Ethical values of IT professionals : Evidence from Hong Kong

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-58
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


In the wake of recent scandals involving information technology (IT) professionals, the ethics of this profession deserve more attention. This paper reports on the first phase of an initiative to research the ethics of IT professionals. The ethical values of the IT profession in Hong Kong were investigated using an instrument designed to reflect the stages of moral reasoning present in Kohlberg's theory of Cognitive Moral Development. The vast majority of respondents espoused ethical values consistent with both a high level of reasoning and the prevailing societal culture. At the same time, many respondents exhibited considerable uncertainty in their ethical reasoning, indicating a dynamic tension between high and low moral principles. The implications of these findings for research and practice are discussed. © 2006 IEEE.

Research Area(s)

  • Cognitive moral development, Ethical values, Information technology (IT) professionals, Kohlberg