Along with 20 others, I attended the peer conference KWST#2 on 15-16 June 2012 which was sponsored by Software Education.
I felt the conference provided ample opportunities to network but more importantly, it provided an insight into the minds of the people we were networking with. I gained a better understanding of who they are and how they think, either from their sharing of experience reports, or from questions they raised, or from arguments or suggestions they put forth in discussions.
One of the many many things from this conference that struck me was…what one person may consider as an ethical challenge may not be to another. It was interesting to see how on some issues it was black & white for some of us yet it was a grey area for others. Different viewpoints and consideration of factors not previously thought of added flavour & spice to our discussions. Personally I discovered that where others found themselves faced with an ethical dilemma I wouldn’t have lost any sleep over it. I would have done what I thought was right and not thought any more about it whereas they seemed to mull over and debate whether they had done the right thing or not.
Or maybe I’m grappling with what constitutes ethical behaviour. I might consider a particular course of action as ethical whereas someone else might not. Hmmm… come to think of it, there were many examples of this over the 2 days. I think culture, upbringing and past experiences help shape our ethical outlook. For example, in some cultures it is considered unethical to question an elder but what if that elder is the captain of a plane and he has made (what the younger co-pilot considers) a bad decision? Should he be questioned? Should the decision be discussed?
My philosophy (whether rightly or wrongly) is: if it bugs me I’m going to do something about it and the hell with the consequences as long as it no longer bugs me after. Okay, maybe “the hell with the consequences” is a bit harsh but you get the gist.
Over the 2-day conference, what I felt reinforced was that an ethical dilemma is not always so obviously black & white. Even within our testing community we seem to have differing viewpoints on ethical behaviour in a given situation. And I think how a person handles the situation, the choices he/she makes helps shed light on what kind of a tester and a person he/she is. What do you think?