Submitted to: Journal of Technology Studies
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/7/2005
Publication Date: 7/20/2006
Citation: Rosentrater, K.A., Balamuralikrishna, R. 2006. Ethics for industrial technology. Journal of Technology Studies. 31(1):19-29.
Interpretive Summary: The recent introduction of sessions dedicated to "Industrial Technology" in the annual ASEE conference is testimony that this discipline has gained its rightful place in the company of engineering and engineering technology. This new level of partnership and collaboration between engineering and technology programs promises to be a step in the right direction for society at large. Engineering and technology majors both supplement and complement each other's knowledge and skills, and it is therefore crucial for educators to build bridges of active interaction. This paper takes aim at one specific, as well as basic, need in teamwork and interdisciplinary projects -- ethics and its implications for professional practice. A preliminary study suggests that students majoring in industrial technology degree programs may not have adequate opportunity to formally study and engage in ethical aspects of technology vis-à-vis the practices of the profession. It is reasonable to assume that the ethical dilemmas faced by an industrial technologist would parallel those of engineers and managers. To address this issue, this paper identifies a domain of knowledge that would constitute a necessary background in ethics for industrial technologists, examines various resources for teaching, and makes recommendations from a pedagogical point of view.
Technical Abstract: The discipline of "Industrial Technology" as we know it today has a rich history. Significant contributions, both at the national and international level, have been made by affiliates of the discipline. Industrial technology has produced leaders that have created new jobs and promoted the growth of the economy for decades, if not centuries. The National Association of Industrial Technology (NAIT) provides leadership and also provides a platform for its associates to constantly expand both the breadth and depth of the discipline. Industrial Technology also continues to be well served by its primary honorary society, Epsilon Pi Tau, which has a colorful history of its own. The recent introduction of sessions dedicated to industrial technology in the annual ASEE conferences is testimony that industrial technology has gained its rightful place in the company of engineering and engineering technology. The steady growth in the number of industrial technology programs, both at the two-year and four-year levels, during the past thirty years challenges associates of the discipline to constantly look for ways to identify existing gaps in the college curriculum and address these issues to further increase the value of its graduates and enhance the image of the discipline. A preliminary survey of four-year industrial technology degree programs revealed that students do not have adequate incentives to formally study and engage in ethical aspects of technology and the practice of the profession. This paper will clearly establish the need for addressing this gap and discuss the content domain in ethics for industrial technology. Pedagogical aspects of teaching ethics will also be covered.