What is ethics, and why is it important to act according to a code of principles? What is ethics, and why is it important to act according to a code of principles?




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TitleWhat is ethics, and why is it important to act according to a code of principles? What is ethics, and why is it important to act according to a code of principles?
Date14.04.2013
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What is ethics, and why is it important to act according to a code of principles?

  • What is ethics, and why is it important to act according to a code of principles?

  • Why is business ethics becoming increasingly important?

  • What are corporations doing to improve business ethics?

  • Why are corporations interested in fostering good business ethics?



What approach can you take to ensure ethical decision making?

  • What approach can you take to ensure ethical decision making?

  • What trends have increased the risk of using information technology unethically?



Moral code

  • Moral code

    • Set of rules
    • Establishes boundaries of generally accepted behavior
    • Different rules often have contradictions
  • Morality

    • Social conventions about right and wrong
    • Widely shared


Morality may vary by:

  • Morality may vary by:

    • Age
    • Cultural group
    • Ethnic background
    • Religion
    • Gender


Ethics is a set of beliefs about right and wrong behavior

  • Ethics is a set of beliefs about right and wrong behavior

  • Ethical behavior conforms to generally accepted social norms

  • Virtues

    • Habits that incline people to do what is acceptable
  • Vices

    • Habits of unacceptable behavior
  • Value system

    • Scheme of moral values


Integrity is a cornerstone of ethical behavior

  • Integrity is a cornerstone of ethical behavior

  • People with integrity

    • Act in accordance with a personal code of principles
    • Extend to all people the same respect and consideration that you desire
    • Apply the same moral standards in all situations


Risk is the product of multiplying the likelihood of an event by the impact of its occurrence

  • Risk is the product of multiplying the likelihood of an event by the impact of its occurrence

  • Risks associated with inappropriate behavior have increased due to

    • Globalization
    • Heightened vigilance by
      • Employees
      • Shareholders
      • Regulatory agencies


Recent scandals in IT companies

  • Recent scandals in IT companies

    • WorldCom
    • Qwest Communications International Inc.
    • Adelphia Communications Corp.
    • Computer Associates (CA)


Enacted in response to public outrage over several major accounting scandals

  • Enacted in response to public outrage over several major accounting scandals

  • Section 404 requires that the CEO and CFO sign any SEC filing to attest to its accuracy

  • Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) provides oversight for auditors of public companies

  • IT organizations must build controls that ensure information stands up to audit scrutiny



To gain the goodwill of the community

  • To gain the goodwill of the community

  • To create an organization that operates consistently

  • To produce good business

  • To protect the organization and its employees from legal action

  • To avoid unfavorable publicity



Basic responsibilities to society

  • Basic responsibilities to society

    • Declared in formal statement of company’s principles or beliefs
    • Include:
      • Making contributions to charitable organizations and nonprofit institutions
      • Providing benefits for employees in excess of legal requirements
      • Choosing economic opportunities that might be more socially desirable than profitable


Goodwill that socially responsible activities create can make it easier for corporations to conduct business

  • Goodwill that socially responsible activities create can make it easier for corporations to conduct business



Many business values include:

  • Many business values include:

    • Operating with honesty and integrity, staying true to corporate principles
    • Operating according to standards of ethical conduct, in words and action
    • Treating colleagues, customers, and consumers with respect
    • Striving to be the best at what matters most to the company
    • Accepting personal responsibility for actions
    • Valuing diversity
    • Making decisions based on facts and principles


Produce safe and effective products

  • Produce safe and effective products

    • Avoid costly recalls and lawsuits
  • Provide excellent service

    • Maintain customers
  • Develop and maintain strong employee relations

    • Suffer less turnover
    • Enjoy better employee morale


Suppliers and other business partners prefer companies that operate in a fair and ethical manner

  • Suppliers and other business partners prefer companies that operate in a fair and ethical manner

  • Bad ethics can lead to bad business results



U.S. Justice Department sentencing guidelines suggest more lenient treatment for convicted executives if their companies had ethics programs

  • U.S. Justice Department sentencing guidelines suggest more lenient treatment for convicted executives if their companies had ethics programs

  • Fines for criminal violations can be lowered by up to 80 percent if the organization has implemented an ethics management program and cooperates with authorities



Public reputation of company strongly influences

  • Public reputation of company strongly influences

    • Value of its stock
    • How consumers regard products and services
    • Degree of oversight received from government agencies
    • Amount of support and cooperation received from business partners


