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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2012

Antonio Marturano

The purpose of the editorial is to remember Professor Alessandro D'Atri, a pioneering Information Systems Scholar with whom the author collaborated for about 15 years. The…

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426

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the editorial is to remember Professor Alessandro D'Atri, a pioneering Information Systems Scholar with whom the author collaborated for about 15 years. The main outcome of such collaboration is the conference Ethicomp 1999 in Rome. Following that conference the author has started elaborating a paper “Metaethics and the future of computer ethics” (Marturano) which was widely cited and quoted in the field. Thence the author has discussed its impact in the field and discussed some following papers dealing with similar topics. It emerged that such a paper is still a valid one for its perspectives but still not understood as for most of its ethical suggestions.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is mainly philosophical and critical. It uses mostly critical analysis of papers dealing with the same topics.

Findings

The perspectives and the seminal ideas of the author's paper “Metaethics and the future of computer ethics” (Marturano) are still valid and, in some extent, are more fruitful than some following papers covering the same topics.

Originality/value

The value of this guest editorial is in remembering a very valuable and pioneering scholar – Alessandro D'Atri and comparing the author's paper's findings with other similar papers, which results in a better understanding of theoretical problems in the discipline.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2003

Antonio Marturano

This paper is the result of the research I undertook at Lancaster University with a Marie Curie Fellowship during the academic years 2000‐2002. The objective of this…

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357

Abstract

This paper is the result of the research I undertook at Lancaster University with a Marie Curie Fellowship during the academic years 2000‐2002. The objective of this research was to study the limits and the challenges of the analogy between molecular geneticists’ work and hackers’ activities. By focusing on this analogy I aim to explore the different ethical and philosophical issues surrounding new genetics and its IPR regulations. The paper firstly will show the philosophical background lying behind the proposed analogy and analyses the sense in which we can talk of geneticists as “hackers.” It will provide grounds for the analogy by exploring some of the techniques used by geneticists; in particular it will focus on the so‐called Shotgun method for genomic sequencing. After having provided reasons for the proposed analogy I will claim that the open source philosophy used in the computer field would be a good way to regulate research in the genetics and in pharmaceutical field too. The open source philosophy would provide fair distribution of research opportunities around the globe with the shift from patenting to copyright in sensitive fields such as genetics.

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Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 1 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2010

Antonio Marturano and Alessandro D’Atri

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1283

Abstract

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Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2010

Christopher Bull and Alison Adam

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the design of characteristics and use of practices incorporated in customer relationship management information systems…

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2454

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the design of characteristics and use of practices incorporated in customer relationship management information systems (CRM‐IS) impact on the expression and realisation of moral agency within organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on the findings from an in‐depth UK case study of a CRM‐IS implementation.

Findings

The paper finds that some characteristics and practices within CRM‐IS can restrict the expression and realisation of moral agency in organisational life, resulting in a number of problems. For a greater consideration of MacIntyre's virtue ethics approach in order to respond to such challenges is argued.

Originality/value

The paper offers a relatively rare insight into the significance of the ethical issues arising from the organisational use of CRM‐IS and strategies. The paper should be of interest to managers, computer professionals and academics.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2012

Peter M. Bednar and Christine Welch

The purpose of this paper is to explore a particular philosophical underpinning for Information Systems (IS) research – critical systemic thinking (CST). Drawing upon…

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787

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore a particular philosophical underpinning for Information Systems (IS) research – critical systemic thinking (CST). Drawing upon previous work, the authors highlight the principal features of CST within the tradition of critical research and attempt to relate it to trends in the Italian school of IS research in recent years, as exemplified by the work of Claudio Ciborra but also evident in work by, e.g. Resca, Jacucci and D'Atri.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper which explores CST, characterised by a focus on individual uniqueness, and socially‐constructed, individual worldviews as generators of human knowing.

