Mike Monteiro isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea, but I really like his views in Design Ethics & the Truth About Who Designers Really Work For. In short, designers need to work for users:
When you hire me as a designer, I do not work for you. I may practice my craft at your service, but you haven’t earned the right to shape how I practice that craft. One, you don’t want me designing at your level, you want me designing at mine, which means you don’t get to pull the strings. I do. Two, you’re hiring someone who performs a service, not a servant. There’s a difference. I’m not there to do your bidding, I’m there to solve a problem or reach a goal that we agreed upon.
More importantly, designers work for all users, not just the ones who look like them…
And your job, the glorious job you signed up for when you said you wanted to be a designer, is to support all of these people. Make sure none of these incredible voices get lost. And to fight against those who see that brilliant cacophony as a bug and not the greatest feature of all time.
You are our protection against monsters.