Managing electronic information: an ethics perspective

Mayur S. Desai (Jesse H. Jones School of Business, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, USA)
Thomas J. von der Embse (Indiana University Kokomo, Kokomo, Indiana, USA)

Information Management & Computer Security

ISSN: 0968-5227

Publication date: 21 March 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The paper addresses the contemporary and very important area of electronic information (EI) management – the ethical dimension and implications. Specifically, this paper aims to analyze EI activities and management practices, the ethical dilemmas and implications; to relate effectiveness in EI ethics activities in the context of organizational ethics policy and practice, and to suggest a framework for handling ethical dilemmas in managing the major EI activities.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey of mid‐ and first‐level managers in six industries was conducted. Subjects were asked to describe organization practices in 11 areas of ethics policy application. Respondent firms were compared according to high and low numbers of ethical safeguards: an ethics code, a credo or values statement, written ethics policies – general and specific, ethics training and development, ready access to ethics guidelines at all levels, and a cohesive, supportive ethical culture.

Findings

EI ethics need to be addressed in the context of the organization's policies and practices. This extends to specific EI activities as well, where the ramifications of misbehavior – or upright behavior – are magnified.

Practical implications

The organization that invests in ethics safeguards provides the needed supports and reaps substantial returns in employee morale, performance and ultimately, the bottom line – profits. In this area of EI management, the atmosphere of trust that results lightens the burden for all involved.

Originality/value

This research has a value that is relevant to the current issues related to the privacy and security of information.

Keywords

Citation

Desai, M. and von der Embse, T. (2008), "Managing electronic information: an ethics perspective", Information Management & Computer Security, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 20-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/09685220810862724

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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