Findings

The paper draws on work by Heinz Klein in which he elaborated three constitutive stages in critical research: interpretive, genealogical and constructive. The authors introduce a fourth, reflective stage and discuss five categories of critical research, reflecting different perspectives on emancipation, culminating in emergent expressionism, associated with Ciborra and the Italian school more generally.

Research limitations/implications

This paper discusses approaches to CST and how they might have practical implications in IS development. The distinction between approaches founded in logical empiricism and those founded in hermeneutic dialectics are considered and the development of critical and systems strands are discussed.

Practical implications

The paper addresses CST as an approach to development of information systems. Such approaches enable users to explore their individually unique understandings and create a constructive dialogue with one another, which emancipates and empowers users to own and control their own development processes and hence build more productive and usable systems.

Social implications

A focus on research which is oriented towards emancipation in the tradition of critical social theory.

Originality/value

The paper draws on extensive theoretical research carried out by the authors over a period of more than ten years in CST and synthesises the practical implications.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2010

Cara Peters and David A. Bradbard

Web accessibility is the practice of making web sites accessible to people, such as the disabled, who are using more than just traditional web browsers to access the…

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3054

Abstract

Purpose

Web accessibility is the practice of making web sites accessible to people, such as the disabled, who are using more than just traditional web browsers to access the internet. The purpose of this paper is twofold: to overview web accessibility and to highlight the ethics of web accessibility from a managerial perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

To that end, this paper reviews related literature, highlights relevant public policy, discusses web accessibility from a systems development perspective, and concludes with a discussion of web accessibility with respect to different ethical theories.

Findings

The findings take the form of a tutorial that highlights how to address web accessibility projects. The findings also examine web accessibility projects as they relate to well‐known ethical theories. Additionally, the findings also incorporate ethical opinions from web designers who have completed web accessibility projects in the past.

Originality/value

The paper makes several contributions to the existing literatures on web accessibility and ethics. An important contribution is that the paper is the first tutorial on web accessibility that also examines the topic through the lens of ethical theories. In addition to the tutorial, the paper reports on the opinions of web designers who have worked on web accessibility projects in the past.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2012

Luca Giustiniano and Francesco Bolici

Trust is a social factor at the foundations of human action. The pervasiveness of trust explains why it has been studied by a large variety of disciplines, and its…

Abstract

Purpose

Trust is a social factor at the foundations of human action. The pervasiveness of trust explains why it has been studied by a large variety of disciplines, and its complexity justifies the difficulties in reaching a shared understanding and definition. As for all the social factors, trust is continuously evolving as a result of the changes in social, economic and technological conditions. The internet and many other Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) solutions have changed organizational and social life. Such mutated scenarios challenged what researchers know about trust, thus several studies tried to investigate the difference between online and traditional (physical) environments. The purpose of this paper is to solve this multi‐dimensional puzzle by presenting a conceptual framework that will take into consideration the complexity of ICT mediated‐trust.

Design/methodology/approach

The extant literature still lacks a homogeneous framework and presents a large amount of different perspectives, each one addressing a very specific issue. By using the methodology suggested by Short and Cropanzano the paper proposes a conceptual model for understanding the dynamics of trust in online settings. In doing so the authors' adopted the Actor Network Theory conceptual frame for disentangling the ambiguous role of technology in its relation with trust.

Findings

This paper provides an ultimate conceptual model on trust in virtual settings.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed model will help systematize the extant contributions and also identify the gaps that can be addressed by future researches.

Originality/value

The model permits the understanding of the dynamics of trust in online settings.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2010

Edward Howlett Spence

Beginning with the initial premise that the internet has a global character, the purpose of this paper is to argue that the normative evaluation of digital information on…

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892

Abstract

Purpose

Beginning with the initial premise that the internet has a global character, the purpose of this paper is to argue that the normative evaluation of digital information on the internet necessitates an evaluative model that is itself universal and global in character. To this end, the paper aims to demonstrate and support a universal model for the normative evaluation of information on the internet.

