, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 431-437

A question of ethics: Developing information system ethics

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Abstract

This study develops a pedagogy for the teaching of ethical principles in information systems (IS) classes, and reports on an empirical study that supports the efficacy of the approach. The proposed pedagogy involves having management information systems professors lead questioning and discussion on a list of ethical issues as part of their existing IS courses. The rationale for this pedagogy involves (1) the maturational aspects of ethics, and (2) the importance of repetition, challenge, and practice in developing a personal set of ethics. A study of IS ethics using a pre-post test design found that classes receiving such treatment significantly improved their performance on an IS ethics questionnaire.

It appears to me that in Ethics, as in all other philosophical studies, the difficulties ... are mainly due to ... the attempt to answer questions, without first discovering precisely what question it is which you desire to answer.
George Edward Moore, Principia Ethica [1903], preface.
Eli Cohen is an associate professor of Management Information Systems at Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois. He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University and holds CDP, CCP, CSP and CDE certificates. He is also Midwest Editor for Government Technology Magazine.
Larry Cornwell is professor of Business Management and Administration at Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois. He is the recipient of the 1988 Midwest Grain Teaching Award and has extensive consulting experience to industry. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri at Rolla. He has numerous publications in statistics, mathematical programming, computer science and information systems.