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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: May 2021

7 - Engineering Ethics in the International Context: Globalize or Diversify?

from Part III - Engineering Ethics, Sustainability, and Globalization


Engineering is becoming increasingly globalized. We need to cultivate thinking about engineering in the broad international context. The current literature predominantly takes the Western perspective as its point of departure for discussions of engineering ethics in the international context. It focuses on technology transfer from Western to non-Western countries and the dilemmas of a conflicted Western engineer when working in non-Western countries. This chapter reviews two strategies for broadening this focus in the literature: globalizing and diversifying engineering ethics. Globalization focuses on establishing the commonalities between different countries. While it sounds intuitively compelling, it can be at the expense of newcomers in the engineering fields. Diversification focuses on acknowledging the cultural differences between countries, but it can easily be misinterpreted as ethical relativism. Diversification is most helpful if cross-cultural reflection can be achieved. If followed properly, both strategies can lead to more inclusive thinking in engineering ethics.