Qualifications and ethics education: the views of ICT professionals

Yeslam Al-Saggaf, Oliver K. Burmeister, Michael Schwartz

Abstract


Do information and communications technology (ICT) professionals who have ICT qualifications believe that the ethics education they received as part of their ICT degrees helped them recognise ethical problems in the workplace and address them? If they do, are they also influenced by their personal ethics? What else helps them recognise ethical problems in the workplace and address them? And what are their views in relation to the impact of ethics education on professionalism in the ICT workplace? A quantitative survey of 2,315 Australian ICT professionals revealed that participants who reported having various levels of qualifications found ethics education or training, to a small degree, helpful for recognising ethical problems and addressing them; although it is those with Non-ICT qualifications, not those with ICT degrees, who were influenced more by ethics education or training. This suggests that educators need to consider how to better prepare ICT graduates for the workplace challenges and the types of situations they subsequently experience. The survey also found that participants who reported having various levels of qualifications were not influenced by their personal ethics or indeed any other factor making ethics education or training important for developing professionalism. The quantitative survey was followed by qualitative interviews with 43 Australian ICT professionals in six Australian capital cities. These interviews provided further empirical evidence that ethics education is crucial for enabling ICT professionals to recognise ethical problems and resolve them and that educators need to consider how to better prepare ICT graduates for the types of moral dilemmas that they are likely going to face in the workforce.

Keywords


Professional ethics; personal ethics; IT courses; industry certification; ethical awareness

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3127/ajis.v21i0.1365

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ISSN: Online: 1326-2238 Hard copy: 1449-8618
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