This assignment involves analysing an existing Information Technology company in the context of the themes discussed in the Professional Issues and Ethics part of the course.
Imagine you are a fund manager for an ethical investment company who needs to assess (from an ethical perspective, not a financial perspective) whether or not your fund should invest in a particular IT company.
You need to write a short "professional issues and ethics" report (500-750 words) on a company of your choosing in the Information Technology space, and give a concise argument about one major professional/ethical issue that is relevant to the decision, then provide a conclusion about whether the company meets expected standards of ethical behaviour with respect to this issue (there is no need to consider the financial prospects of the company).
Some discussion points could include policies and practices on
- work culture
- intellectual property
- involvement in conflict
- environmental impact
However, focus on IT-related issues.
(This is not a checklist, so do not aim to cover every such aspect, only that which is most significant in relation to the company and issue being discussed.)
Emphasize the company's actual practices, not what is given in corporate slogans, "mission/vision statements" or marketing campaigns.
Suitable IT companies (or companies with IT-related issues) to study include: Apple, Alphabet/Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Twitter, Snap, Instagram, WhatsApp, Reddit, 4chan, Blizzard, Valve, Epic Games, Bethesda, Twitch, Palantir, Atlassian, Samsung, Alibaba, Baidu, JD.com, Huawei, Tencent, TikTok, Infosys, Wipro, Airbnb, WeWork, Spotify, Uber, Tinder (or others, but make sure they are sufficiently IT related).
Your report should include:
- Brief background on the issue being discussed, to provide sufficient context, history and evidence.
- In depth ethical discussion. You need to clearly identify the ethical issue, and analyse it using ethical reasoning. Identify stakeholders, present the perspectives from both sides of the issue, and analyse the issue in terms of ethical theories (duty and consequence-based), and only if relevant, one code of conduct/ethics (e.g. the ACS Code of Conduct for an Australian IT company).
- A short conclusion comprising a judgement of the ethical or unethical nature of the company's activities in relation to the issue discussed.
The report should be written in English and in the style of a formal business or industry report, and should include proper bibliographic references. You may use headings and sub-headings to clearly identify different parts of the report. Importantly, your report cannot overlap substantially with your student seminar (check with your seminar facilitator if in doubt).