IDEGOV Project “IDEntification and GOVernance of emerging ethical issues in information systems” Theoretical ground Ethics Governance Recommendations

Kutoma Wakunuma Masclet Laurence Bernd Stahl Goujon Philippe Sara Wilford

Research output: Book/Report/JournalOther report

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This document presents research results on identification and governance of emerging ethical issues in information systems (IS). It gives a theoretical background which covers the grid of analysis used to determine the parameters by which the project analysed the interviews that informed the bulk of the findings presented. The document proceeds to touch on ethical theories and related hypotheses including the determination of the limits of existing ethical approaches. Following this is coverage of the data collection which includes the research approach that was planned. With this the document gives an overview of the research approach used to realise the results, these being a) survey questionnaires and b) in-depth interviews administered to Information Systems professionals and practitioners from across the globe. Questions used in both the questionnaires and interviews are given which mainly focus on perceptions and experiences of IS practitioners. The document covers the parameters of analysis used in the analysis of the findings. The parameters were used as a basis from which questions for the online survey questionnaire and in-depth interviews were constructed. These include technical contextualisation’s in order to determine the current and emerging technologies in the field of IS, Ethical issue identification and specification, which was used to determine how ethical issues were determined among IS practitioners both in current and future ethical issues. In addition, the Ethical Approach parameter was also employed as a way of understanding the practitioner’s ethical approaches, if any, to the use of both current and emerging technologies.

Reflexivity was also an important parameter because it availed the researcher’s insight into when and at what stage(s) IS practitioners stand back and reflect on their actions as they do their work in order to determine whether they are doing it ethically or not. And if not, whether the measures they take to improve ethical concerns were sound and effective. Governance arrangements, the structures within which ethical issues are dealt with were also core parameters in the analysis. The final parameter was that of Implementation. This applied to the analysis of ethical actions and principles within the field of IS. It consisted of understanding what ethical actions were being implemented, by whom and at what levels. Bearing the aforementioned parameters in mind, some of the research results include the impact of current technologies on the individual, on culture and on organizations.

Also covered are the associated ethical issues of current technologies which encompass trust, social exclusion, privacy and surveillance, (un)freedom, misuse of technology and concern from the disgruntled among others. The document also lists identified emerging technologies which was mainly cloud computing as identified by the practitioners. This is then followed by an examination of associated ethical issues like loss of jobs, greater surveillance, security concerns as well as consideration of how issues can and should be addressed between different nation states when technology like cloud computing is hosted in one country but has clients in different countries.

An overview of the proposed solutions to address ethical concerns are also discussed, which included but were not limited to codes of conduct, technical solutions and education. This document has also identified ethical governance arrangements which identifies the governance policies IS organizations have in place, implementation of the governance policies and the practices engaged. In addition, the document gives a descriptive analysis of perceptions of emerging ethical issues from the stand point of IS practitioner views by:
• geographical location
• age
• field of expertise/industry
• gender
This is intended to show whether there are similarities or differences in these areas which may suggest patterns in relation to current and emerging technologies and associated ethical concerns. Lastly, the document lists recommendations for IS practitioners, policy makers and other parties who might find them useful.

Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyFondation CIGREF
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2013

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