Ethical Information Systems Development: A Baumanian Postmodernist Perspective* by ProQuest


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									                                                                                                                                                                            Special Issue
Journal of the Association for Information Systems

                                                           Ethical Information Systems Development:
                                                           A Baumanian Postmodernist Perspective*

                                                               Sutirtha Chatterjee
                                                               Prairie View A&M University

                                                               Suprateek Sarker
                                                               Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

                                                               Mark Fuller
                                                               University of Massachusetts, Amherst

                                                     The paper offers a critique of traditional methodical approaches to Information Systems Development (ISD), arguing that a
                                                     number of assumptions (for example, universality and rationality) underlying these approaches lead to incomplete ontological and
                                                     epistemological considerations, and thereby contribute to IS failures in many cases. The paper proposes that ethical analysis
                                                     undertaken in conjunction with traditional ISD approaches may be a way to address some of the limitations experienced during
                                                     traditional ISD. Drawing upon ideas from postmodern ethics formulated by Zygmunt Bauman, the paper argues that increased
                                                     focus on the moral responsibility of key ISD players (such as the team of analysts) may improve the ISD process. Finally, this
                                                     paper suggests how, consistent with the postmodern stance, such moral responsibility can be implemented in the context of
                                                     ISD. The paper concludes with the contributions and future implications of this research.

                                                     Keywords: Information Systems Development (ISD), ethics, postmodern ethics, systems analyst, moral impulse, fairness, moral
                                                     responsibility, moral agent, case interpretation

                                                     * Antony Bryant, Frank Land, and John Leslie King were the accepting guest editors. It was submitted on April 10, 2008 and went
                                                     through 2 revisions.

                                                                                                                      Volume 10, Special Issue, pp. 787-815 , November 2009

                                                                                                 Volume 10       Issue 11    Article 2
                 Ethical Information Systems Development:
                 A Baumanian Postmodernist Perspective

      1.          Introduction
      Information Systems Development (ISD) is an important arena within the field of Information Systems
      (IS) (Iivari et al. 2006). Changes in technology, together with changes in organizations and their
      operating environment and values, have imposed new demands on the development of information
      systems (Hirschheim et al. 1997). Consequently, a central focus of the IS field has historically
      revolved around formulating/refining ISD approaches and methods (Hirschheim et al. 1997; Iivari et
      al. 2000) to develop better IS artifacts (Kautz et al. 2007; Fitzgerald et al. 2002).

      Historically, ISD has been undertaken from within
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