadership Excellence. Editor of four books and author of over 175 articles and chapters as well as proceedings and encyclopedia entries, her research centers on the intersections of career, change, leadership, and resilience. Fellow and past president of the International Communication Association, she has received numerous awards for her research, teaching/mentoring, and engagement. She has worked on Purdue-ADVANCE initiatives for institutional transformation, the Transforming Lives Building Global Communities (TLBGC) team in Ghana through EPICS, and individual engineering ethical development and team ethical climate scales as well as everyday negotiations of ethics in design through NSF funding as Co-PI. [Email: buzzanel@purdue.edu]

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Danielle Corple Purdue University

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Katharine E. Miller Purdue University

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Abstract

Engineering design is a social practice in which ethical issues arise throughout the entire design process and in the everyday decision-making and communication of the design team. Emerging team member relationships and experiences play a significant role in shaping how individuals conceptualize ethics and everyday ethical issues that arise. In this paper, we build upon findings in Authors (2016) and extend the examination of student ethical reasoning into a longitudinal format. As part of a larger project, the current study examines how descriptions of ethics emerge and develop within design teams; how descriptions of human-centered design (HCD) change over time; and how ethical reasoning and understandings of human-centered design co-occur and evolve over time.

To describe the emergent nature of ethics and human-centered design over time, we implemented a longitudinal, qualitative case study focusing on two individual team members of a student design team at a large public Midwestern university. These qualitative accounts not only provided a more nuanced view of conceptualizations over time but also identified contextual and situational influences that may have played a role in these changes. Our semi-structured interviews focused on definitions and descriptions of ethics, as well as how participants made sense of the design processes their team followed, including asking them to describe the choices the team made along a timeline. The in-depth interrogation of these qualitative data provides insights can then produce new knowledge and understandings about how ethical reasoning operates in situ.

In this paper, we unpack the ethical reasoning mechanisms student designers maintain as they interpret and experience human-centered design. We use Perry (1968, 1999) ethical development schema to understand the ways students’ ethical development evolves, with Zoltowski, Oakes, and Cardella’s (2012) phenomenographic study of students’ understandings of human-centered design. Together, these models provide a framework for understanding how students’ ethical orientations shape, and are shaped by, how they understand human-centered design over time.

Torres, D., & Zoltowski, C. B., & Kenny Feister, M., & Buzzanell, P. M., & Corple, D., & Miller, K. E. (2017, June), Investigating the Contextual and Shifting Nature of Ethics within Engineering Design Teams across Time Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28587

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