Engineering Student's Ethical Awareness and Behavior: A New Motivational Model
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Professional communities are experiencing scandals involving unethical and illegal practices daily. Yet it should not take a national major structure failure to highlight the importance of ethical awareness and behavior, or the need for the development and practice of ethical behavior in engineering students. Development of ethical behavior skills in future engineers is a key competency for engineering schools as ethical behavior is a part of the professional identity and practice of engineers. While engineering educators have somewhat established instructional methods to teach engineering ethics, they still rely heavily on teaching ethical awareness, and pay little attention to how well ethical awareness predicts ethical behavior. However the ability to exercise ethical judgement does not mean that students are ethically educated or likely to behave in an ethical manner. This paper argues measuring ethical judgment is insufficient for evaluating the teaching of engineering ethics, because ethical awareness has not been demonstrated to translate into ethical behavior. The focus of this paper is to propose a model that correlates with both, ethical awareness and ethical behavior. This model integrates the theory of planned behavior, person and thing orientation, and spheres of control. Applying this model will allow educators to build confidence and trust in their students' ability to build a professional identity and be prepared for the engineering profession and practice.