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ITECH7402 Professional IT Culture

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Question:

Learning Outcomes Assessed

The following course learning outcomes are assessed by completing this assessment:

  • Research and discuss underpinning theories of ethical philosophy and apply these in to a rangeof scenarios in an IT workplace environment.
  • Interpret the principles of the Australian Computer Society Code of Ethics and synthesize them into daily ITpractice.
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the cognitive and practical approaches requiredto manage IT professionals in collaborative, global work environments.
  • Apply skills frameworks and develop a career plan in readiness for transition into the ITprofession.
  • Value ethical decision making approaches when working as an ITprofessional.

Case Study 1

Assume that Mr. McBright is an employee of a company called NewAge Pty Ltd, which develops operating systems for a tablet computer manufacturer by name XYZ Pty Ltd. Mr. McBright is in charge of testing the proper functioning of the operating system and endorsing them prior to their release to XYZ Pty Ltd. Mr. McBright reports to Mrs McDonald, who has become so complacent with her position within NewAge Pty Ltd that she takes every step to protect it. For example, since assuming her current position five years ago she has not developed herself for a higher-level position, neither has she trained or sponsored any of her subordinates for further career development. Mrs McDonald also does not employ anyone who appears to be much more competent than herself. Furthermore, to Mrs McDonald, the most important criteria for hiring new employees is the college that they attended. The management philosophy of Mrs McDonald has resulted in many incompetent employees at NewAge Pty Ltd, resulting in the lack of current best practices for software development.

XYZ Pty Ltd contracted NewAge Pty Ltd to develop a software at the cost of A$2 million. Just prior to handing over of the operating system to XYZ Pty Ltd, Mr. McBright discovered a bug in it, although it could provide its intended basic functions.

He reported his discovery to Mrs McDonald, but they colluded to keep the finding secret in order to meet project schedule. Eventually the new operating system with its bug was released to XYZ Pty Ltd. XYZ Pty Ltd then installed the buggy operating system it acquired from NewAge Pty Ltd on 20,000 newly-manufactured tablet computers without knowing the deficiency. Five weeks after releasing the first set of tablets running the faulty operating system into the market, the software created a virus, called McDonaldBug, which destroyed all the customer records of Badluck Bank which acquired some of the tablets. Four months after the release of the second set of tablets manufactured from the faulty operating system one of the tablets burst into frames, burning an office complex owned by TastyBurgers Pty Ltd.

An investigation into the two accidents revealed that:

  1. The main cause of the two accidents was that the tablets involved were manufactured using the buggy operating system acquired from NewAge Pty
  2. NewAge Pty Ltd has four branches located in four countries, and the employees at each branch have different set of However, Mrs McDonald has the habit of not making good use of the skills of her colleagues working from other branches than where she sits.
  3. The main cause of the bug in the software was the lack of current best practices for software development at NewAge Pty Ltd as Mrs McDonald has not mentored her staff for career development for a long time. Also, Mrs McDonald employs only people of her alma

Both Badluck Bank and TastyBurgers Pty Ltd sued XYZ Pty Ltd for damages. XYZ Pty Ltd also sued NewAge Pty Ltd for compensation. The authorities of the council of the city (called LivingCity) including its mayor Hon. Joseph Luck, where the headquarters of NewAge Pty Ltd is located, interfered in the legal proceedings to get NewAge Pty Ltd exonerated. Their reason is that NewAge Pty Ltd is the major employer in LivingCity. Eventually, Badluck Bank and TastyBurgers Pty Ltd are battling against XYZ Pty Ltd in courts. The legal proceedings have been adjoined until further notice.

Tasks1

Students are expected to prepare a business report of maximum length of 750 words that gives an ethical analysis of the issues raised in the case study. Your submission must at least address the following points:

  1. List the stakeholders in the case study. Discuss how each of the stakeholders in the case study applied orfailed to apply ethical decision-making approaches in the IT work environment. (V3)
  2. Clearly state the ethical dilemma that confronts the stakeholders mentioned in the case
  3. Provide an ethical response to the dilemma according to consequences alone. Consider the consequencesfor each of the stakeholders mentioned in the case 
  4. The ACS Code of Professional Conduct extends the meaning of the six ethical values with requirements that contribute to observing the values. Examine the code and identify requirements (using value numbers 1-6 anda requirement letter) that are relevant to this case study. For each identified requirement, explain how it should be applied in this case study. (K2)
  5. Use appropriate theories of ethical philosophy to analyse the case study, especially for the position of Mrs McDonald and Mr. McBright in passing the software while knowing that it was buggy.(K1)

Task 2: Using the SFIA 6 to Develop a Career Plan for Classroom/Career Transition

The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) is one of the frameworks developed to guide professionals or aspiring professionals and employers in the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). Employers can match the skills of an applicant for a job to the skills needed to fill a specific vacancy in the business, and (prospective) job seekers can use the SFIA to build their skills for their aspired employment.

