Communications of the Association for Information Systems


This case study concerns moral conflicts identified by instructors on a project course in information systems education. Students on the course in question are expected to acquire project-work skills through implementing a project task for a real-life client. Data about moral conflicts was gathered by means of participant observation and interviews, and a phenomenographical approach was taken in the analysis. Six types of moral conflicts were identified, reflecting two aspects of the phenomenon. The first relates to conflicts involving outside parties and task-related and human issues and the second to deliberation about performing morally wrong acts or upholding relations. The core problem area in the instructor's work became visible in the form of inherent role strains and the need to react to conflicting expectations from all parties. The underlying source of the strains was the clash between the objectives of the clients and the learning aspect promoted by the university. This and three other types of strain made the instructor's work mentally demanding and morally challenging. Recommendations for dealing with these moral conflicts and role strains are given. Finally, the study is evaluated against the principles laid down for interpretive research.