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Towards ethical information systems: The contribution of discourse ethics

Mingers, John and Walsham, Geoff (2008) Towards ethical information systems: The contribution of discourse ethics. Working paper. Kent Business School, Canterbury (KAR id:3939)


With globalization, environmental problems and significant failures in corporate governance, business ethics is perceived to be of increasing importance. This is particularly so for IS because of the huge social effects of new technologies. Yet there has been relatively little discussion of ethics in the IS literature and no clear consensus has emerged. This paper argues that Habermas’s discourse ethics can make a major, and practical, contribution. After outlining some major ethical theories and how they have been interpreted in business ethics and IS, the paper details the development of discourse ethics. Discourse ethics is different from other approaches to ethics as it is grounded in actual debates between those affected by decisions and proposals. Recognizing that the theory is rather abstract, the final section discusses how it can be pragmatized, with the help of existing soft and critical methodologies, to become a basis for business and IS ethics.

Item Type: Reports and Papers (Working paper)
Additional information: Paper no.176
Uncontrolled keywords: Communitarianism, critical systems heuristics, critical theory, deliberative democracy, discourse ethics, Rawlsian ethics, soft systems methodology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Analytics, Operations and Systems
Depositing User: John Mingers
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2009 13:23 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 09:42 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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