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Article
Publication date: 13 March 2007

Kenneth Einar Himma

Information ethics, as is well known, has emerged as an independent area of ethical and philosophical inquiry. There are a number of academic journals that are devoted…

Abstract

Purpose

Information ethics, as is well known, has emerged as an independent area of ethical and philosophical inquiry. There are a number of academic journals that are devoted entirely to the numerous ethical issues that arise in connection with the new information communication technologies; these issues include a host of intellectual property, information privacy, and security issues of concern to librarians and other information professionals. In addition, there are a number of major international conferences devoted to information ethics every year. It would hardly be overstating the matter to say that information ethics is as “hot” an area of theoretical inquiry as medical ethics. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview on these and related issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a review of relevant information ethics literature together with the author's assessment of the arguments.

Findings

There are issues that are more abstract and basic than the substantive issues with which most information ethics theorizing is concerned. These issues are thought to be “foundational” in the sense that we cannot fully succeed in giving an analysis of the concrete problems of information ethics (e.g. are legal intellectual property rights justifiably protected?) until these issues are adequately addressed.

Originality/value

The paper offers a needed survey of foundational issues in information ethics.

Details

Library Hi Tech, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0737-8831

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Richard Volkman

The paper aims to examine the nature of computer ethics as a field of study in light of 20 years of Ethicomp, arguing that computer ethics beyond mere compliance will have…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to examine the nature of computer ethics as a field of study in light of 20 years of Ethicomp, arguing that computer ethics beyond mere compliance will have to be pluralistic and sensitive to the starting places of various audiences.

Design/methodology/approach

The essay offers a philosophical rather than empirical analysis, but the ideal of open inquiry is observed to be manifest in the practice of Ethicomp.

Findings

If computer ethics is to constitute a real engagement with industry and society that cultivates a genuine sensitivity to ethical concerns in the creation, development and implementation of technologies, a genuine sensitivity that stands in marked contrast to ethics as “mere compliance”, then computer ethics will have to persist in issuing an open invitation to inquiry.

Originality/value

The celebration of 20 years of Ethicomp is an occasion to reflect on who we are and what we mean to be doing. Inclusive of previous accounts (e.g. Moor and Gotterbarn), while going beyond them, an inquiry-based conception of computer ethics makes room for all the various dimensions of computer ethics.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 13 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Article
Publication date: 4 April 2008

Mansoor Al‐A'ali

The purpose of this paper is to study the ethical behaviour of Muslim IT professionals in an attempt to stop many unethical practices such as software piracy, software…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the ethical behaviour of Muslim IT professionals in an attempt to stop many unethical practices such as software piracy, software intellectual property violations and general software development.

Design/methodology/approach

This study examines the computer ethical principles presented in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) code of conduct from an Islamic point of view through studying some relevant verses of The Holy Quran and Hadiths of Prophet Mohammed. An evaluation of the benefits of this newly proposed Islamic computer code of ethics is presented by surveying how IT students, IT professionals and software house owners would adhere to it. The evaluation was carried out by teaching different groups of participants aspects of the ACM code of conduct and the proposed Islamic computer ethics code and then surveying their opinions by a questionnaire.

Findings

The study demonstrates that teaching computer ethics in general, and computer ethics from an Islamic point of view in particular, clearly contributes to ethical behaviour of Muslim IT professionals with regards to software development issues.

Research limitations/implications

It is not possible to put participants through real life scenarios and practically observe how they would react to different ethical situations. The empirical research thus relies on what participants said they would do.

Practical implications

The newly developed Islamic code of computer ethics and its proposed implementation method can be utilised by organisations for their benefit.

