Engineering Ethics Videos

"The Truesteel Affair" – 1983 (24 min.)
Insight Media, 2162 Broadway, P.O. Box 621, New York, NY 10024-0621
1-800-223-9910, Fax 212-799-5309 /
Based on an actual case, The Truesteel Affair video is aimed at triggering discussion on ethical responsibility in the workplace. It explores the dilemma of a young engineer whose loyalties to family, employer, and fellow workers come into conflict with his professional judgment [Insight Media]. Insight Media reports that The Truesteel Affair has generated positive feedback from buyers, with a low rate of returns. This video effectively depicts the consequences involved when an engineer chooses whether or not to "blow the whistle." The engineer in question is eventually disciplined by his professional society, after failing to act ethically and report the problem. Discussion topics may include how to deal with potential safety hazards when fixing them may cause bankruptcy for your company, or loss of your job. This video is a bit old, but it still contains very relevant issues to young engineers, especially those in construction related fields.

"Gilbane Gold: A Case Study in Engineering Ethics"  - 1989 (23 min.)
National Institute for Engineering Ethics
Texas Tech University , Box 41023 , Lubbock , TX 79409-1023
Phone: 806-742-3525 (3521)  /  Fax: 806-742-0444

Gilbane Gold shows the dilemma of an engineer caught between doing what he feels is right, and remaining loyal to the company. When the engineer discovers that his company is polluting the environment despite compliance with regulations, he must convince his superiors that their deceptive water quality reporting policy isn't ethical. Eventually, he is forced to risk his career by making the deception public. This video also shows factors that motivate companies as they balance tradeoffs between safety and profits, and how cities make tradeoffs between tax revenues from companies and the strictness of pollution standards applied to those companies. This video is well acted and written, making it easy for students to identify with the engineer's crisis. A discussion guide is included.

"Testing Water...And Ethics" – 1998 (28 min.)
Institute for Professional Practice
13 Lanning Road
Verona, NJ 07044-2511
Phone: 1-888-477-2723 / Fax: 973-857-5952
Helping engineers to think in terms of design problems, Testing Water…and Ethics, shows that some ethical issues don't have completely satisfying solutions. This video examines the case of a young engineer who must decide whether or not to report test information in a complete manner, despite the fact that not all of the information was required. After initially seeing the problem as a clear case of responsibility for public safety, the engineer later finds that there are equally important ethical responsibilities to consider. The engineer adopts a design approach to this complex problem, but finds in the end that even a good engineering solution may necessitate tradeoffs that are somewhat unsatisfying. This video effectively encourages viewers to use their engineering design skills, and the applicable codes of ethics when dealing with ethical issues. A workbook is included.

"Incident at Morales" (NIEE) – 2003 (36 min.)
National Institute for Engineering Ethics
Texas Tech University , Box 41023 , Lubbock , TX 79409-1023
Phone: 806-742-3525 (3521)  /  Fax: 806-742-0444 /
Incident at Morales involves a variety of ethical issues faced by a company that wants to quickly build a plant in order to develop a new chemical product to gain a competitive edge over the competition. After the plant goes into full operation, an unfortunate accident occurs, resulting in serious consequences.
"Ethicana" - 2009 (42 min.)
American Society of Civil Engineers 
Ethicana is the centerpiece of the Global Anti-Corruption Education and Training Initiative and is a dramatic film that's a powerful exercise in how to not only keep from falling prey to corruption in the global construction and engineering industries, but how to have the ethical courage to expose it. This drama portrays how to avoid falling prey to corruption, as well as how to have the moral courage to expose it. The film is a drama, but it does reflect an unfortunate reality. The program calls on participants to promote greater ethical decision-making in those industries.

"Henry's Daughter" 2010 (30 min.)
National Institute for Engineering Ethics
Texas Tech University , Box 41023 , Lubbock , TX 79409-1023
Phone: 806-742-3525 (3521)  /  Fax: 806-742-0444 /
Henry and his two daughters are involved in a joint Academia/Industry/DOT (Department of Transportation) smart highway design project called SANSHANDS. The goal of the project is to develop specifications for smart highways and car control systems—so we won't drive anymore. The eldest daughter, Laura, works at the DOT. She will be the technical project manager on the SANSHANDS project. She is responsible for compiling and recommending the technical specifications for the computer control system that will be used to guide R&D. The youngest daughter, Julie is an intern with OUTOCAR, a local start-up company recently founded by engineers from the state university in partnership with University's Business Incubator. As the project evolves both sisters begin to see the potential for the corrupting influence that industry money can have on both government and academia.  It falls to Laura and her team to do the cost benefit analysis between the GUIDEME and OUTOCAR systems. There are pressures within the DOT and other state departments indicating that GUIDEME is the preferred choice. OUTOCAR raises allegations that there was ethical misconduct and possible criminal violations during the project. Henry, Laura and Julie are all called to testify at a hearing conducted by the state senate ethics commission.