Ethics, Professionalism and Governance computer science case analysis and discussion

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Question description

Case Study 5 – Use of Company Computers

Joseph is a security administrator for a company with 500 employees, this is an ongoing job (not a short contract) and he wishes to stay at this company for a long time. His manager gives him the task of providing weekly reports showing which web pages have been accessed by individual employees and flagging any websites that are questionable (such as pornography).

Joseph is aware that employees have not been asked to sign any agreement about which web page they visit while at work using work computers. He is also aware that employees may be penalised. PE_Assignment1_Set B - Jan 2017

Discuss briefly the ethical dilemma that this presents to Joseph outlining the potential outcomes if he provides the report. Show your utilisation of either Thomas White or Chris MacDonald's methodology to demonstrate how Joseph might analyse and resolve the dilemma. Provide a recommendation of what actions Joseph should take and how he should communicate his choices.

Include in your answer those clauses from the ACS code of Ethics and ACS code of Professional Conduct that are relevant and briefly explain why. Refer also to any relevant legislation again with an explanation of how it relates.

Assignment Task

From what you have learned during Week s 3 and 4 of your Professional Environments Course, discuss ethical, professional and legal issues which you consider arise from this scenario. Make some recommendations of actions which could be taken to resolve the situation and/or to minimise the chance the scenario may recur. Support your answers with relevant references (as well as the Codes and Laws).

Things to Consider in Your Assignment:

  •  You should list at least 3 values from the ACS Code of Ethics and up to 5 clauses from the ACS Code of Professional Conduct, you think are specifically relevant in deciding how to resolve the situation. Make sure that you refer to the most up to date ACS Codes which are available on the ACS website – www.acs.org.au.
  •  You should also list any relevant Australian legislation that you think applies to this scenario.
  •  Your analysis, discussion and recommendations should use the framework you selected in Week 3 – Solving an Ethical Dilemma.

Your assignment should be 400 -500 words in length (excluding your code lists, legislation list and references).

You may need to undertake a small amount of research, however, most information you will need is available via the seminars and their references. Also,

• use a cover page – as per the suggested template,

• use in‐text referencing,

• use complete Harvard Notation, submit in “Word” format or equivalent format that can be readily opened in MS Word, keep your formatting simple: Arial 11pt, 10pt after paragraph, single line spacing, headings in bold, maximum 2 indent levels/bullet levels. Do not use page borders, word art, page backgrounds or similar extraneous decoration

• Your uploaded file name should identify you as part of its name – e.g. PE_Assignment1_William_Smith.

Marking Guide

Marks will be awarded using the following guidelines.

• 15% meeting the procedural requirements, including, spelling, grammar, number of words, document formatting,

• 30% how logically and thoroughly you identified and described professional ,ethical and legal issues arising in the scenario,

• 30% how well you developed your recommendations and supported them with relevant, correct referencing,

• 20% how well you convinced the reader that you understood the issues,

• 5% did the material generate interest in the reader?