Originality/value

The study is the first to address the issue of computer ethics and Islam for IT professionals. This paper presents a first Islamic computer code of ethics and presents a methodology for applying it. It also reports a study undertaken in Bahrain of how attitudes might be influenced by teaching computer ethics in general, and computer ethics from an Islamic point of view in particular.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Book part
Publication date: 5 November 2015

Peter Bowden

This paper explores the question of whether the identification of many wrongdoings in an organisation requires knowledge of the technical and operating mechanisms of that…

Abstract

This paper explores the question of whether the identification of many wrongdoings in an organisation requires knowledge of the technical and operating mechanisms of that organisation. If such is the case, many ethical problems cannot be resolved by a generalist. They must be left to people with knowledge of that industry. In attempting to answer the question, the paper examines 11 different types of organisations. It then asks how the ethical issues in those organisations might be resolved. The organisations are veterinarians, pharmacies, media companies, engineering firms, doctors, general businesses, including two sub disciplines, marketing and accounting organisations, nursing institutions, political parties, scientific research organisations, legal firms and information technology companies. Each can be a small professional company, locally based, or a large organisation, possibly international. Each exhibits one or more ethical problems that are not easily resolved by accepted ethical theory. Accepted theory, as further defined in the text, is the mainline ethical theories that would be core components of most ethics texts or courses. The question arises then on how would ethics be taught if the ethical issues require specialised knowledge of that industry sector. After examining the 11 industries, the paper puts forth two views. One is that a number of wrongs can be identified in industries and organisations where the ethical problems are complex and difficult to resolve, and where the standard ethical theories are of little or no help. Resolving these issues requires action from the organisation, or from the industry association encompassing all companies within that sector. A further complication has developed in the near explosive growth in whistleblower protection systems. These systems, now introduced in close to 30 countries around the world, have their own lists of wrongdoings for which the whistleblower will receive administrative and legal support. These lists of wrongs are distinct from any moral theory One conclusion to be drawn is that new methods possibly need to be found for teaching the identification and resolution of ethical issues. A second is a consequence of the first – that the teacher of ethics in these courses has to be drawn from within the industry. Further questions then arise: One is whether this demand then requires that this industry specialist learn moral theory? A second is then how would generalist applied ethics causes be taught (in humanities departments for instance)? Alternate viewpoints on joint teaching by a moral specialist and an industry specialist have been put forward. The paper puts forward one possible approach for the industry courses – that the industry specialist has to present the course, with new methods and content, but that a theoretical content is taught by someone knowledgeable in ethical theory. For generalist courses, the moral theorist has to include a sufficiently wide sample of industry and organisational ethical issues to ensure that students are aware of the wide range of ethical concerns that can arise, as well as approaches to resolving them.

Details

The Ethical Contribution of Organizations to Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-446-1

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Article
Publication date: 23 November 2012

Omar E.M. Khalil and Ahmed A.S. Seleim

The information technology (IT) related ethical issues will only increase in frequency and complexity with the increasing diffusion of IT in economies and societies. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The information technology (IT) related ethical issues will only increase in frequency and complexity with the increasing diffusion of IT in economies and societies. The purpose of this paper is to explore Egyptian students' attitudes towards the information ethics issues of privacy, access, property, and accuracy, and it evaluates the possible impact of a number of personal characteristics on such attitudes.

Design/methodology/approach

This research utilized a cross‐sectional sample and data set to test five hypotheses. It adopted an instrument to collect the respondents' background information and assess their attitudes towards the information ethics issues of privacy, property, accuracy, and access. Egyptian business students at Alexandria University were asked to participate in the survey. A total of 305 responses were collected and analyzed.

Findings

The analysis revealed that students are sensitive to the ethicality of information privacy, information accuracy, and information access. However, students are insensitive to the ethicality of property (software) right. In addition, years of education have a main effect on students' attitudes towards property, and gender and age have an interaction effect on students' attitudes towards access.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this research are based on a cross‐sectional data set collected from a sample of business students at a public university. Students, however, may make poor surrogates for business or IT professionals. Future similar research designs that employ large samples from Egyptian working professionals and students in other private and public universities are needed to verify the findings of this research.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that the investigated university as well as the other similar Egyptian universities should consider integrating ethics education into their curricula. Teaching information ethics, especially from an Islamic perspective, is expected to positively influence students' information ethical attitudes. The enforcement of the existing property right protection laws should also curb software piracy in the Egyptian market.