A main objective for an average student is how to become a professional. Therefore, knowing and embracing the set of skills, knowledge and competencies needed for the aspiring careers is foremost important. The objective of this assignment is to motivate students to achieve that. SFIA is developed and managed by SFIA Foundation, which is a global not-for-profit organization headquartered in the United Kingdom. SFIA Version 6 (aka SFIA 6), released on 1st July 2015, has seven levels of responsibilities, and there are a number of skills for each level of responsibility. An overview of SFIA 6 can be downloaded by clicking here. The website address is also provided under the section Resources in this document.
 

Task: investigate the SFIA 6 framework, and apply it to develop a career plan to prepare you for your transition into the IT profession upon your graduation. First, identity and specify which of the seven SFIA 6 responsibility levels whose skills your developed career plan seeks to achieve.

 

Answer:

Ethical Analysis 

Ethical Decision-Making by the Stakeholders 
  • Mrs McDonald: She is an employee of NewAge Pty Ltd. and was aware of the bug in the operating system being delivered to XYZ Pty Ltd. However, she agreed to deliver the operating system. She also did not utilize the skills of the employees in four office locations adequately that led to the improper professional development of the resources. She failed to apply the ethical theories (Collste, 2008).
  • Mr McBright: He is an employee of NewAge Pty Ltd. and detected the bug in the operating system. He was also aware of the possible consequences but decided to keep it as a secret to meet the project schedule. The consequences were severe and the ethical theories were not adhered to.
  • XYZ Pty Ltd.: The Company received defective product and sued NewAge Pty Ltd. which is as per the ethical norms.
  • Badluck Bank: The Company received defective product and sued XYZ Pty Ltd. which is as per the ethical norms.
  • TastyBurgers Pty Ltd: The Company received defective product and sued XYZ Pty Ltd. which is as per the ethical norms.

Ethical Dilemma

The ethical dilemma as presented in the case study is for Mrs McDonald and Mr McBright to go ahead with the product launch and release or not. Both of these entities were aware of the bug in the operating system. The resolution of the bug would have resulted in the delaying of the product delivery causing inability to meet the due date of delivery. The decision of going ahead with the defective product has consequences associated with it and the impact of these consequences is severe (Sollie, 2007).

Also, for Mrs McDonald, the utilization of the employee skills is an ethical dilemma. She decided to stick to the virtues of personal growth and selfish interests ahead of the other employees. This resulted in the inadequate utilization of the skill sets.

Ethical Response on the Consequences 

The consequences for Mrs McDonald and Mr McBright would be in the form of legal obligations and punishments. This is because these two resources were responsible for the project deliverables and their performance. The consequences for the clients as XYZ Pty Ltd, Badluck Bank, and TastyBurgers Pty Ltd. would be in the form of issues faced due to defective product, such as information loss and loss to the office property (Roache, 2015).

The ethical response that Mr McBright and Mrs McDonald could have followed would have been negotiation with the XYZ Pty Ltd by disclosing the details of the bug to them. There might have been a slight delay in the delivery of the product; however, the future results would have been excellent. The senior management should have incorporated additional resources in the team to resolve the bug.

 

ACS Code of Professional Conduct 

The ACS Code of Professional Conduct comprises of six ethical codes that should have been applied.

  • Primacy to the public interest: Mrs McDonald and Mr McBright should not have delivered the buggy product to the clients to avoid the consequences that occurred.
  • Enhancement of quality of life: The bug in the operating system resulted in loss of customer records and damage to the office property that should not have happened. The matter should have been discussed with the senior management and the client should have been informed about the bug (Acs, 2014).
  • Honesty: The details of the bug were kept hidden from the client. The same should have been revealed in the case of delivery of the buggy product.
  • Competence: Mrs McDonald should have organized the activities to enhance the skills of the employees and should have hired the employees on the basis of their skills rather than their college.
  • Professional Development: The development of employee skills and delivery of a bug-free operating system should have been ensured.  
  • Professionalism: Mrs McDonald and Mr McBright should have informed about the bug to the project stakeholders.

Ethical Analysis 

Theory of Consequentialism evaluates the decision of Mrs McDonald and Mr McBright as unethical as it resulted in negative consequences for all the clients of the operating system due to the bug present in it (Heinze, 2005).

Deontology Ethics also evaluates the acts of both of these resources as unethical. This is because the ethical and professional codes and rules were violated throughout the process (Misselbrook, 2013).