Week 3 Seminar Introduction This seminar is a comprehensive guide for your professional career on managing ethics and the issues involved with that as you prepare to start your journey as an ICT professional practitioner. The concepts in this week's seminar are closely tied to other important topics you will meet later on in the PE Course – such as Risk Management, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and sustainability issues – and are also vitally important for your first assignment which is due at the end of week 4. You might like to read the assignment 1 brief now before you continue with this seminar. This subject assumes that a mark of a professional is a desire to behave as ethically as possible at all times. Professionals need to deal with everyday events and problems where conflicts of interest make the ethically correct decision very difficult, or where the ethical content of the problem may not be immediately apparent. In more extreme cases the ethically correct choice of action is usually clear-cut through legislation or wide community standards. The opportunity to examine these problems in theory should help you resolve them ethically when they occur in practice. Case studies can also help you work out how to make ethical decisions. You will look at some case studies as part of your work this week. Finally, at the end of this seminar there are a number of additional readings which you may find useful if you are trying to understand specific ethical issues. Ethics and Professional Conduct First we need to explore ethics in a structured way, as well as what it asks of us personally and professionally. By way of introduction, view this YouTube by ACS past-President Phillip Argy on the topic of the Australian Computer Society and Professionalism. It may be worthwhile returning to this YouTube once you have finished the week 3 seminar, as a way to consolidate the seminar's theme: introducing ethics and professionalism. What is Ethics? Ethics has its origins in philosophy (and if you’re interested in exploring this, have a look at the 13 page introduction to Ethics in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy), but at its simplest ethics refers to the systems of principles that affect how people make decisions and lead their lives. More specifically, ethics is the study of those standards of behavior that promote human welfare and ‘the good’. Ethics asks us to consider what is ‘good’ for individuals and society, and we engage in ethical thinking every time we ask ourselves what we should do – what would be right to do – and how we should behave in particular situations. To get some further understanding as to what ethics is all about, watch the YouTube explaining ethics from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University called “What is Ethics? What is Business Ethics?” Note that Kirk Hanson, Director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, also introduced the idea of business ethics, reminding us that ethical thinking is not something we just do in our private lives but is rather integral to our professional lives as well. Before, however, we turn to consider professional and business ethics in detail, we need to consider some of the different kinds of ethical principles we might use to help us decide what the right or ethical course of action is. For instance, some of the most common ethical principles we might use to help us decide what to do would include fairness and justice, respecting human rights, working to achieve the best outcomes for everyone caught up in a situation, working to achieve the best results for humanity (perhaps even the planet) as a whole, or perhaps simply striving to be an ethical person. Watch the YouTube from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University called “Five Ways to Think Ethically” for further clarification of these principles. Managing Ethical Dilemmas So far we have looked how ethics calls on us to 'do the right thing'. However, sometimes it isn't always clear what ‘the right thing’ to be done is. Usefully there are some tools that can help us clarify our ethical decisionmaking process. 1. 2. Read the short guide from Chris MacDonald, “A Guide to Moral Decision Making”. (Note: this is available as a printable PDF version for download). Look at the straightforward guidelines from Thomas White (at The Center for Ethics and Business at Loyola University), titled “Resolving an Ethical Dilemma”. Another interesting site is the Ethics Scoreboard – here's what it says about its reason for existence: “The Ethics Scoreboard exists because, to be blunt, national media, academia, law, the arts, government, and the church have been timid, garbled, and worst of all, boring in their efforts (such as they are) to apply our society's ethical standards and principles to the daily events that bombard us. The results of this failure are apparent: a proliferation of ethics-related incidents, a lack of coherent discussion regarding them, and in too many cases, public apathy. The Ethics Scoreboard intends to counter this environment by doing four things: • Providing some simple tools for ethical analysis. • Identifying current events and issues that raise important ethical issues • Using those tools to make a straight-forward assessment of these • Talking about them. This site will not attempt to be exhaustive, but will focus on raising ethical issues and observations that are not appearing elsewhere.” Consider the following on the Ethics Scoreboard site: "12 Questions Towards Ethical Decision-making" as well as “An Ethical Decision-making Model". Tip! • Incidentally, previous students have identified the MacDonald (1) article “A Guide to Moral Decision Making" and (2) White’s 3-step method of "Resolving an Ethical Dilemma" as being particularly helpful in broadening their understanding of ethical decision-making in the workplace. • You may find it helpful to go through these two documents and take note of the similarities and differences in their approach to solving ethical dilemmas. Make sure you are clear about both the motivations for, and the consequences offered by each