Thursday, January 3, 2013

Research on Code of Ethics

Harrington (1996) studies the affect of codes of ethics on computer abuse judgments and intentions of information systems employees. When studying the codes of ethics, Harrington (1996) investigates both the company and information system’s codes of ethics. Her research fills the literature gap that calls for more research in the area of effectiveness with codes of ethics. Many studies discuss the controversial topic of ethics and personality traits affecting ethics. She states that codes are assumed to have an impact on the decision making processes of employees, but empirical investigations on information system personnel is scarce. Additionally, she points out that the generic company codes of ethics do not specifically address information system (IS) personnel.

Harrington (1996) surveyed over 200 IS employees in nine organizations on the topics of cracking, illegal software copying, sabotaging competitor’s security, spreading viruses, and fraud using vignettes and questionnaires. The vignettes offered a less intimidating method of responding to the sensitive topics. The study’s objective involved discovering the intentions of the employees when placed in specific circumstances. The five point Likert scale determined the intention score and the presumed ethicality. Also a factor analysis checked the validity of the results through the use of varimax rotation of all the statements.

Through an ANOVA analysis, Harrington (1996) discovered that generic codes of ethics have little direct affect on computer abuse judgments. Similarly, specific IS codes of ethics had little direct relationships on computer abuse. Additionally, the research showed little differential measurement error in the independent variable across levels of the moderator which is a situation that could cause bias. Finally, the research also shows that the code of ethics has little effect on sabotage and fraud. Harrington (1996) concluded that supervisors must take a multifaceted approach to preventing computer abuse and not to rely solely on the codes of ethics.

Reference
Harrington, S. J.(1996). The effect of codes of ethics and personal denial of responsibility on computer abuse judgments and intentions. MIS Quarterly, 20(3), 257-278.Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/218135304?accountid=26967

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