Application of information technology to ensure business ethics Introduction Ethics defines moral provisions that govern conducts by stipulating rights and wrongs. Ethical behavior in business environment therefore defines acceptable conducts in the environment. While controversial technological applications such as personal use of the internet are not acceptable in some organizational set ups, employees still breach such workplace ethical provisions to use such applications. This has prompted regulatory measures to regulate such behaviors. This paper reviews an article on internet abuse at the workplace and deterrence approaches. Summary of the article The article reviews employee behavior on internet abuse and explores strategies for controlling the abuse.
It identifies significance of the problem as more than half of employees’ time in the internet is spent on issues that do not relate to work. Further, application of intervention measures to internet abuse is sensitive because it can demoralize employees and reduce productivity. Some of employees’ time in the internet also corresponds to leisure time and do not adversely affect organizations, though organizational image and legal regulations may prompt control of internet use in workplaces.
These establish the article’s theme of exploring appropriate applications for controlling internet abuse. The article identifies “Internet Acceptable Use Policy, ” whose components include scope of the policy, its application, penalty for non-compliance and a description of applied level of monitoring, as an approach to deterrence (Ugrin and Pearson 30). With reliance on “general deterrence theory” (Ugrin and Pearson 31), the authors test hypotheses that “enforced sanctions, ” “threats of sanctions, ” and “detection systems” have significant effects on deterrent (Ugrin and Pearson 32). The study applied “policy capturing” technique that understands individuals’ decision-making approach when given alternatives.
It recruited 87 participants from 12 diversified organizations, subjected them to different scenarios before asking questions about unauthorized internet use in workplaces. Research results identified implementation of sanctions as the most effective deterrent approach, then mere sanctions and detection consecutively. Effectiveness of the deterrent factors further depends on severity of abuse and managers should consider their organizations’ internal environments before selecting a deterrent measure. The article also identifies variable measurements and equivalence assumptions on different internet abuses as its limitations (Ugrin and Pearson 32- 37). Response to the article The success in identifying internet abuse as a significant information technology based problem that face business organizations establishes a relationship between information technology and ethics.
The problem is ethical because it relates to employee’s behavior, which can be either right or wrong, in organizations. While the internet is an effective approach to communication and is essential to organizations, its misuse, especially because of its addictive nature, is a threat to organizations’ productivity and cultures. Organizations should therefore establish mechanisms such as the acceptable use policy to ensure that employees adhere to sets codes of ethics.
Organizations should, based on the research findings, develop and apply punitive policies such as suspension and termination of employees in cases of extreme abuse that leads to legal liability or bad corporate image. Implementation of such policies should however include employees’ awareness of the policies’ provisions, rationale for establishing the policies, and the policies’ scopes. Similarly, organizations can implement information technology based control measures such as “risk mitigation from all angles, ” “network, desktop and email control, ” and “content control” (CIO 55).
Conclusion The article therefore identifies unethical behavior in internet abuse and recommends application of acceptable use policy for managing the behavior. IT based techniques can also solve the problem that may reduce an organization’s productivity and induce legal liability. Works cited Ugrin, Joseph, and Pearson, Michael. “Exploring internet abuse in the workplace: How can we maximize deterrence efforts? ” Review of Books 28.2 (2008): 29- 40. Print. CIO. “Business technology leadership. ” CIO 19.13 (2006): P. 78.