The ethical decision-making processes of information systems workers

Journal of Business Ethics 10 (1):1 - 21 (1991)
Abstract
An empirical investigation was conducted to determine whether management information systems (MIS) majors, on average, exhibit ethical decision-making processes that differ from students in other functional business areas. The research also examined whether the existence of a computer-based information system in an ethical dilemma influences ethical desision-making processes. Although student subjects were used, the research instrument has been highly correlated with educational levels attained by adult subjects in similar studies. Thus, we feel that our results have a high likelihood of generalization to the MIS professional community. The results indicate that MIS majors exhibit more socially-oriented ethical decision-making processes than non-MIS majors measured by the Defining Issues Test. The results also indicate that the existence of a computer-based information system in an ethical dilemma may influence ethical decision-making processes. The study makes no statement regarding MIS majors making more (or less) ethical decisions. The business ethics literature is reviewed, details of the study are presented, implications for management are considered, and directions for future research are suggested.
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