There are selfish interests and virtues displayed by Mrs McDonald and Mr McBright behind their decisions, hiring of resources, and utilization of skills. Virtue Ethics evaluates the act as unethical.

Career Plan for Career Transition: Introduction 

Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) is a framework that has been developed for the professionals to provide them with the guidance on the career planning in the field of Information & Communication Technology (ICT). There are several skills that are desired by the employer in a job applicant and SFIA provides the details of these skills that shall be included and improved upon. SFIA 6 comprises of six categories and seven-level structure to advise the applicants and professionals on the career planning (Sfia, 2018).

Career Plan

Strategy & Architecture 

Information & Communication Technology (ICT) is a field that has a lot of competition and there are several employers that are also engaged in this field.

The primary step is to determine the strategy to be followed and the ICT architecture that shall be preferred. SFIA 6 framework was utilized to explore the sub-categories as information strategy, business strategy, and advice & guidance. Information security and analytics is one of the merging fields due to the increase in the occurrence of the security risks and attacks. This category provided the ability to determine the line of ICT to apply in and the architectural details as well.

Change & Transformation

The transition is being done in the field of IT that will bring up a lot many changes and transformations. In any of the business industries, project management, project organization, and portfolio management are some of the necessary activities. Business change implementation details were obtained from this SFIA 6 category that assisted in career planning.

It was determined that the basic concepts of business management will remain the same and will be applicable in the field of IT as well. Business change management and the details around the common points of transition were obtained through this category.  

Development & Implementation 

The category provided the in-depth details on the ICT skills to develop for enhanced career growth. In the field of information security and analytics, some of the skills that are needed are data analysis, cybersecurity, and programming skills. There are professional and certification courses for these skills that can be attended for the enhancement of the skills. The SFIA 6 category assisted in the skills assessment to plan for skill development and growth. The primary goal in any industry is to fulfil the expectations and demands of the end-user. The same was done and carried out in this category.

Delivery & Operation 

The field of ICT works on the basis of varied set of services that are carried out. These services are executed in the domains, such as design, transition, and operation. The details of each of these three service categories and the delivery and operational details were obtained from this category.

The category also assisted in the planning of the specific skills to enhance to ensure that the services management was carried out effectively.

Skills & Quality 

The transition to ICT could be made easy by carrying out effective skills management. Some of the technical skills that are essential include development skills, design skills, implementation skills, and testing skills. There are new ICT tools and paradigms that are being developed at a rapid scale. These tools shall be mastered upon by attending the training sessions around the same. The quality of the services and operations is an important parameter that plays a significant role in the field of ICT as well.

In this phase of career planning, the learning cycles, learning assessment and management was done to improve upon the skill sets and the quality.

Relationships & Engagement 

The relationships with the fellow team members, seniors, clients, and stakeholders are a necessity in every field including ICT. The SFIA 6 framework threw light on the strategies and activities to carry out for enhanced relationships and engagement. The customer interaction and relationship management details were involved in this category.

Conclusion 

Information & Communication Technology (ICT) is an industry that comprises of small, medium, and large scale enterprises. There are huge numbers of employees that are associated with the industry as the technologies are high on-demand. Career planning is essential for the professionals that are looking forward to enter and explore the industry. Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) is a framework that has been developed for the professionals to provide them with the guidance on the career planning in the field of Information & Communication Technology (ICT). The framework was used in the process of career planning to obtain the guidelines in terms of the skills to improve upon, mandatory skill set, customer relationship management activities, engagement levels, and so on.

 

References

Acs. (2014). ACS Code of Professional Conduct Professional Standards Board Australian Computer Society. Retrieved from https://www.acs.org.au/content/dam/acs/rules-and-regulations/Code-of-Professional-Conduct_v2.1.pdf

Collste, G. (2008). Global ICT‐ethics: the case of privacy. Journal Of Information, Communication And Ethics In Society, 6(1), 76-87. doi: 10.1108/14779960810866819

Heinze, E. (2005). Commonsense Morality and the Consequentialist Ethics of Humanitarian Intervention. Journal Of Military Ethics, 4(3), 168-182. doi: 10.1080/15027570500306641

Misselbrook, D. (2013). Duty, Kant, and Deontology. British Journal Of General Practice, 63(609), 211-211. doi: 10.3399/bjgp13x665422

Roache, R. (2015). Making consequentialism more appealing. Retrieved from https://dx.doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2015-102838

Sfia. (2018). Skills at a glance — SFIA. Retrieved from https://www.sfia-online.org/en/framework/sfia-6/skills/skills-home

Sollie, P. (2007). Ethics, technology development and uncertainty: an outline for any future ethics of technology. Journal Of Information, Communication And Ethics In Society, 5(4), 293-306. doi: 10.1108/14779960710846155

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