Professional values

A set of interactive case studies based around professional values developed by the IDEA CETL - a centre for Excellence in applied ethics teaching and research.

Interactive case studies

Our case studies below are designed to illustrate a particular value associated with being a professional engineer and directly relate to the values which are highlighted in the IET's Rules of Conduct. We have also produced guidance for our members surrounding the issue of whistleblowing.

Each case study is designed so that it highlights issues which will be relevant to engineers working in a wide variety of different fields. They are also interactive, and should hopefully be enjoyable as well as challenging.

All case studies (except the two introductory case studies) are available to members only and will require a log-in.

Image of a welcome mat   Page in a book with text defining competence as 'being good at what I do, capable, effective'   Red rubber stamp that reads 'Confidential'  

Introductory case studies

Get started on two case studies about issues in procurement and carbon capture and storage. These case studies are open to all.


How do you know whether you are competent to make a particular decision which might have important personal consequences for people?


In what situations can a claim of "whistle-blowing" justify the disclosure of confidential information?

Stones balanced on a fulcrum   Image of the word 'honesty' in white on a red background   Image of the word 'Integrity' on a motorway sign  


What is the fairest way to approach the allocation of a resource or deal with cultural difference?


How do you make sure you are as honest as possible with your customers? Would you make a "facilitation payment" to win a contract?


To what extent should your own moral views about war and warfare affect your professional judgement as an engineer in the defence industry?

Two signposts pointing in different directions with the words 'right way' on one and 'wrong way' on the other   'Health and Safety Law' document and reading glasses   Wind turbines against cloudy sky  


How do you give objective professional advice, whilst making sure that you don't disclose confidential information?

Health, safety and risk

How do you ensure the safety of a workforce whilst maintaining a comfortable working environment?


How do you handle public and commercial pressures when called upon to provide expert advice?


The IET is running a one-day training course - 'Ethics for Engineers' - in September 2016 which is designed to help you explore how ethical issues impact on your working life. Early booking discounts are available. Visit our courses web pages for more information.

IDEA CETL logo These case studies were developed by the IDEA CETL, a Centre for Excellence in Applied Ethics teaching and research. The IDEA CETL also provides ethics training for engineers.

They can be used in teaching and training, but we ask that you do not make them freely available, for example on any publicly-facing website, or use them for commercial gain. For information about a large range of similar resources, many of which are specifically designed for engineers, please visit the IDEA CETL website. If you wish to cite any of these case studies, please acknowledge the authorship of the IDEA CETL.