approach. Developing a clear understanding of key similarities and differences between the MacDonald and White methodologies - and taking the time to articulate this in your written work – will enable to you engage more fully with Assignment 1. Codes of Ethics, Code of Professional Conduct, and Professional Practice As well as these frameworks as to how we manage our personal ethical decision-making, the Australian Computer Society (ACS), of which you are a member, has an ACS Code of Ethics, which forms part of the ACS National Regulations of the Society, as well as the ACS Code of Professional Conduct which delineates professional practice for membership. When you became a member of ACS, you agreed to act professionally in accordance with these codes. How can you make use of the ACS codes? An excellent way to understand their possible use is to look at examples of their application. The ACS Code of Professional Conduct provides explanations of each clause. In addition to the ACS Code of Ethics and the ACS Code of Conduct, many other professional associations have codes covering similar issues. See, for example, Engineers Australia or the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct (governing, for example, the Department of Communications). Often in our professional and private lives, we are bound to more than one, and in fact may identify with a series of codes or regulations by which we make ethical decisions. Stop & Consider • Make a note of any other codes of ethical conduct or practice that you abide by. You will likely find them at your current workplace, at a client's workplace, and at the educational institution where you completed your undergraduate and graduate studies. • Take the time now to become familiar with a range of ethical codes and practices that you are expected to abide by. In particular, it is recommended that you become familiar with the ACS Code of Professional Conduct and the ACS National Regulationsof the Society. After reading the literature, stop to consider the ways in which you are expected to conduct yourself professionally because of your professional affiliation as a member of the ACS. Also take note of the privileges, protections, and networks such codes and practices (that is, your membership) afford you. Your membership to a regulated professional body such as the ACS, not only affects the ways in which you are expected to regulate your professional behaviour in the workplace, but also how you are perceived and treated by others in your profession. This reciprocity is an important aspect of codes of professional conduct and practice. You will be required to demonstrate your understanding of the ACS Code of Professional Conduct in order to complete Assignment 1. Professional Ethics So far we have identified that in our professional lives, as well as in our private lives, it rests on us to 'do the right thing'. Remember though that the decisions we make as IT professionals impact on far more people than just ourselves. There are, usually, at least three parties with an interest in what IT professionals do. They are: 3. IT professionals, 4. their employer, and 5. the client/s. IT professionals may, however, find themselves in a position where there is a conflict between the interests of one or more of these parties. It may be between their personal interests and those of their employer or client. More commonly, there is a conflict between the interests of the client and the interests of the IT professional's employer. For example, if you are subcontracting, or working for a subcontractor, there may be layers of employers, all with differing interests. Conflicts of Interest A situation that arises in any field of business, but is particularly common in the IT industry, is an individual or an organization having a conflict of interest because they are playing two roles. Some examples are: • A consulting company which has an agency for a particular package will have a conflict between their consulting and selling role. It is difficult to recommend a package from a competitor, even if it fits the client's needs better, than the one your company is selling. • A hardware vendor offers free IT strategic planning to its clients. Naturally the IT strategy they prepare is not going to suggest that the client should change to a platform from another vendor. It will be very tempting for the hardware vendor to recommend additional hardware purchases as a solution to any problem identified, rather than looking for other solutions. • An accounting firm's IT consulting arm installs all the financial systems in an organisation which is a client of its audit practice. If these systems do not produce adequate financial statements, the auditors will find it difficult to report adversely on work done by another branch of the same company. • You work for a PC vendor and you genuinely believe that it sells an excellent product. You are on the council of the local school which has decided to purchase some PCs. Knowing that you are in the business, the school turns to you for expert advice on the purchase. It is likely that you will recommend that they buy your firm’s product, especially if you can organize a discount. Generally, conflicts of interest should be avoided. Firms or individuals which are already playing one role with a client should disqualify themselves from playing another. View the YouTube titled Conflict of Interest from Ethics Unwrapped to see examples of how conflicts interest can impact of your professional presence and on business productivity. However, the critical thing is that you should declare your interest. The client can then take that interest into account when dealing with you. It is unethical, unprofessional, and may be illegal to have a conflict of interest which is not acknowledged. In Australia, many organizations have specific guidelines or policies on managing conflicts of interest. For example, in the YouTube titled Conflicts of interest for government programs and projects. Jane Supit – an Australian Government Solicitor – sets out the importance of avoiding conflicts of interest. This clip is particularly relevant because Supit