Risks of unethical behavior are increasing

  • Risks of unethical behavior are increasing

  • Improvement of business ethics is becoming more important



Corporate ethics definition includes

  • Corporate ethics definition includes

    • Ethical conduct
    • Legal compliance
    • Corporate social responsibility
  • Corporate ethics officer

    • Is a senior-level manager
    • Provides vision and direction in the area of business conduct
    • Tries to establish an environment that encourages ethical decision making


Responsibilities include:

  • Responsibilities include:

    • Complete oversight of the ethics function
    • Collecting and analyzing data
    • Developing and interpreting ethics policy
    • Developing and administering ethics education and training
    • Overseeing ethics investigations


Board responsible for supervising management team

  • Board responsible for supervising management team

  • Directors of company are expected to

    • Conduct themselves according to the highest standards of personal and professional integrity
    • Set standard for company-wide ethical conduct
    • Ensure compliance with laws and regulations


Code of ethics:

  • Code of ethics:

    • Highlights an organization’s key ethical issues
    • Identifies overarching values and principles important to an organization
    • Focuses employees on areas of ethical risk
    • Cannot gain company-wide acceptance unless
      • Developed with employee participation
      • Fully endorsed by organization’s leadership
    • Must continually be applied to company’s decision making




Social audit

  • Social audit

    • Identifies ethical lapses committed in the past
    • Sets directives for avoiding similar missteps in the future


Comprehensive ethics education program encourages employees to act responsibly and ethically

  • Comprehensive ethics education program encourages employees to act responsibly and ethically

    • Often presented in small workshop formats
  • Principle-based decision making is based on principles in corporate code of ethics



Some companies base a portion of employee performance evaluations on:

  • Some companies base a portion of employee performance evaluations on:

    • Treating others fairly and with respect
    • Operating effectively in a multicultural environment
    • Accepting personal accountability
    • Continually developing themselves and others
    • Operating openly and honestly with suppliers, customers, and other employees


Operating ethically does not always guarantee business success

  • Operating ethically does not always guarantee business success

  • Organizations that operate outside the United States

    • Deal with a “business as usual” climate
    • Are placed at a significant competitive disadvantage
  • Hope good ethics will prove to be good business in the long term



Good employees sometimes make bad ethical choices

  • Good employees sometimes make bad ethical choices

  • May be encouraged to do “whatever it takes” to get the job done

  • Employees must have a knowledgeable and potent resource available to discuss perceived unethical practices









Get the facts

  • Get the facts

  • Identify stakeholders and their positions

  • Consider the consequences of a decision

  • Weigh various guidelines and principles

  • Develop and evaluate options

  • Review a decision

  • Evaluate the results of a decision





Public concern about the ethical use of information technology includes:

  • Public concern about the ethical use of information technology includes:

    • E-mail and Internet access monitoring
    • Peer-to-peer networks violation of copyright
    • Unsolicited e-mail
    • Hackers and identify theft
    • Plagiarism
    • Cookies and spyware


The general public has not realized the critical importance of ethics as applied to IT

  • The general public has not realized the critical importance of ethics as applied to IT

  • Important technical decisions are often left to technical experts

  • General business managers must assume greater responsibility for these decisions

  • They must be able to make broad-minded, objective, ethical decisions based on technical savvy, business know-how, and a sense of ethics

  • They must also try to create a working environment in which ethical dilemmas can be discussed openly, objectively, and constructively



Chapter 2

  • Chapter 2

    • Ethics is important to IT professionals and IT users
  • Chapter 3

    • Computer crime
  • Chapter 4

    • Personal data privacy
    • Employee monitoring


Chapter 5

  • Chapter 5

    • Internet communications
    • Freedom of expression
  • Chapter 6

    • Protection of intellectual property rights through patents, copyrights, and trade secrets
  • Chapter 7

    • Software development process


Chapter 8

  • Chapter 8

    • Use of nontraditional employees
    • Implications of whistle-blowing
  • Chapter 9

    • Impact of IT on society


Ethics is a set of beliefs about right and wrong behavior

  • Ethics is a set of beliefs about right and wrong behavior

  • Ethics in business is becoming more important because the risks associated with inappropriate behavior have grown

  • Corporations want to protect themselves and their employees from legal action



7-step approach to ethical decision making

  • 7-step approach to ethical decision making

  • Trends contributing to the risk of using information technology unethically include:

    • Growth of the Internet
    • Ability to capture and store vast amounts of personal data online
    • Greater reliance on information systems


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