Design/methodology/approach

The design and application of a dual normative model of information show how such a model commits all disseminators of information to universal epistemological and ethical norms.

Findings

Based on the dual normative characterization of information, the paper demonstrates that information and internet information specifically, have an inherent normative structure that commits its disseminators to certain mandatory epistemological and ethical commitments; and that the negligent or purposeful abuse of information in violation of those commitments is also a violation of universal rights to freedom and wellbeing to which all agents are entitled by virtue of being agents, and in particular informational agents.

Research limitations/implications

Owing to space constraints it is impractical to provide in this paper a detailed account of how the argument for informational universal rights can deal with other competing moral obligations.

Originality/value

The findings based on an innovative dual normative model of information demonstrate and support the initial thesis of the paper, namely, that the dissemination of internet information due to its global nature commits all informational agents to universal epistemological and ethical principles.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2012

Andrea Resca and Alessandro D'Atri

The so‐called strategic information systems define systems that represent instruments able to provide a competitive advantage. In this case, the purpose of this paper is…

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777

Abstract

Purpose

The so‐called strategic information systems define systems that represent instruments able to provide a competitive advantage. In this case, the purpose of this paper is to go further and broaden the perspective to examine business sectors. Namely, information systems are conceived also as factors that reconfigure entire business systems.

Design/methodology/approach

The research strategy followed can be considered in the circle of the case study. Specifically the case is Yoox, a virtual boutique. The theoretical approach for answering to the questions how and why information systems are determinant in Yoox's development is based on Normann's work (Reframing Business). In fact, it outlines modalities through which information systems reconfigure value space and give details to forces enacted consequently.

Findings

The Yoox case study throws light on the fact that, actually, information systems can be a useful instrument not only for reformulating business models but also dynamics that characterize entire business sectors.

Research limitations/implications

The perspective proposed is limited to marginal aspects of the fashion business, i.e. global brands such as Armani have been involved in pursuing new online distribution channels outsourcing these services to a Dot.com company like Yoox.

Originality/value

A business such as a virtual boutique for a multi‐brand fashion and design is imitable due to the worldwide competition. The fact that Yoox became a provider of e‐commerce platform, forming the logistical side to the marketing strategies on the net, changes the scenario significantly. Yoox's mission is not only to sell fashion online but to provide a technological platform for e‐commerce. In this way, Armani, at first, was a Yoox provider but now it is also a customer. In some sense, the rules of the game of the fashion sector, have been, albeit marginally, modified.

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2010

U. Pagallo

The paper suggests overcoming the polarization of today's debate on peer‐to‐peer (P2P) systems by defining a fair balance between the principle of precaution and the…

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1167

Abstract

Purpose

The paper suggests overcoming the polarization of today's debate on peer‐to‐peer (P2P) systems by defining a fair balance between the principle of precaution and the principle of openness. Threats arising from these file sharing applications‐systems should not be a pretext to limit freedom of research, speech or the right “freely to participate in the cultural life of the community”, as granted by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948. The paper aims to take sides in today's debate.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts an interdisciplinary approach, including network theory, law and ethics. The method draws on both theoretical and empirical material so as to stress the paradox of the principle of precaution applied to P2P systems and why the burden of proof should fall on the party proposing that one refrain from action.

Findings

Censors and opponents of P2P systems who propose to apply the principle of precaution to this case deny the premise upon which that principle rests. “Levels of evidence” required by the precautionary principle show that – in many cases in which the outcomes of technology are ignored – another principle is needed for orienting action, namely, the principle of openness.

Social implications

Alarm about how P2P systems undermine crucial elements of the societies often led to the ban of this technology. The paper illustrates why it should not be the case: rather than shutting these networks down, they should be further developed.

Originality/value

The paper provides the comprehensive picture of a far too often fragmented debate.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

Keywords

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