Previous research suggests that Information Systems and Software Development (ISSD) developers may sometimes omit required tests and not deliver on promised software functionality. This raises the question as to how often, and in which manner, software developers or companies act in morally questionable ways. In related research in other disciplines immoral behaviours of individuals and organizations are called the “gray area phenomena”. However, we find little research in Information Systems on such gray area phenomenon. As the first step towards overcoming this situation, we interviewed 15 experienced IT professionals in order to ascertain both the existence of gray area phenomenon in ISSD, and also to explore the typical issues in this phenomenon. We found a number of issues, which can be categorized into three main themes. We offer implications for research and practice based on our findings. For research, this study aims to open up a new research stream, namely the gray area in ISSD, and suggests a research agenda for studying this phenomenon. As for contributions to practice, the results are relevant for both the individuals using the software that is developed, and for the companies developing the software.


ISSD, professional ethics, practices


ISBN: [978-1-86435-644-1]; Full paper