Essay24 June 2008 Analysing Ethical Issues in IT Introduction In our world today, Ethics are an issue that hound the everyday life. The ability to distinguish and behave according to what is right and wrong is the supreme goal of any human being’s life. Ethics assist people in resolving the dilemma of choosing the right from wrong and in differentiating between what is moral and what is immoral? Ethics are usually based on religion, education, environment, personal values, etc. In business, ethics are a vital tool in the overall decision making process.
The relationship between the two is somewhat contradictory and ambiguous (Boomer, 1987). Still ethics are the guiding stars by which most of the businesses adhere to. By definition, business ethics are a set of standards and principles that direct behaviour in the world of business. Behaviour that is ethical is critical in business because business is a vocation that is founded on a trust in the actions of every single individual involved in every single matter. Our economy is based on business and any worthwhile business must be based on the assumption of trust.
In order to identify ethical behaviour in business, it is a good idea to be armed with the knowledge of ethical theories and the underlying analysis of the said thoughts. Applications of these ethical theories to virtual situations do help the individuals in formulating decisions that mould both attitude and behaviour. With a thorough knowledge of relevant ethical theories a person may be able to decide which theory is most appropriate in a given situation and can base his or her principles upon the said theories.
An Ethical Analysis Using Normative EthicsSubsequently, behavioural models of ethical and unethical behaviour do aid managers in identifying the reasons behind an employee’s action, and then arrive at a reasonable decision on how to best address that particular employee and the situation at hand. The given case study contains many questionable acts committed by the concerned professionals. An attempt to qualify these acts as being ethical or unethical in the light of the existing ethical theories will surely prove to be immensely enlightening. Concerning Professor Johnson Professor Jeremiah Johnson’s decision of accepting a grant from Industry Development Program (IDP) to conduct a software assurance research project despite being aware that his Software Assurance Theory may not be a viable project definitely constitutes a questionable act.
The Professor’s act of accepting a grant for the particular project do seems to be ethical, as being a mature and learned person he exhibited a postconventional level of maturity that considered the quest for knowledge above other things. The probability of the detection of his behaviour being fairly low with no existence of base motives, this act of his is no doubt legal.
Being an academician, he was definitely guided by the unwritten professional ethic of placing knowledge above short term profits. This decision is also in tandem with the academic environment in which he works. This decision certainly stands its grounds as per the Theory of Subjective Relativism. In the given context, what is ethical or unethical will depend upon the concerned authorities’ mode of thinking. Kantianism also supports this decision that is conclusively based on the personal and universal belief in the sanctity of pure research.
Such decisions do contribute to the welfare of all humanity in the long run, which Utilitarianism justifies as being ethical. Social Contract Theory also seems to support this decision as everybody knows that all practical applications do find their source in the pure academic research. Hence the given decision of Professor Jeremiah stands to be ethical by all norms and principles. Professor Johnson’s use of the SCM software from other grant to further his SAT project can be justified on the same grounds. It is a known fact that scientific research is a cash guzzling affair and requires ample resources and assets.