Professional ethics and the IET

An introduction to professional ethics.

  • How do you balance the commercial pressures of the business environment with the need to treat people fairly and act with integrity?
  • Is it ever acceptable to disclose confidential information?
  • What do you do when the rules of conduct don't tell you exactly how to act?

Being a professional engineer means that the wider public trust you to be competent and to adhere to certain ethical standards. The trust you derive from being seen as a professional is one of the advantages of being a member of the IET, but it also means you have certain ethical responsibilities. 

Like the Royal Academy of Engineering with its engineering Ethics and Principles and most other professional bodies, the IET has a number of Rules of Conduct which set out the standards of behaviour expected of its members. However, a list of rules will never cover every situation that may arise, and there will always be a role for individual judgement in deciding how to apply these rules.

This section of the site is designed to help you to interpret the Rules of Conduct, and to understand the demands of professional behaviour in your own life.

Case studies

Developed by the IDEA CETL, a Centre for Excellence in Applied Ethics teaching and research, you will find a set of interactive case studies, designed to help you practice exercising your judgement in ethically challenging situations. These cases are based on the experiences of real engineers, and reflect real-life situations where the right thing to do is not always obvious.

You can either get started on one of the two case studies about environmental issues in procurement, or look at the full range of case studies available.


This section brings together some good introductory texts for those who would like to explore ethics further, as well as articles and letters from our E&T Magazine and video content.

IET Rules of Conduct

In joining the IET, all members must agree to abide by the Rules of Conduct. Members re-affirm their commitment to the rules through the annual renewal of their membership. In this section you can see the rules with links to the pages exploring the professional values which underpin that rule. You will also be able to try an interactive case study for each value.