2Ethical BehaviourEthics deals with good, right and just behaviour as well as evil, wrong and unjust behaviour. It is important because it can affect a stakeholder’s ability to achieve his/her goalsA person’s behaviour at a moment of truth to reflect on ethical issues lies in the domain:a. Praise-worthy – when person makes exceptional effort to help a stakeholder reach his/her goals and foster that person’s humanity e.g. Al Ross, research scientist at Uni of Washington, who developed a portable, microprocessor-based communication system to enable physically disabled persons, esp. suffering from celebral palsy, to “talk” to the world
3b. Normal behaviour – behaviour consistent with norms of society (part of an unwritten agreement between its members to behave with reciprocal responsibility in relationships with one another)c. Unethical behaviour – an act that causes a stakeholder to be killed, maimed, insulted, embarrassed, compromised, etc.Ethical thinking helps us compare “what is” with “what ought to be”, apply ethical principles and make an ethical choice that resolves the ethical issue
44.1.2 Analysis of Denise’s Case Read the case and discuss in groups in 15 minutesIdentify the moments of truth at which decisions with ethical implications were madeIdentify the ethical problems associated with the decisions at the moments of truthSuggest how these issues could be solved if this situation arose in Kenya
5What were the key Moments of Truth? Toll Booth Authority’s decision to implement a system that collected transaction dataTBA’s decision to sell data to Hartford HondaHonda’s decision to use data to embark on a targeted marketing programWhat ethical problems did above decisions pose?Privacy. Denise uninformed about additional use of data about her – the info giver’s consent was not solicited
6Info practices - Denise did not know the information that was held of her. In addition, the info. taker used the info for purposes other than those for which it was originally collected – violating the social contract between the 2N.B. Introducing ICT into a social system changes the social relationships between its members and thereby affects the social contract – sometimes posing ethical problems. This is related to shareability of info – increasing potential of affecting some givers or stakeholders
7How can we solve the problem in Kenya? Having a legally binding contract on keeping the data confidentialDeveloping systems that are less intrusiveLegal provisions for privacy of data – to facilitate prosecution
84.1.3 Types of Ethical Issues 1. TemptationsAt a moment of truth, person knows morally right and wrong but tempted to choose morally wrong e.g. copying videosTemptation test: When faced with temptation, ask yourself: “If I took the same course of action over and over again, would it still be acceptable?” A test called slippery slope ruleEthical advice: “Once you start sliding down the slippery slope, you may not be able to stop. So don’t start”Information temptations in the info age are prevalent3 main motivations for acquiring info: fear, greed & curiosityMost societies not developed ethical mechanisms for curbing info temptations as we have for use of money, force, etc.Challenge: identify info temptations and develop ethical mechanisms to deal with them e.g. codes of ethics
92. Ethical QuandariesOccurs whenever an agent faces a moral bind between competing goods and competing evilsNot dilemma – is choice between 2 equally unwelcome alternatives; a special case of a quandariesEssence of quandary is captured by US expression: “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, damned all around”Was Abraham’s situation (commanded by the Lord to sacrifice his son) a quandary?You are CEO and head of ICT has presented a business case of implementing EIS that would address pressing problems of high operational costs but would result in laying off many middle managers. You are close to them and their families. You know that most might not be able to find jobs. At the same time, if the system is not installed, there might be no jobs for anyone? What would you do?
10Solution: examine all facts of case & apply moral principles to make reasoned and principled decision3. CriticismThis involves taking proactive actions (initiative) on non-pressing issues but that may have unethical behavioural consequences e.g.How can an organization be structured so that confidential information is safeguarded?What laws are required to ensure an individual’s privacy is protected?Answering these questions requires ethical thinking and the taking of proactive actionSolution involves:Evaluation of situationJudging its ethical merits and faultsSuggesting means for improvement
114. Professional Self-Regulation Basis: every person in info society is also responsible for his or her fellow info person’s behaviourI.e. “bad apples” must be eliminated; unethical performance confronted and regulatedPolicing and disciplining others is unpleasant but it is a vital one in an ethical societySelf-regulation therefore involves each member of society taking the responsibility to police and take actions aimed at disciplining others with unethical behaviour. Aim is to create an ethical society without using formal systems of policing and punishment
124.1.4 Considerations in Resolving Ethical Issues When faced with temptation, quandary, etc at a moment of truth, start a dialogue with yourself, including others as required6 considerations to be taken into account when resolving an ethical issue:1. What are the facts?To establish the morally relevant considerations or “what is”. This requires:i) scoping of the pertinent info field, understanding info life cycles involved and identification of key decision-making processes at work
13ii) identifying all key agents (info givers, takers, gatekeepers), and relevant acts, results and stakeholdersiii) understanding agents and stakeholders values and motivations + their personal, social and physical history2. What ethical principles & stds should be applied?This is to get “what ought to be”Involves applying relevant ethical considerations (ethical theories and principles) on the facts derived from 1. above
143. Who should decide?OR who should take the necessary actions to bring about what ought to be? This requires:i) Participation of all relevant parties in resolving the issue. The following questions point to a solution:Would I be comfortable if my contemplated action or behaviour is subjected to public debate?Would I tell my friend, mother, father, boss, spouse, etc?Would the man/woman I respect, admire, etc be happy with my contemplated decision or action?What will future generations think of my actions?From questions above, relevant parties do not have to be physically present or even alive! They only need to be heard via internal dialogue
154. Who should benefit from the decision? ii) Address issues of sovereignty, legitimacy and the ability to effect a resolutionThis requires involving in the decision-making process those parties with:the duty or responsibility to deal with the issuethe resources required to resolve the issue4. Who should benefit from the decision?Involves balancing the interests of the key stakeholders.The following questions indicate the type of balancing required:Whose values should predominate?Who has the strongest claims?To whom do we have the most compelling responsibilities?What are the long-run considerations?
