Within the IS literature there is little discussion on selling software products in general and especially from the ethical point of view. Similarly, within computer ethics, although there is much interest in professionalism and professional codes, in terms of accountability and responsibility, the spotlight tends to play on safety-critical or life-critical systems, rather than on software oriented towards the more mundane aspects of work organisation and society. With this research gap in mind, we offer a preliminary ethical investigation of packaged software selling. Through an analysis of the features of competition in the market, the global nature of the packaged software market and the nature of product development we conclude that professionalism, as usually conceived in computer ethics, does not apply particularly well to software vendors. Thus, we call for a broader definition of professionalism to include software vendors, not just software developers. Moreover, we acknowledge that with intermediaries, such as implementation consultants, involved in software selling, and the packaged software industry more generally, there are even more “hands” involved. Therefore, we contend that this is an area worthy of further study, which is likely to yield more on the question of accountability.
Adam, Alison and Light, Ben, "Selling Packaged Software: An Ethical Analysis" (2004). ECIS 2004 Proceedings. 26.