APCO 1P50 Wednesday October 10, 2012
Ethics for IT Workers and IT Users
What key characteristics distinguish a professional from other kinds of workers, and is an IT worker
considered a professional?
o there are in some provinces attempts to license professional software engineers.
What factors are transforming the professional services industry?
What relationships must an IT worker manage, and what key ethical issues can arise in each?
How do codes of ethics, professional organizations, certification, and licensing affect the ethical
behaviour of IT professionals?
What is meant by compliance, and how does it help promote the right behaviours and discourage
Profession is a calling that requires specialized knowledge + long and intensive academic preparation.
Professionals require advanced training and experience
Must exercise discretion and judgment in their work
Their work cannot be standardized
Contribute to society, participate in lifelong training, assist other professionals
Carry special rights and responsibilities
IT workers as professionals
Programmers, system analysts, software engineers, database admins, LAN admins, chief information
Legally IT workers aren’t professional – not licenses or governed, not liable for malpractice
The Changing Professional Services Industry
IT workers are considered part of the professional services industry.
Seven forces are changing professional services:
1. Client sophistication (able to drive hard bargains)
2. Governance (due to major scandals)
3. Connectivity (instant communication)
4. Transparency (view work-in-progress in real-time
5. Modularization (able to outsource modules)
6. Globalization (worldwide sourcing)
7. Commoditization (for low-end services)
Relationships Between IT Workers and Employers
IT workers agree on many aspects of work relationship before workers accept job offer
Other aspects of work relationship defined in company’s policy and procedure manual or code of
conduct, some aspects develop over time
As steward of organization’s IT resources, IT workers must set an example and enforce
policies regarding the ethical use of IT in:
o Act of illegally making copies of software or enabling access to software to which they are not
entitled APCO 1P50 Wednesday October 10, 2012
o Area in which IT workers can be tempted to violate laws and policies
o The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a trade group representing the world’s largest software
and hardware manufacturers; mission is to stop the unauthorized copying of software.
o Thousands of cases prosecuted each year
IT workers must set an example and enforce policies regarding the ethical use of IT in:
o Trade secrets – e.g. Coca Cola recipe
Business information generally unknown to public
Company takes actions to keep confidential
Require cost or effort to develop
Have some degree of uniqueness or novelty
IT workers may come across this in their everyday work.
Employee attracts attention to a negligent, illegal, unethical, abusive, or dangerous act
that threatens the public interests.
Ethical problems arise if a company recommends its own products and services to remedy problems
they have detected
o Creates conflict of interest
Problems arise during a project if IT workers are unable to provide a full and accurate reporting of
Function Creep – add-ons that add to more and more functionality which leads to cost overruns
o Finger pointing and heated discussions can ensue, e.g. cost overruns.