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Ethics and information technology use: a survey of US based SMEs

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The purpose of this paper is to study the beliefs and attitudes of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) toward the ethical use of information technology (IT). This research in progress paper presents findings from an "ethics survey" conducted in the USA. The initial data presented here suggest that even though IT has become an integral part of the US SMEs, there is a clear lack of awareness of basic ethical issues. The participants on this survey did not seem to understand the importance of their moral and ethical responsibilities in the use of IT. In a follow-up of this study, we hope to extend and use the initial findings to conduct focused in-depth interviews with some of the survey participants. In a subsequent stage we wish to conduct a similar research for large enterprises, so as to compare and contrast the extent of IT related ethical practices in businesses.
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Keywords: Ethics; Information Technology; Small- To Medium-Sized Enterprises; Surveys

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-05-01

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