Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Patrice M Buzzanell

Committee Member 1

Stacey Connaughton

Committee Member 2

Seungyoon Lee

Committee Member 3

Carla B Zoltowski

Committee Member 4

William C Oakes


This study seeks to examine the communicative constitution of ethics in team-based design projects in an engineering education context. Engineering and design work involve complex social processes and ethical decision-making activities and collaboration (Bucciarelli, 2010). The understanding and development of ethics in future engineers is a primary concern for engineering educators, students, and the governing bodies that oversee this field (ABET, 2013; NAE, 2012). Specifically, given the highly fluid and subjective nature of ethics and the complications of the team-based context, challenges arise about how to move beyond codes and standards that are intended to guide ethical conduct (ASEE, 2012; NSPE, 2011) and encourage ethical orientations in future engineers that may help them guide themselves.