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Ethics in Technology

November 3rd, 2014
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Warning, today is a bit of a rant. I had an email and chat exchange with a friend that wasn’t treated well recently and felt compelled to ramble.

Ethics is extremely important in business as it is the foundation of relationships. Ethics in the IT business is especially important as members of the Technology team(s) are responsible for representing IT to the wider business. Through the relationships IT builds with the business it is able to better understand the needs of the business itself and can develop real value through the strategic use of IT, using the collective smarts (IP) of the team. The Technology teams inside an organisation supports the business’ strategy, balances the wider strategic needs of the organisation and business units with the explicit needs of IT and IT strategies. Unethical behaviour can destroy this.

Let me be clear, when I say unethical I mean behaviour that isn’t:

  • Honest;
  • Courteous;
  • Done with Integrity;
  • Performed Efficiently; and
  • Respectful of Property

Our individual actions ultimately reflect our ethical beliefs.When we are in a position of authority these also shape the way those around us operate.

The consequences of unethical behaviour in our IT teams is that it breaks the relationships, both internal to the team and the external ones to the organisation. This can cause team-members to become disconnected and jaded, holding back the IP that could make a difference between completing that aggressive project on time, creating that innovative new product or demoralise the wider team around them. The greater flow on affect is that IT will become disconnected from the business (again) and relegating it to that group that just cost a lot of money and doesn’t deliver anything.

It is easy to be dismissive in the heat of corporate action, but let’s face it, for the most part corporate IT is not life and death. Take the extra minute to think about the repercussions of the decisions you make and the actions you take, it may mean the ultimate success or failure for the perception of IT in the business.

/rant.

OK I think I’m prepared for that Ethics section in today’s exam!