reminds us that conflicts of interest come in three forms: • actual conflicts of interest, • potential conflicts of interest, and • potentially perceived conflicts of interest Read "Business Conduct and Ethics Policy" from CTI Logistics Ltd, paying particular attention to both the content as well as the progression of the content's structure (e.g., Your Responsibility, The Appearance of Conflict, Conflicts of Interest, etc). Tip! • Being attentive to structure reveals something about the processes a company has in place to uphold its commitment to ethical standards and professional practice. You will notice that each section sets out both a claim, for how one should act or refrain from certain actions, a well as reasons to support the claim being made. These can offer useful models for our own professional conduct and practice, whether from a logistics focused transport company, from your university, or from our workplace. • You probably already know that the ACS is the recognised association for ICT professionals, attracting a large and active membership from all levels of the ICT industry. But did you know that the ACS is a member of the Australian Council of Professionals and the guardian of professional ethics and standards in the ICT industry, with a commitment to the wider community to ensure the beneficial use of ICT? • Its objectives are to further the study, science and application of IT; promote, develop and monitor competence in the practice of ICT by people and organisations; maintain and promote a Code of Ethics for members of the Society; define and promote standards of knowledge of ICT for members, promote the formulation of effective policies on ICT and related matters; extend the knowledge and understanding of ICT in the community; promote the benefits of membership of the Society and promote the benefits of employing members of the Society. • ACS members work in all areas of business and industry, government and academia, and are qualified and experienced ICT professionals committed to the Society's Code of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. ACS membership denotes a commitment to professionalism. Unethical Organisations There is also plenty of evidence that many organisations do not encourage their staff to take an ethical stance and that many corporate failures can be traced back to this shortcoming. For example, see this YouTube on Unethical Moments from The Office or Dilbert on Business Ethics. Although these are humorous examples, they nonetheless contain kernels of truth. On a more serious note, what do you do when your management does not want to know about problems with a project? Read and consider the short case "On Being the Bearer of Bad News" from the Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Research. In addition, there may be occasions when your employer's or client's interests are in conflict with your personal belief system. This is a much more difficult situation to deal with but one you are likely to encounter at some stage in your career. The CIMA Code of Ethics YouTube in the next section addresses this issue. Tip! • It can sometimes be difficult to make an ethical decision and in some instances, we can be placed in a difficult situation where we are unable to see the best course of action. Perhaps our ethical actions are being hampered by someone or some process? Ethi-call is a free, confidential and non-judgemental support line helping individuals to reflect on and explore ethical issues and dilemmas. It is run by the St James Ethics Centre (South Australia). The Ethics Centre encourages "the promotion and exploration of ethics and ethical decision-making. The Ethics Centre seeks to encourage people all over the world to 'think ... to create a better world'." Responsibility for Your Career One final aspect we need to consider about an ICT professional's behaviour is to take responsibility for managing your own career. You have commenced this by starting to learn how to evaluate your general business and your ICT skills in Weeks 1 and 2. In the last four weeks of the course you will explore these further. There are a number of points you should consider with regard to developing responsibility for your career – being an active member of a professional body such as the ACS is one, here are some others: Professional Presentation How you present yourself to, and are perceived by others is vital to the topic of ethics, professionalism and governance. The following YouTube on What Defines Professionalism briefly sets out the importance of how others perceive you in the workplace – whether by deign or default – and it reminds us that presenting ourselves as ethical and responsible professionals is largely our responsibility. That is to say, it should not just be assumed or taken for granted that we are professional but rather this is an aspect of our professional career that should be continuously worked at and refined. Just as we should be conscious of our professional presence, this YouTube Professional Presence in the Workplace focuses on demonstrating your professionalism in small but effective ways, using the example of professional presence and activity in a workplace meeting. Mobile Technology and Ethics As technology enables people to work anytime, anywhere, how should companies manage employees working at home, and what ethical and professional issues does working at home raise? For example, how do companies manage or track the workloads of people working at home? Another point mobile technologies raise for people working away from traditional offices is whether people are keeping in touch with their coworkers (in terms of productivity, team-building, and shared practices). Perhaps more importantly in terms of conflicts of interest: will people working away from traditional offices (at home, commuting, etc) understand the ethical values and the ethical policies of the organisation? Hence, it is worth considering how you comport yourself when engaging with your workload and your profession outside of traditional work-spaces. Codes that Regulate Conduct and Professionalism It is worth returning to the topic of codes