Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!
  • Students Click Here

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here


Abbott Aerospace Newsletter article: Freedom of Speech Contrary Opinion and the Engineer

Abbott Aerospace Newsletter article: Freedom of Speech Contrary Opinion and the Engineer

Abbott Aerospace Newsletter article: Freedom of Speech Contrary Opinion and the Engineer

Fud-4-Thot... and well stated...

Abbott Aerospace SEZC Ltd. [newsletter, article, Aug 2018]

I always thought the concept of freedom of speech was nonpolitical. I thought it was essential for a healthy society in the same way it is essential for a healthy organization.

It is my assessment that the politicization of the concept of freedom of speech is a bid for power in the present that will cause a decline in the long term health of society. Just like a restriction on discussion and communication in an organization will cause a decline in the health of the organization.

I have worked on two programs at two different OEMs where both the organizational chart and the schedule were secret and where meetings were shut down for speaking the truth. These programs both failed. One of the OEMs has gone through at least one bankruptcy and at the other the program was cancelled, the company was reorganized and has since been sold.

I am sure we have all worked in companies where political expediency is valued above commercial or technical excellence. We all know how painful it is to bend your psyche to fit into a warped notion of ‘common sense’ and live that reality every day.

The low cost purchase of expediency in the present for the long term cost of dysfunction, high staff turnover and eventual failure.

Apparently this culture is now deemed a good way forward for society as a whole. Companies that are run along these philosophical lines can go bankrupt and be replaced with a better functioning alternative. What happens when the society you live in elects to follow this path? What kind of philosophical, moral bankruptcy will result? And what will replace the society once it has been broken beyond repair?

It is clearly a better alternative to do what you can to save both the dysfunctional organization and, I would say essential, to save the dysfunctional society.

So what steps can you take to make a positive difference inside a dysfunctional organization and how does this relate to how to improve society?

1. Personal: Never compromise your personal integrity. If it feels wrong, if you are telling a lie or if you are hiding any truth you need to stop. Always tell the truth. A good project manager once told me “if you are in a meeting and you are not comfortable with everything you discuss being on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper you are doing something wrong”.

2. Emotional: Never lose your temper. No matter how much pressure you are under or how unpleasant your professional life may be always remain courteous and calm. Shouting does not win arguments and a smile and a shared joke puts people in the frame of mind to compromise and be flexible.

3. Professional: Be the best you can at what you do and share your skills and knowledge as widely as possible. Do not be selfish - share credit and accept blame. When someone corrects you accept it with gratitude - no matter what the intent of criticism is, it can make you better at what you do - use it.

The three points above are the things that I learnt from my own mistakes and miss-steps and while following them can be hard, not following them will generate a much worse result in the long term, both for yourself and others.

These points are good to apply in any industry. In engineering where bad designs, poor decisions and errors can cost lives I see them as essential. If I catch an engineer in a lie, or trying to hide an unpleasant truth they are a financial and ethical liability and their value as an engineer is effectively zero.

These are the standards that I use to judge myself and the people in my industry.

These personal standards rely on freedom of speech for me and freedom of speech for everyone else, no matter how much I may want to avoid what they have to say.

If we select to live in a culture that allows the suppression of ideas that we do not agree with, that are unpopular or even just wrong, where does that leave the free inquiry and unrestricted comment that are essential to the fields of engineering and science?

Organizations that cannot accept these standards of inquiry and criticism are dysfunctional. And if the application of these standards in society are not acceptable then society will become dysfunctional.

The way to reform a dysfunctional organization is the application of these standards, especially when they are the most difficult to apply.

The same is true of society, where the truth, or even just your opinion is least palatable, it is most important that it is spoken.

It is only through the exposure to contrary opinions that you learn to formulate the reason and logic behind your own positions. It is the only way that you find out that you are wrong. Free speech is what keeps us all from living in ignorance.

It is essential that we engineers maintain our ethical standards regardless of the short term consequences. How else do you live with yourself?

Regards, Wil Taylor

o Trust - But Verify!
o We believe to be true what we prefer to be true. [Unknown]
o For those who believe, no proof is required; for those who cannot believe, no proof is possible. [variation,Stuart Chase]
o Unfortunately, in science what You 'believe' is irrelevant. ["Orion", Homebuiltairplanes.com forum]

RE: Abbott Aerospace Newsletter article: Freedom of Speech Contrary Opinion and the Engineer

Wow. Well said (or written). #1 and #3 seem automatic for me, I guess it's how I was raised. #2 is a struggle sometimes, as people who don't believe in #1 and #3 can push you past your limits at times.

RE: Abbott Aerospace Newsletter article: Freedom of Speech Contrary Opinion and the Engineer

Thank you for posting that.

No one believes the theory except the one who developed it. Everyone believes the experiment except the one who ran it.

RE: Abbott Aerospace Newsletter article: Freedom of Speech Contrary Opinion and the Engineer

in reading this reminds me of my boss . . . yeah, i am lucky.

Excellent posting and thank you.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members!


White Paper - Effects of AIA Quick Guide to UL 489 or UL 1077
The function of a circuit breaker is to provide overload (thermal) and short-circuit (magnetic) protection to a circuit and its downstream components. A circuit breaker functions like an airbag in a car, protecting circuit components and people by tripping the circuit to interrupt the current flow if it detects a fault condition in the control system. Download Now
White Paper - Guide to Integrate Large-Format Additive
As with any new technology, getting into large-format 3D printing begins with investigation. The first question may be a simple one: what does “large-format” mean? For 3D printers, “large” is a relative term. Many extrusion-based (FFF) 3D printers are referred to as desktop machines, because they fit on table space. Some of these have very respectable build volumes – but when it comes to “large-format,” the machines will need their own dedicated floor space. Large-format 3D printers have significant build volumes and are most often found in professional settings, like manufacturing facilities and R&D centers. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close