In this article, Daragh O’Brien discusses the role of ethics in information management. O’Brien suggest that he has found only one article, published in 1999, that discusses this topic. Considering how frequently one hears about the need for, and importance of, ethics in information management, I am surprised by this finding, and will certainly investigate it further. O’Brien does say that information managers do practice ethics, but that perhaps we have not established rigorous benchmarks of quality: We cannot rely on a person with a hammer at the end of the information production line to knock the ethical dents out of our data economy. The risks to people and to society are far too great and potentially irreversible.
O’Brien suggest three normative theories of ethical conduct that should be considered in information management:
O’Brien suggests that as Information Management professionals, we need to evolve our organisations to at least the Stakeholder Value Theory when considering ethical conduct in our organisations. Until we do even those industries such as the automotive manufacturing industry who have recently explicitly adopted standards for consideration of ethical issues in the design and manufacture of products and services, will struggle to make sustainable progress. This is the change that has to happen to help us align the internal business, information, and technology functions of the organisation to consistently deliver ethical outcomes.