Professional And Ethical Issues In Information Systems Information Technology Essay

Over the course of this analytical essay, we will be investigating a situation faced by a supplier after winning a contract to build and deliver a new system to a government-linked company. In fact they have almost completed the promised criteria before they faced a situation where the ethical issues, social issues and legal issues were tested in a real world situation. The project has given access to information loosely and certain managers have concerns on it. Chief Development Officer is now in a situation where his/her understanding of ethical, social and legal factors related to information systems will come into test. Despite being tested there is every possibility that this project can be completed on a positive note.

When developing an information system it is important that we understand it is not only a process of providing solutions for business issues. It is also about protecting the business and adding value to the organisation. Hence use of good ethical, social and legal inputs in a development is critical.

Ethics is an essential element of business because what you do should not harm others involved with you. “Ethic is something you feel, not something you think (John Hooker)”.If you are a disciplined professional by nature then you practice ethics better. Some learns to handle ethics from an academy, at work or through philosophies and religions. “Ethics remains extremely important in governing behavior so that society can continue to function, it must be remembered that there is not always one clear definition of ethics or what is ethical” (Christy Rakoczy). When referring to ethics I would rather recommend using ethical principle ‘X’ which is about respecting others, fair treatment, keeping your word and what we generally refer as good business practices for the benefit of both parties.

So within the context of designing an application, developers of the application or information system should remember to protect the client and their existence form every possible direction when designing the system because as a project manager this assessment is just another project for you but for the organization it means more than a service. It’s their future that you are designing today. It’s there information you have taken care of. What you do today affects your future the same way. If you develop a lucrative information system today then you will be recommended to another tomorrow. This is why it is important to choose a fair ethical theory. I wouldn’t recommend using deontological theory which doesn’t refer much to the consequences of the actions but I do recommend consequentiality since the theory looks at a wider scope and refers to consequences of actions undertaken.

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With reference to the case study, the system development team has done a near perfect project with most requirements met with hard work and commitment. What they have to do now is to make the organization’s information more secure by limiting access to this information or by having better control over the users. Not having this information system is not an option. Organizations develop improved information systems with the intention retrieving efficient, accurate and effective information to gain competitive advantage over industrial rivals to improve the existing market position. If they don’t undergo this system development they simply will not be unable to improve information management practices and survive competition. I would rather recommend offering users to register and fill information to a database so that two things will happen in one move. Firstly if you are really interested in accessing information then you will register, use a login and receive information but if you are not interested then you will exit without accessing information. Secondly when you register users you know which user logged at what time and access what information. That way you have better control over the users. After all information systems have its limits. It cannot stop people accessing information because the users are legally permitted to access information. It can only limit the access rates and reduce information being exposed. There is no assurance beyond that. This is why technology is at times considered as a vulnerable element.

“Social issues are matters that can be explained only by factors outside an individual’s control and immediate social environment which affect many individuals in a society (Yahoo)”. Since this system is developed for a government-linked company we can expect or there could be a possibility of political involvement on monitoring the effectiveness of the system. Hence this system should not damage or have a negative impact on social aspects.

With reference to the case study few managers had issues regarding the easy access to information. This highlights another cultural aspect of the whole process and that is the fear of technology and resistance of change. Modern day’s managers are extremely knowledgeable and innovative. You will still find the odd one feared of technology. May be there are too many in this organization to have great concerns over information.

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Case Study clearly indicated the legal concern surrounding this system development. It says if an outside party requests to access information they will have to supply the requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Furthermore, they are concerned about securing the information as much as they could, mean that they feel this information belongs to them and no one else. So they claim ownership and they also have given this project by trusting the development team. Then there are trust and ownership issues surrounding this case study.

“Some philosophers have speculated that human beings have a natural urge to organize their environments (Joe Mackall)”The method designed to gather data systematically and process into information is best defined as an information system. This includes assistance given by physical elements such as hardware, intangible element such as software, networks, databases, data distribution channels and reporting of information. These systems are usually designed to increase efficiency, accuracy and effectiveness of the entire organization or specified processes. There are limitations in what technology can do. They can increase accuracy levels but does not guarantee accuracy because of human involvement. It can improve efficiency and effectiveness but there is still room for improvement since you can never satisfy human needs and wants. Even within the context of the case study the development team should understand this fact and should also be explained in a professional manner to the client to avoid miscommunication. Else in the next presentation they might have to do even more changes and include more features because of ever growing needs and wants of the users.

So the major facts we can use to conclude terms is to understand that it is a fresh company who has won the contract to build a system for a government-linked organization and they have added a high proportion of hard work into designing the proposed information system. There job is near perfect but there were some concerns over too easy access to information and some of the management didn’t fancy that idea. So the chief development officer was asked to do necessary changes to accommodated managerial needs. The development team will now have to find a way of protecting information better than this system currently offer. Considering the inputs already given to this project, it is not an option to not have this information system. Having information systems will give the added competitive advantage by offering greater accuracy, efficiency and effectiveness to the organization functionality.

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Now the development team will have to use good ethics in a practical environment to protect harming the client in any means or ways because good use of ethics are an essential element of system development and information management within today’s competitive industries. Also needs to protect this system effecting social values and practices since social factors are such critical for any organisation, especially this company being a government-link organisation. In information systems development, legal factors need to be taken into serious consideration since there are acts such as ‘Freedom of Information Act’. Also a vital element to consider is the trust and ownership aspects of information which has tempted management to protect information as much as they could since information is the power of the organisation. Without information and communication organisations do not survive.

Developing a system is not just taking responsibility of developing a new element or making advancements to an existing element. It is also about protecting the existing business operations while making changes. Due to this fact the developers need to understand that the organisation has given them more than a contract and it has practically given its future to system developers. Living in the information age and with rapid globalization in place the desire to have quality information has become a must. Should the developers complete proposed changes they can successfully complete their maiden deal and at the same time they will learn the importance of ethical, social and legal issues surrounding there nature of work in practice.

I would like to recommend the development team to enforce the users to register them self before giving access to information. Because once registered, the organisation will have relevant details of the person accessing information with the IP address recorded to see from where the user has accessed information. Furthermore if the users are seriously in need of that information only, they will take time to register themselves. This means you are restricting access of users who are not interested in registering with your system also. It is not illegal to make the above changes to the system either. It also protects your information to a great extent. It has to be understood that unlike most professionals information systems professionals too have limitations and boundaries. The developers who can explain these situations to the clients in a professional manner are the successful information systems professional.

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