MN501 Network Management in Organisations, Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia
Ethical issues arising from use of ICT technologies
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Introduction to the case scenario: Decision making is an essential skill necessary for the contemporary leaders and managers in the organization. Just rationale and analytical reasoning and skills may contribute to an effective decision making upto some extent, however there is need for a more comprehensive consideration to the human relations, ethics and other organizational values and cultural norms in taking up a decision to align with the organization values and goals. Knowledge of ethical principles will provide directives to the managers in the occasions of ethical dilemmas. They will enable managers to take up right decision in the right interests of the organization as well in the right interest of all the related stakeholders in general. The roots for taking up ethical decisions and actions should be cultivated much ahead in life. As rightly said by Kizza (2010), formal education should include some orientation to take up ethical decisions in life particularly considering information technology and related operations.
Question: Why is it so difficult to make an ethical decision in today's technologically driven society?
Answer: Ethical values and codes: Ethics in actions are related with underlying principles guiding the actions. Classical principles of utilitarianism include directives to take up actions only with consideration to the consequentialism. This mean that the consequences of the actions need to be considered attention to, considering the implications of the actions and their ultimate effects should provide a criteria and directive to either take up that action or not (Joy, 2019). The main objective of the ethical theory is to promote greatest good to the greatest number of people. Deontological ethics are other ethical considerations that dictate one to take up actions in accordance with the duties and responsibilities of the profession. Rather than consequences the duties and responsibilities are of more concern. In any case, incorporating these classical ethical principles and moral standards required, ICT in the contemporary world has proposed with a set of code of conduct and moral standards for enforcing in information technology for professionals. Code of ethics in ICT will direct professionals to move ahead with integrity, professionalism, fair conduct etc (Barbour et al., 1993).
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Ethical Issues: However still the basic question still remains open that the information technology is very open to people. Not just professionals but variety of amateurs, housewives, students and children all can access the information technology resources and can use them for variety of applications with ease. When there is ethical question related with the usage of weapons arise, it can be confined only to those people who do have access to the guns and hence the problem is confined relatively small volume of people when compared with the IT. Also when it is related with the usage of drugs, the problem is with the people who do have access to the drugs, which normally will be limited. However Information technology is very vast and large numbers of people do have access to the resources of Information Technology and there is much to do with the possible misuse of the access. When compared with the traditional sources of communication, Information technology is offering wide access to the people and organizations. So the problem is constraining the unethical behaviour in the users, which is a Hercules task. The foundation to the problem lies in educating the people who are using information technology. Apart from certified Information technology professionals there is no any way for the association of the information technology or other related organizations to meet and communicate with each and every stakeholder using information technology resources. Hence it is inevitable to take up another mode of communication with the stakeholders to communicate about what is right and what is not right on the internet?
Formal schooling and educational institutions should sow the seeds of ethical behaviour along with safety precautions at the early stages of teaching information technology. As long as there is no such dedicated system to enlighten the children with the right usage of technology, it is very difficult to enforce ethical usage of technology. As of now there is no such recognition of the need for enlightening the children and students at the early stage about the ethical usage and safe usage of technology. So the problem is persisting and of course more and more educational organizations are cultivating a practice of teaching right behaviour online to the students, which is a welcome change(Kreie & Cronan,2000).
Discussion and Findings: The key issues in the entire problem are the knowledge levels and maturity of the users. Apart from few professionally qualified and knowledge professionals, children, students etc do not have formal orientation to the ethical usage of technology as well they do not have the sufficient maturity to safe guard themselves. At the same time, the discretionary powers of the children are limited and it is responsibility of the parents and the teachers in the society to keep them on the right track. Children minds are sensitive and tenders, they need to be molded in the right shape, only then it is possible to expect the right actions from them.
It is difficult to implement ethics in the information technology due to the reason that all the stakeholders do have access to the directives equally. Some of the stakeholders like children do not know what is right and what is wrong? As access to the technology is growing tremendously, the scope and possibility to misuse the same also growing. Another important aspect is the technology growth rate and access to the destructive resources at ease. When there is access to the latest viruses and worms online there are more chances of temptation to employ the same. The same has happened in the case of Tennessee school. Also the technology advances has enabled access to variety of disruptive resources like never before. Also the value systems of the peoples are corroding, changed social cultures and opportunities available for people making them difficult to stick to the ethics and values.
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Conclusion: To summarize, it can be said that the ethical actions enforcement is very much needed in Information technology domain. However still due to lack of communications channels with all the stakeholders using the technology, due to diverse stakeholders using the technology, due to variation in the knowledge and enlightment levels of the people, due to tremendous growth rate of development and disruptive factors and ease in access, the enforcement of ethical behaviour has become very much difficult. This is not due to the change in the attitudes, rather the limitations in the system in the technological domain and uncontrolled access and usage features; it has become difficult to enforce ethical decisions. Collectively all these aspects making it difficult to take up an ethical decision in the technology domain.
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