AIS-Ethics as an Ethical Domain: A Response to Guragai, Hunt, Neri and Taylor (2017) and Dillard and Yuthas (2002)
PublisherUniversidad de Huelva
AbstractIn this paper, I analyze the claim that AIS-ethics is a distinct subset of the broader fields of accounting and ethical studies. Guragai Hunt, Neri and Taylor (2017), building on Dillard and Yuthas (2002), call for the creation of a subset of business ethics with the intent to not only apply existing ethical concepts to AIS activities, but to establish “AIS-ethics” as a distinct area of practice and research in its own right. Their objective is for AIS-ethics to play the same role in AIS that Bioethics does in medicine. In order to analyze this argument, I analyze the examples provided in the literature on the impact of accounting information systems on ethics. My analysis indicates that there is a need to be more specific as to where exactly ethical issues arise in AIS, and most critical of all, why they do so. Too often, the existence of ethical problems in AIS is presumed to be so self-evident that no further explanation is needed—or provided—about what those ethical issues are, or what the circumstances are that give rise to them. Moreover, the behavior of a decision-maker in an AIS context is sometimes attributed to ethical considerations when a more detailed analysis indicates that the underlying cause of that behavior is either economic and/or not directly impacted by the presence of the AIS system. To remedy this lack of clarity as to what is an ethical problem in AIS, I argue that a necessary condition for individuals to consider that they face a decision with ethical consequences is that they perceive that there is a conflict between their sense of morality and the other sources of guidance relevant to making that decision.
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