Title

AN EXAMINATION OF ETHICS INSTRUCTION IN THE INFORMATION SYSTEMS AN EXAMINATION OF ETHICS INSTRUCTION IN THE INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND ACCOUNTING DISCIPLINES

Abstract

In light of several recent highly publicized unethical acts (e.g., unauthorized access of data, identity theft, and various other cybercrimes) in the field of information technology, there is a renewed sense of urgency for ethics education. The purpose of this study was to determine: (1) the ethics requirements established for undergraduate students in information systems and accounting, (2) the instructional methods used to teach ethics in these two disciplines, and (3) the content areas to be covered. An online survey was sent to a random sample of 213 Information Systems and Accounting instructors across the United States. There were 40 instructors who completed the survey for a response rate of 19%; 36 usable surveys from at least 28 different colleges were analyzed. Twenty-two percent of the respondents indicated they had a required ethics course taught within their department and 22% said they had an ethics requirement outside the department (some of these may have been the same respondents). The top two instructional methods used by the respondents were discussion (92%) and lecture (77%). The method they felt provided students with the best understanding of ethical issues was discussion (46%), then case studies (35%). The top two content areas the respondents felt should be included in ethics courses were (1) general ethical issues relating to fairness, honesty, respect, and integrity and (2) privacy and security of information.

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