Date of Conferral
Dr. Robert E. Levasseur
Problems exist with ethical decision-making in U.S. construction engineering projects.
The purpose of this study was to explore factors that affect ethical decision-making in engineering construction in the United States. The general concepts of marketing ethics, Kohlberg's discussion of ethical and moral reasoning development, and Gillian's discussion of ethical care served as the basis of the conceptual framework. Factors that inhibit ethical decision making were addressed in the research questions. The resulting narrative framework included implementable initiatives based on these factors that could improve the quality of ethical decision-making and the impact of these initiatives on the cost and quality of construction engineering projects. The use of qualitative grounded theory design led to findings from the research questions and enabled the development of a theory to explain the phenomenon. The research was based on data collected from interviews with a purposive sample of 12 civil engineers with 15 to 45 years of forensic and managerial experience with construction engineering projects. The constant comparative method was used to analyze the data. The principal finding from the research was that unethical decision-making in the legal and political systems undermines the image and authority of construction engineers in the United States. The findings of the study may cause social change by indicating how to enhance the ethical behavior of individuals involved in decision-making within the U.S. construction engineering industry, leading to improvements in the cost and quality of construction projects that benefit individual stakeholders as well as society.