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Professional And Ethical Implications Of Engineering Globalization

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

International Engineering Education II

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.944.1 - 8.944.5



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Paper Authors

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Ashraf Ghaly

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3160

Professional and Ethical Implications of Engineering Globalization

Ashraf M. Ghaly

Associate Professor, Civil Engineering Department Union College, Schenectady, NY 12308

Abstract As a result of many years of neglect of their infrastructure, many underdeveloped countries rely on the expertise of international firms in developing solutions to the extremely complicated problems they are facing. International aid agencies or foreign governments usually provide the financing for the design and construction of these projects. Due to the fact that agencies or governments other than those of the underdeveloped countries fund these projects, some conditions dictated by these agencies must be met. Furthermore, the funding agencies may also require that certain environmental conditions be satisfied, and that certain design features be incorporated in the project. Although the countries receiving the aid usually have their own design codes and environmental regulations, they must show flexibility and demonstrate willingness to accommodate the provisions required by the funding agencies to get the promised aid. International engineering firms involved in developing solutions to complex problems end up carrying the burden of trying to harmonize all points of view in order to achieve the desired outcome. Engineering design firms may find that they have to bend some rules that they would otherwise literally follow had these projects being built in developed countries. These practices become a normal part of doing business in a global environment, although they may compromise the integrity of these engineering firms. With the incorporation of stricter codes in the design, engineering firms may discover that these design provisions are not executed at the construction site because those supervising construction crews view them as unnecessary. Design and construction firms always try to find ways around these obstacles but the dilemma they are faced with is that they know that the solution could involve giving substantial gifts to those who can make things happen. This behavior may be unprofessional or unethical in developed countries, but it is viewed as an unavoidable cost to do business in underdeveloped countries. These problems require aggressive solutions by helping underdeveloped countries upgrade their codes thus eliminating the need to bend rules and cut corners. Systems should also be developed to promote openness in all dealings and increase the level of transparency in management.

I. Global Engineering

According to Engineering News Record (ENR 2002), the top 225 international contractors conducted projects worth $118.7 Billion in 1999. The volume of global projects remained in

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Ghaly, A. (2003, June), Professional And Ethical Implications Of Engineering Globalization Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12016

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