Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 17–26 | Cite as

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

Original Paper


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 



I thank Dr. Deepak Datta at the University of Texas at Arlington, USA for his assistance with editing the manuscript. I also extend my thanks to the reviewers, and specially reviewer #3 for the detailed comments that greatly helped in improving the clarity of the article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Finance, Accounting, and Computer Information Systems DepartmentUniversity of Houston DowntownHoustonUSA

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