Originality/value

It is vital to expand the ethical research currently being performed in IT in order to help bridge the gap between behavior and IT. The findings of this research extend the understanding of students' attitudes towards the information ethics issues in Egyptian culture and contribute to the growing body of knowledge on global information ethics.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Book part
Publication date: 4 December 2020

Alan Tapper

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the concept and the content of courses on ‘social ethics’. It will present a dilemma that arises in the design of such courses. On

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the concept and the content of courses on ‘social ethics’. It will present a dilemma that arises in the design of such courses. On the one hand, they may present versions of ‘applied ethics’; that is, courses in which moral theories are applied to moral and social problems. On the other hand, they may present generalised forms of ‘occupational ethics’, usually professional ethics, with some business ethics added to expand the range of the course. Is there, then, not some middle ground that is distinctively designated by the term ‘social ethics’? The article will argue that there is such a ground. It will describe that ground as the ethics of ‘social practices’. It will then illustrate how this approach to the teaching of ethics may be carried out in five domains of social practice: professional ethics, commercial ethics, corporate ethics, governmental ethics, and ethics in the voluntary sector. The aim is to show that ‘social ethics’ courses can have a clear rationale and systematic content.

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Book part
Publication date: 19 April 2018

David Carpenter

In this chapter I build upon the case I argued in Volume 1 of this series (Carpenter, D. (2016). The quest for generic ethical principles in social science research. In R…

Abstract

In this chapter I build upon the case I argued in Volume 1 of this series (Carpenter, D. (2016). The quest for generic ethical principles in social science research. In R. Iphofen (Ed.), Advances in research ethics and integrity (Vol. 1, pp. 3–18). Bingley: Emerald). There I established arguments for eschewing principlism and other well-established theories of practical ethics, such as deontology and consequentialism, in favour of virtue ethics. I drew on the work of Macfarlane (2009, 2010) in making a case for virtuous researcher and virtuous research. In this chapter, I draw attention to the role and conduct of ethics committees in reviewing research. If we are to consider the ethics of research and researchers, then we might also consider the ethics of reviewing and reviewers. Whilst there is an abundance of codes and similar documents aimed at guiding research conduct, there is relatively little to guide ethics committees and their members. Given the argument that a virtue ethics approach might help committees evaluate the ethics of proposed research and researchers, it could equally be the case that virtue ethics could be useful when thinking about the work of committees and ethics review. In this chapter I attempt to relocate and develop Macfarlane’s work by examining its application to the work of ethics committees and the virtues of their members. In particular, I will consider the virtues that reviewers should exhibit or demonstrate when reviewing research, and what we might take as the telos of ethics committees.

Details

Virtue Ethics in the Conduct and Governance of Social Science Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-608-2

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Book part
Publication date: 12 June 2015

Maureen L. Mackenzie

The boundaries between the for-profit sector and traditional nonprofit library focused information professions are blurring. As these information professions grow, more of…

Abstract

The boundaries between the for-profit sector and traditional nonprofit library focused information professions are blurring. As these information professions grow, more of their future leaders will be graduates from business management programs as opposed to library and information programs. There is a general perception that for-profit employers demand leaders who are analytical and achievement oriented. As a result, business schools have been criticized for focusing their curricula on transaction-based economics with less focus on preparing leaders to do what is right. So, how do we better prepare business graduates to face ethical dilemmas as they move forward to build and support information organizations of the future? This chapter reports the results of a study which explored the viewpoints of American thought leaders about ethics in the context of business programs. A total of 32 subjects from the corporate and higher education settings were interviewed. Results of the study revealed five major themes related to how educators can better prepare our next generation of leaders. Those themes were: (1) insights related to the student; (2) insights pertaining to the goal of business ethics education and curricula; (3) specific cases and experiences to include in ethics course(s); (4) explicit student learning outcomes; and (5) the specific role, skill, and ability of professors teaching ethics courses. While this chapter deals primarily with the academic scope of ethics, the study also explored personal views about ethics by the interviewees. Understanding how foundational ethical beliefs and awareness develop then informs the broader discussion of ethics.

Details

Current Issues in Libraries, Information Science and Related Fields
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-637-9

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2009

Göran Svensson, Greg Wood and Michael Callaghan

The objective of this paper is to develop and describe a construct of the “ethos of the codes of ethics” (i.e. an ECE construct) in the private and public sectors of Sweden.