that regulate professional conduct, given that these codes offer guidance in a range of professional practices, including ethics, sustainable business practices and professionalism for our industry. This YouTube by the Direct Sellers Association (DSA, US) titled The DSA Code of Ethics succinctly demonstrates the importance of returning to the codes of conduct that regulate professionalism for the professional, the company and importantly for clients. Please take note of the way the speakers in this YouTube address the formation, the upholding of, and the continual renewal of professional practice by returning to their code of practice – the language is of “a living document”. You are now conversant with the ACS Code of Professional Conduct and are aware of the many benefits and obligations of belonging to Australia's peak professional ICT organisation. This YouTube from the Chartered Institute of Management Accounts (CIMA, UK) demonstrates the importance of actively maintaining your professional standing and affiliation in your professional career: CIMA Ethics in Three Minutes. The CIMA Ethics in Three Minutes reminds us of the importance of acting ethically as professionals, of conflicts of interest that might arise in our work-lives, and introduces the importance of governance and the law – important topics which we will turn to look at more closely in Week 4. ___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___ Acknowledgements This seminar is a revision by Marnie Nolton of material originally written by Brenda Aynsley for the Australian Computer Society. References Anon (2014). “ACS Code of Ethics”, Australian Computer Society. Accessed 26 October 2016, https://www.acs.org.au/content/dam/acs/rulesand-regulations/Code-of-Ethics.pdf Anon (2014). "ACS Code of Professional Conduct", Australian Computer Society. Accessed 26th October 2016, https://www.acs.org.au/content/dam/acs/rules-and-regulations/Code-ofProfessional-Conduct_v2.1.pdf Anon (2011). “ACS National Regulations”, Australian Computer Society. Accessed 26 October 2016, https://www.acs.org.au/content/dam/acs/rulesand-regulations/ACS-National-Regulations.pdf. Anon (2011). “Five Ways to Think Ethically”. Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, accessed 29 September 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTpwUUNepZc. Anon (2010). “Our Code of Ethics”, Engineers Australia. Accessed 29 September 2013, http://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/sites/default/files/shado/About%20Us/ Overview/Governance/codeofethics2010.pdf. Anon (2010). “What is Ethics? What is Business Ethics?”. Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University, accessed 29 September 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmVu66Fpd9U. Australian Department of Communications (2013). Australian Department of Communications. Accessed 29 September 2013, http://www.communications.gov.au/. Australian Council of Professionals (2013). Professions Australia. Accessed 26 October 2016, http://www.professions.com.au/. Australian Public Service Commission (2013). “Codes of Conduct”, The Public Service Act 1999. Accessed 26th October 2016, http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications-and-media/current-publications/apsvalues-and-code-of-conduct-in-practice. BRR Media Law (2013). “Conflicts of Interest for Government Programs and Projects”, BRR Media Law. Accessed 29 September 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAAmC_NyuLI. CTI Logisitcs Ltd (2011). “Corporate Governance – Business Conduct and Ethics Policy”. CTI Logistics Limited. Accessed 29 September 2013, http://www.ctilogistics.com/PEthics.html. Fieser, J (2009). “Ethics”, The Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, accessed 29 September 2013, http://www.iep.utm.edu/ethics/. Koopman, P (2006). “On Being the Bearer of Bad News", Online Ethics Center for Engineering National Academy of Engineering. Accessed 29 September 2013, http://www.onlineethics.org/CMS/workplace/17080/badnews.aspx. Leppla, E. (2011). “Unethical Moments from The Office”, YouTube. Accessed 29 September 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vstg5c3c3g8. MacDonald, C. (2010). "A Guide to Moral Decision Making". Accessed 29 September 2013, http://www.ethicsweb.ca/guide. Marshall, J. and ProEthics Ltd (2007). “An Ethical Decision-making Model”, Ethics Scoreboard. Accessed 29 September 2013, http://ethicsscoreboard.com/rb_5step.html. Marshall, J. and ProEthics Ltd (2007). “12 Questions towards ethical Decision-making", Ethics Scoreboard. Accessed 29 September 2013, http://ethicsscoreboard.com/rb_nash12.html. McCombs School of Business (2012). “Conflict of Interest”, Ethics Unwrapped Series, University of Texas. Accessed 29 September 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnRpMQvW_ow. St James Ethics Centre (2013). “Ethi-call”, St James Ethics Centre. Accessed 17th March 2015, http://www.ethics.org.au/counselling. White, T (Unknown). "Resolving an Ethical Dilemma", African Sisters Education Collaborative. Accessed 29 September 2013. http://www.asecsldi.org/dotAsset/292830.pdf.

Tutor Answer

henryprofessor
School: New York University

Attached.

Ethics at the Workplace- Outline
Thesis statement: Joseph faces the dilemma whether to present the reports and cause harm to
the unsuspecting employees or fail to provide the reports and promote unprofessional behavior.
He should apply Thomas White’s three-step model in resolving the dilemma
I. Introduction
A. The dilemma
II. Thomas White methodology
A. Analyze consequences
B. Analyze actions
C. Make a decision
III. Analysis regarding ACS values
A. Honesty
B. Enhancement of quality of life
C. Professional development
IV. Course of action


ETHICS 1

ETHICS AT THE WORKPLACE
Name:

Course:
Professor:
Date:

ETHICS 2
ETHICS AT THE WORKPLACE
Joseph faces an ethical dilemma at the organization. The dilemma is that if he provides the web
pages, the manager may catch employees who are misusing the work computers and logging
into pornography pages. Those caught misusing the computers may be penalized although they
ha...

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