Original Paper

Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 17-26

First online:

An ethical framework in information systems decision making using normative theories of business ethics

  • Utpal BoseAffiliated withFinance, Accounting, and Computer Information Systems Department, University of Houston Downtown Email author 

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As business environments become more complex and reliant on information systems, the decisions made by managers affect a growing number of stakeholders. This paper proposes a framework based on the application of normative theories in business ethics to facilitate the evaluation of IS related ethical dilemmas and arrive at fair and consistent decisions. The framework is applied in the context of an information privacy dilemma to demonstrate the decision making process. The ethical dilemma is analyzed using each one of the three normative theories—the stockholder theory, stakeholder theory, and social contract theory. The challenges associated with the application of these theories are also discussed.


Ethical decision making Normative theories of business ethics Information systems Information privacy