How to have a greater awareness of what is (and isn’t) an ethical issue

Submitted by digital on Fri, 02/26/2016 - 15:48
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Scogin identifies in the architectural\nendeavor \u201ca constant willful thoughtfulness\u201d and stresses that \u201carchitecture\u2019s\ngreat asset and moral imperative is to slow things down\u2026to raise\nconsciousness.\u201d The speakers emphasize the power of architecture to illuminate\nor articulate a problem, not always to solve it."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"In stepping back from the codified terms of\nprofessional ethics to see the broader ethical context that shapes the\narchitectural endeavor, might we also look at the lower limits of ethics? These\nare the aspects of practice that are best not gauged against an ethical\nyardstick, in spite of our initial reactions."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The AIA 2012 Code of Ethics \u0026 Professional\nConduct is\na subset of the larger ethical framework and context in which we live, but\nthere is also an undertow of other sometimes vexatious situations that are best\ncontended with by saying, \u201cYes, this is troubling, but since it is not an issue\nof professional ethics, I will have to look elsewhere for a solution or\nresolution.\u201d"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"We\u2019ve often heard a partner, colleague, or employee\nsay \u201cThat just wasn\u2019t ethical\u201d about the actions of another professional.\nCertain behaviors or situations make us feel uncomfortable or compromised in some\nway, and it is natural to ascribe the causes of these to ethical lapses or\nviolations, even if this is ultimately an incorrect categorization. For\nexample:"]]],[3,"ul",[[[0,[],0,"An employee leaves the firm immediately after\ngetting licensed."]],[[0,[],0,"A competitor places an effective call to a\nmember of a selection committee, violating the \u201ccone of silence\u201d under which\nthe shortlist has been placed."]],[[0,[],0,"A colleague\/competitor has been \u201cpoaching\u201d\nemployees from your firm after you thought you had some common or verbal\nunderstanding."]],[[0,[],0,"An employee takes a job elsewhere at higher pay\nafter getting a raise."]],[[0,[],0,"Employees are sharing salary information."]],[[0,[],0,"A competitor secures a project by agreeing to an\nunfavorable contract with uninsurable terms."]],[[0,[],0,"A competitor did free work while pursuing a\nproject. \n"]]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Barring complicating circumstances or a back story\nthat we cannot treat here, there is a good likelihood that none of these\nsituations fall within the orbit of professional ethics. Instead, they\nillustrate issues of personal honor, labor law, or good old-fashioned\ncompetition. As such, they might be termed \u201cfaux ethical situations.\u201d"]]],[10,0],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"It may be helpful, when faced with similar\nchallenges, to assemble a sort of personal and professional filter by which a\npotential ethical challenge can be first categorized and then dealt with:"]]],[3,"ul",[[[0,[],0,"Is the situation truly one of ethics, or does it\nfall into some other arena of practice?"]],[[0,[],0,"If this is an ethical challenge, is it within\nthe fields of obligation defined by the Code of Ethics, or is it subject to the\nbroader blanket of ethics suggested by Cobb, Sapers, and Scogin?"]],[[0,[],0,"Again, if\nfalling under the AIA Code of Ethics, does the situation also suggest or engage\nwith other ethical realms, such as with other professional organizations or\nwith licensing law?"]],[[0,[],0,"If not a true ethical issue, what other category\ndoes this situation fall into: contracts, risk management, labor law, etc.?"]]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Architects tend to be passionately committed to their\nwork\u2014so much so that they may view everything they do as a part of practice. If\nyou live and breathe architecture, everything you do is a facet of practice.\nArchitects may get off track when focusing too much on the imagined obligations\nof others to us, instead of on the primacy of our obligations to others. Cobb,\nSapers, and Scogin have exhorted us to think beyond conventional appreciations\nof professional ethics. By raising our sights to do so, can we also gain a\nbetter understanding of what is\u2014and what isn\u2019t\u2014an ethical issue?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Cornelius (Kin) DuBois, FAIA, a Denver architect,\nserves on the AIA National Ethics Council. His leadership\nservice to the profession includes 2010\u20132011 president of the National\nArchitectural Accrediting Board, AIA Colorado 2007 president, and regional\ndirector for the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards."],[0,[],0,"\n\n\n\n\n\n\n"]]]]}
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AIA members speak about the value ethics in the context of an architectural endeavor.
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