165. How should the decisions be made? Ethical decision-making also requires due process and due respectDue ProcessMeans process must be fair & follow established procedures. Process may be as important as decision itselfProcedures identify parties with authority to comment, examine procedures, recommend courses of action, decide or veto decisionsDue RespectRespect comes from style and integrity of decision-makersDR requires that dignity of all parties be honoured, preserved & negative effects minimized. This calls for discretion, foresight, patience & even love
176. How to prevent issues from re-occuring All decisions become part of a society’s historical transcriptWhen resolving issue at a MOT, ask yourself ?s:Will the proposed solution generate even worse problems in the future?What sort of precedence is being set?Do we need to restructure our institution to keep this issue from occurring again?Do we need procedures that will make it possible to deal with this kind of issue more effectively in future?In summary, ask the following questions:What course of action will put us in best position for future?What kind of social transcript do we want to write?
18Key Points6 considerations require ethical decision maker to go beyond just the presenting ethical issue e.g. additional voices, procedures, looking into future, etc.Considerations apply to individual, organizational and societal levels. E.g. an ethical issue confronting an individual will often have wider societal implicationsE.g. changing grades by a student -got info via curiosity:Student may be punished (e.g. expulsion) because of the actionUoN community (deans, students, lecturers) may loose faith in the SMS, resulting in non-use & even worse (efficiency-wise) manual systems. In turn, may have other implications for mgntPublic may loose faith in management of public universities and university education in general
19SummaryEthical thinking requires systematic ethical issue and determining whether an agent’s actual or contemplated behaviour is ethical or unethical (NOT nonethical)Corrective vision approach (compare what is and what ought to be) essential in info society because:Agent with most power not always correctInstitutions that society has created are not ethically pure or perfectThere are times when we as responsible citizens have to point out what we believe to be unethical, irrespective of who the perpetrators are4 tensions (ethical issues) exist at a MOT, which require an ability to think through the ethical issues they raise – thus the 6 considerations
204.1.5 Ethical Theories Ethical theories are used: Theories centre on: to interpret facts of an ethical issue (what is)to indicate what ought to beTheories centre on:Agent e.g. moral theory, virtue, egoism, etc.ActionResults or consequences of actionsJustice (is result fair or just?)Ethical theories are as old as man and are in constant change as societies change – aim is to create an ideal society (moral, just, etc.)
21E.g. 1: Deontological ethical theories: Centre on actions taken by people and the duties, rights, privileges, or responsibilities that pertain to those actions. In deontological reasoning, a person is supposed to follow rules, e.g. the Ten Commandments, Company Code of Ethics, etc.Allow there to be a logically accepted “good” act argued from first principles of basic moralityE.g. 2: Teleological or utilitarian ethical theories:Concerned primarily with the social effects of behaviourEthical behaviour is that which maximizes the overall benefit to society. Current behaviour is thus not determined from first principles but from anticipated and estimated overall effects. I.e. “the end justifies the means” viewpoint. However, the nature of that end must be ascertained.
22But, does the Kenyan society acknowledge the above rights? Whether deontological or teleological theories, there is need to determine what are the agreed principles of right and wrong or the adjusted good effectsEthical theories based on a sense of rights may recognize five basic rights:the right to free consentthe right to privacythe right to freedom of consiencethe right to free speechthe right to due processBut, does the Kenyan society acknowledge the above rights?Perhaps it is high time we participated in the on-going constitution review process!!
234.1.6 ICT Issues that Pose Ethical Dilemmas PrivacyICT may pose questions regarding disclosures about a person and their interactions e.g. security systemThe common good may push towards using ICT to uncover socially damaging situations (e.g. pattern in data stores that indicate criminal activities) while the individual good may push against such useHow do you resolve the two conflicts of privacy and accessibility? We shall discuss more in section 6 on ICT and the Law
24AccuracyICT may pose questions wrt achieving informational accuracy and redress from inaccuracyDecision making on the basis of stored data may facilitate speed of action (potentially “good”) at the expense of occasional errorsEach error, however rare, represents a potential for individual wrong (e.g. erroneous credit authorization) or a social damage (e.g. high phone bill because of errors in billing software, leading to disconnection and associated social damage)
25PropertyICT may pose questions wrt ownership of information and its communication channelsIs ICT an ownable asset (as in patents) or a social commitment (as in health care)?Organizations’ MIS store data and info about their interactions with others e.g. customers, suppliers, employees, etc. Who has the rights of ownership and how can communal ownership be mediated in a morally just way?Other examples of communal ownership include the Internet, public communication links e.g. Kenstream and Jambonet links
26AccessICT may pose questions wrt information and technological capabilityExploitation of ICT capability may disenfranchise one organizational group whilst at the same time strengthening another (esp. those who are more knowledgeable on ICT)Should ICT literacy then be a fundamental requirement or even a right? If yes, to what extent should society have rights to “free” ICT training and access?These dilemmas suggest the need for an ICT code of conduct