Do You Think That Ethics in Research Is a Clear-Cut Issue?
Ethical issues are present in any kind of research. The research process creates tension between the aims of research to make generalizations for the good of others, and the rights of participants to maintain privacy. Ethics pertains to doing well and avoiding harm. Harm can be prevented or reduced through the application of appropriate ethical principles. Thus, the protection of human subjects or participants in any research study is imperative. Violations of human rights in the name of scientific research have been among the darkest events in history. From 1932-1972 more than 400 African American people who had syphilis were deliberately left untreated to study the illness.
Additionally, as organizations rely more on information systems, they become vulnerable to attacks on these precious technologies. These are just some of the ethical issues professionals face when dealing with information systems and emerging technologies. Although often overlooked, ethical decision-making is an important issue for all organizations and individuals in the arena of information technologies. In order to better understand the ethical dilemmas facing professionals and private citizens and appreciate their consequences, researchers, practitioners and academics must have access to the latest thinking and practice concerning ethics and information systems.The importance of this research come from the growing importance of the role of management information systems in management, whether public or private, as well as the significant rise in depending on the new software and development it daily for the development of management information systems work. Also the importance of this research come from the necessity of ethical controls governing how to deal with this software and development to appropriate the needs of various administrative and prevent the inappropriate or bad use of the software, or use techniques that are in violation of the ethics of information systems. Ethics is the branch of philosophy that deals with the determination of what is right or wrong, good or bad. To behave ethically is to live one’s life in accordance with a set of ethical principles, which are based, ultimately, on moral values. Over the centuries, philosophers have proposed many competing theories of ethical conduct. Some philosophers believe that ethical behavior must be grounded in absolute moral principles, such as “Behave towards others as you want them to behave toward you.” Others believe that ethical behaviors are required because they lead to the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Still others believe that ethics must be founded in religious values.As for the relation between ethical standards and MIS professionals performance, we can note the results of the study conducted by Scott J. Vitell and titled “Ethical Beliefs of MIS Professionals”, who conclude that the ethical standards can improve among MIS professionals when top management makes it clear that ethical behavior will be rewarded and unethical behavior will be punished. If top management does not support ethical conduct, it becomes less likely that subordinates will behave ethically. Given these results concerning top management setting the ethical tone for the firm, it seems imperative that more organizations should write and enforce codes of ethics. At least some unethical practices could be eliminated by more top managers taking such a stance. In addition, industry codes of ethics could be helpful in reducing unethical practices.
Research ethic principles are vital elements of any successful scientific research because they help in uphelding ethical values and preserve sound mind, which is especially important for scientists as they should respect the subjects who participate in the study (Oliver 5). Adhering to ethics of research is fundamental because of the following reasons. First, ethics is paramount especially in promoting the objectives of the research, such as an acquaintance, accuracy, and evasion of possible errors in research (Bryman and Bell. 128). Second, research ethics promotes the following principles, such as mutual respect, liability, and accuracy that are required especially in promoting collaboration during the study (Bryman and Bell. 128). Finally, ethics in research plays a vital role in building public support for research. It is without doubt that people are more likely to support or fund a research scheme, especially when they can trust the importance of and integrity in research. It is without a shred of a doubt that some of the ethical norms in most of the adopted codes and rules for research ethics in many organizations can be found in the law. Given the described feature, both law and research ethics will overlap. Given the outlined principles of research ethics, confidentiality elements should always be observed too. Confidentiality element will protect personal communications, such questionnaires submitted for publication, confidential records, trade tactics, and patient records.
Finally, many of the norms of research promote a variety of other important moral and social values, such as social responsibility, human rights, animal welfare, compliance with the law, and public health and safety. Ethical lapses in research can significantly harm human and animal subjects, students, and the public. For example, a researcher who fabricates data in a clinical trial may harm or even kill patients, and a researcher who fails to abide by regulations and guidelines relating to radiation or biological safety may jeopardize his health and safety or the health and safety of staff and students.
Oliver, John. Research ethics: re-evaluating the consequentialist perspective of using covertparticipant observation in management research. 2008. Web.
Bryman, Alan and Emma Bell. Business Research Methods. 3ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. PDF file. Web.
Thomas, Alan B. Research skills for management studies. New York: Routledge, 2004, Print.