As globalization takes precedence over the 21st century, the topic of ethics has considerably become a headline in different fields, particularly in the social and business realms. The power that professionals wield in society is significant enough to impose obligations on them to behave acceptably. Therefore, ethics play intricate roles in the modern business world, and particularly the area of Information Technology (IT). Due to its fast-paced, continually evolving nature, IT has become a field of computer science that is complex to assign a particular code of ethics with a majority of wrongdoings come because of computerized indiscretions. This is the primary purpose that businesses operating in the global markets ought to establish ethical codes for computer technology based on ethical theory. Over time, it has become clear that ethical theories offer businesses as well as the society with a framework to the underlying rationale of moral arguments, classifying and understanding various arguments, as well as defending a conclusion about what is right or wrong. Without these fundamental aspects of ethics is has become difficult to tackle ethical discussions with convictions considering that Information Technology) has been and continues to be an enabler of globalization in various forms (economic and cultural globalization).
There are several different ethical theories and each has a unique perspective and emphasizes unique points, manner of thinking or view on decision making; nevertheless, the Utilitarianism theory best most applicable to the world today. The consequentialism, as well as deontology, regarded as the most dominant theory in the current field of ethics where consequentialism identifies the utilitarianism theory. Currently, four basic ethic theories are referenced today namely; Utilitarianism, Kantianism, Rights and Justice Theory, in addition to Virtue ethic theories. Each of the aforementioned ethical theories should show how to do what is good during the decision making process or determining a solution from an ethical perspective (Kopperi, 2016).). This principle is based on the notion that individuals should make decisions that achieve the most notable amount of good because people benefit when the most good is achieved. With this in mind, it can be argued that the utilitarian ethical theory is closely related to making sure IT professional actions are guided to promote the most good despite the complexities in computer science as best explained in the Yahoo saga in China. In 2005, Yahoo revealed the identity of one of its users, namely Shi Tao, to the Chinese government after he anonymously posted information on the Democracy Forum website about the Chinese government’s intention to censor and prevent the celebration of the anniversary of Tiananmen Square events (Dann, & Haddow, 2008). At first, Yahoo denied its knowledge of the purpose of such a request and claimed that it had no other choice but to comply with the foreign government’s request since it was obliged to follow the Chinese laws (Dann, & Haddow, 2008). However, in April 2007 the company acknowledged that the Chinese government informed it of the purpose of the request but still denied its fault (Dann, & Haddow, 2008). By using the Utilitarianism ethics principles Yahoo would be obligated not to divulge privileged information to any authority particularly in a situation where an individual’s safety is involved. The same principle of Utilitarianism ethics applies to other issues in the IT community where professionals are expected to do the utmost good despite the challenges of global autocracies.
Despite the significant acceptance of the Utilitarianism theory, not every individual makes decisions in the same manner because of a disparity of values; nevertheless, by employing the principles of justice, beneficence, least harm, and autonomy the notion of a global ethical theory becomes plausible. For the last two decades, there has been an abundance of literature found in textbooks, journals, as well as internet peer reviews supporting the increasing interest in treating the global ethics in a single theme a majority claiming this idea is impossible to attain. As explained by Robinson, F. (2016), even when a majority of people are called upon to reason morally, they do so unevenly because of coming from different social backgrounds. A Professional philosopher such as White (2011) has indicated that impulsive behaviors driven by long-held values are prone to emotional triggers leading to confusion particularly in cultures that have a varied manner of way of processing moral stimuli. Nevertheless, when using the principle of justice where what is done is first analyzed as impartial, beneficence where the beneficiaries of actions are positive, least harm where a victim receives a reasonable action, and autonomy where freedom of attaining rights is not hindered then a common ground can be attained. A multifaceted theory transcends the intricacies of values and introduces a new platform where believers of Utilitarianism, Kantianism, Rights and Justice Theories are all considered causing less friction despite the differences in values.
The current society is rife with disagreement about matters of social significance ranging from religious, moral, economic, as well as political. It can be argued that these disagreements are a consequence of the free exercise of human rights well beyond what can be considered reasonably limited by cognitive and environmental factors. Religious, moral, and political disagreements often involve complex reasoning as well as evidence. As explained by White (2011), religion as an aspect of disagreement seems simple enough that people from different backgrounds look at the same evidence but develop different conclusions because in different ways their beliefs are based on their unique life experiences. This premise could aid people to see how the different diversities are a primary reason for believing and acting as they do thus reducing conflicts. The relative weight of moral values traditionally leads evaluative pluralism; inevitably leading to inconsistent discussions with each other. From the above information, it can be stated that the nature of values held by religious, moral, economic, and political aspects of society are the main reasons behind disagreements. The best way to reduce or resolve conflicts in the workplace is by developing a pluralistic workings pace that respects all values and morals. I believe it is improbable to have a conflict-free relationship with workmates because of the differentiation of education as well as social values, races, and religions. However, the best way to meaningful discussions is to always allow everyone the space to express himself or herself freely without prejudice.
In summary, globalization is a 21st-century phenomenon that has raised several questions regarding professional ethics particular in the IT sector. Currently, different facets of the global economy are computerized and a majority of the ethical issues discussed is the majority of wrongdoings come because of computerized indiscretions. The consequentialism, as well as deontology, regarded as the most dominant theory in the current field of ethics where consequentialism identifies the utilitarianism theory. Nevertheless, despite its popularity in use utilitarianism only helps individuals facing ethical issues with similar backgrounds and not a multi-faceted diversity such as the global economy. To have a global ethical theory the principals of justice, beneficence, least harm, and autonomy need to be addressed. Such a theory will be inclusive of different philosophical approaches and widely accepted globally.
Dann, G. E., & Haddow, N. (2008). Just doing business or doing just business: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and the business of censoring China’s Internet. Journal of business ethics, 79(3), 219-234.
Kopperi, M. (2016). Business ethics in global economy. EJBO-Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies.
Robinson, F. (2016). Beyond labour rights: The ethics of care and women’s work in the global economy. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 8(3), 321-342.
White, G. W. (2011). Business ethics. Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 6(4), 49-49.