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this paper is to develop and describe a construct of the “ethos of the codes of ethics” (i.e. an ECE construct) in the private and public sectors of Sweden.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes a cross‐sector approach to codes of ethics amongst the top private sector companies and the top public sector organisations. The paper then examines the measures put in place by the dual sample in order to describe the ethos of their codes of ethics.

Findings

The multivariate techniques used in the statistical analysis indicated that the ECE‐construct consists of five dimensions: ethical bodies, ethical tools, ethical support procedures, internal ethics usage, and external ethics usage.

Research limitations/implications

It should be noted that the ECE construct has been derived from large companies and organisations in private and public Sweden, which may indicate less applicability to smaller operations. Another limitation may be the validity and reliability across other cultural samples. The dual sample contains a variety of different types of operations, but it may not be transferable to other countries.

Practical implications

The outcome is based on data from private companies and public organisations that indicated they had corporate codes of ethics. Therefore, a suggestion for further research is to examine the ECE construct in other countries/cultures that differ from the ones in this research effort performed in the private and public sectors of Sweden.

Originality/value

The ECE construct introduced makes a contribution to theory and practice in the field as it is based upon a dual sample. It makes a contribution to theory as it outlines a construct for the benefit of other researchers working in both the private and the public sectors. The authors also believe that it may be of managerial interest as it provides a grounded framework of areas to be considered in the implementation of the codes of ethics in both private companies and public organisations.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 22 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 22 March 2019

Sarwar Mehmood Azhar, Rubeena Tashfeen, Jaweria Khalid and Tashfeen Mahmood Azhar

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2016 shows Pakistan as among the more corrupt nations in the world with a ranking of 117 among 176 countries surveyed. This…

Abstract

Purpose

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2016 shows Pakistan as among the more corrupt nations in the world with a ranking of 117 among 176 countries surveyed. This situation raises concerns about members of the society and especially about the business communities. This paper aims to examine whether the tendency to corruption is also prevalent amongst business students, the future leaders and executives of business organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses survey questionnaires in the manner of Parsa and Lankford (1999) to examine the ethical levels of business students. It uses Levene’s (1960) tests for equality of variances and the t-test for equality of means to examine whether there are difference in the ethical perceptions between: bachelors (BBA) and graduate (MBA) students; business students who have taken the ethics course and those who have not; and female and male students. The authors also examine the overall ethical perceptions of business students.

Findings

The results show that students seem to make a clear distinction in respect of what they consider as acceptable and unacceptable ethical behavior. They would not indulge in behavior that directly falls within the category of stealing, misusing of company’s resources and undertaking actions that are wrong or dishonest, which may stem from their religious indoctrination. However, they would consider as acceptable behavior the overlooking of safety violations, not telling on peers; and fudging of the truth to get the job done. The latter attitude appears to be in line with business objectives of achieving targets irrespective of the means employed and that inform business education. We do not find any differences between the behavior of women and men which may be the outcome of the same religious indoctrination and educational perceptions. While there is a difference in the ethical perceptions between students who have taken the ethics course and those who have not, the course is not able to counter the lack of ethics among business students. There is a need for some stronger measures to inculcate a set of ethical values within students. However, we did find that some of the unethical behavior is diluted at the MBA level in comparison to BBA students.

Originality/value

This study provides new insights into the ethical perceptions of students in an Islamic emerging country. There is a conflict between ethics conveyed through Islamic precepts, and the ethics of business education with a focus on profits/revenues, costs, performance and competition that endorses a Machiavellian attitude of achieving goals at any cost and the love of money (Tang and Chen, 2008). It is the first study to suggest a differentiation in the ethical behavior of business students that exhibit both ethical and unethical behavior. There appears to be a clear segregation between what students deem as acceptable and unacceptable ethical behavior that may result from their personal/religious beliefs, and their business attitudes that strongly informs their ethical behavior. It provides a basis for developing more customized and effective ethics courses in Pakistan and suggests more importantly that ethics needs to be integrated into business concepts imparted in business programs at universities.

Details

Journal of International Education in Business, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-469X

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