Is There a Place for Ethics in IT?


The field of ethics is a very important one which can be viewed as universal in its applications and practice. However, many individuals do not believe that ethical practices are universally applicable in all areas of operation, and therefore, some of them end up associating more of their applications with certain sector and organizations especially those dealing with health care service and products provisions. Whether this is true or not, it depends on many factors including research, academic level and one’s background in the field of ethics among others, but many professionals absorbed in the area of ethics consents that ethical concepts and themes are not restricted to any particular entities such as functional industrial sectors, organizations / institutions or even individuals. With this revelation and understanding, it is overt that ethical practices are applied over the whole range of sectors and organizations including those organizations found in the newly established sector of information and technology. The most crucial part is the way of handling certain issues in any field to produce the best possible solution(s) (Reynolds, 2011). In this particular paper, we are going to reveal some of the ways CIO would utilize in handling ethical issues of privacy and piracy as explained in the different Schrage’s scenarios.

Ways of Handling Schrage’s scenarios by a CIO

During the handling of the different cases described by Schrage, there are diverse ways in which he could have done it. However, the many scenarios would have followed more or less the same procedures to arrive at a sound decision (Reynolds, 2011). For instance, in the case where Hewlett-Packard got its confidential leaked to the press through a hired outside investigators, the CIO should first have sent a clear statement highlighting that the company is losing crucial internal information to the public through unfamiliar means. After such a release, he would have gotten the problem discussed among the executives to identify the alternative ways of resolving the problem without escalating the effects of the problem. A part from carrying out investigative procedures, the CIO could have sort for alternatives, while emphasizing on the importance of maintaining the privacy of the organization on certain information, training and educating of the employees on the area of handling of organization’s communications and records.

The CIO would then assess the different mentioned alternatives based of diverse factors to find the feasibility of the method and its effects or impacts to the different individuals involved. The chosen method should have been the one that would resolve the problem without causing any further negative effects, both to the victims and the accomplices. Having chosen the method(s) to employ, the CIO would then oversee the implementation of the selected method which should be implemented in away that would demonstrate leadership skills and knowledge. To achieve this, he should make it known to the other leaders of the organization of the investigatory requirements and assure them of their privacy. The final stage is to use the result as intended without causing unintended consequences to the organizations and the individuals involved (Reynolds, 2011).

In a case where the company had lost its information for manufacturing of software, the managerial could have thought of implementing of a more advanced technology including use encryption techniques in the developing of the projects as well as inserting other security measures for stored data or information (Paparella and Simko, 2009)..

Short-term losses and long-term gains in the implementation of ethical solutions

The implementation of ethical solutions in any given ethical issue bears both long and short-term advantages and disadvantages. For the HP implementation of ethical solution, several short-term disadvantages were overt. Due to the covert investigations carried out by the organization, the revelation of personal private details would create a major negative impacts to the management of the organization. In case the victims of the investigations proceed to sue the organization, the organization will incur unnecessary additional costs of following the legal procedure. Time and fines for un-lawful disclosure of private information will be some of direct costs that will be incurred by either of the losers at the end of the case. A part from this, the company will have to run into operation and management difficulties due to arbitrary reassignment of human resources in the executive positions (Pfleeger and Pfleeger, 2006).

On the other hand, there are obvious long-term benefits gained from the implementation of these ethical solutions. There are numerous benefits accrued with the implementation of ethical solutions in an organization, and these affects the entire entities related to the particular organization. These include the delivery of quality services to the community, gaining of a reputable relationship between the organization and its society it serves and evading imposing of long term restraints from legal institutions among others.

Choosing between good ethics and financial benefits

Although it is known that almost all established organizations except a few, operate to make profits, it may be hard to separate choice for financial benefits with; profit-making organizations. Despite of the company’s set goals or mission for most organizations being to make profits, the organizations would not accomplish this core business aim without the integration and observation of its code of conducts and ethics. In brief, it is the code of ethics which acts as the uniting material of the various entities of the organization, and this enables it to run and operate effectively and efficiently to make profit, or in other words to have what is referred to as the financial benefits.


Paparella, M. and Simko, E. (2009). Current Topics in Technology. Boston: Course Technology.

Pfleeger, C. and Pfleeger, S. (2006). Security in Computing. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Reynolds, G. (2011). Ethics in Information Technology. New York: Course Technology.

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