Engineers perceptions of confidential information
PROBLEM: Professional engineers are expected, by their code of ethics to not disclose confidential information of the employer or client. However the codes and the literature are largely silent on what exactly comprises confidential information. NEED: There is a need to better understand what type of employer/client information is confidential in the engineering context. The purpose of this project was to determine what types of information are important. APPROACH: Practising engineers were survey by a questionnaire. Results were analysed statistically. FINDINGS: Key results: The definition of confidential information in the engineering context is complex. Large organisations feel they can clearly distinguish between trade secrets and information that is free to reuse, compared to small organisations. Engineering graduates feel they can take away knowledge of quality systems, whereas engineering managers feel not. Mechanical engineers feel they can take away customer needs and problems in the product, whereas civil engineers not. ORIGINALITY: The work determines what types of information are important, and what importance engineers assign to this information, in different situations.