The Business Dictionary defines ‘ethical issues’ as “problems or situations that require a person or an organization to choose between alternative courses of action which must be evaluated as right or wrong.”
Information Technology (IT) Project Management is a critical issue for all organizations because the failure rates of IT projects are alarming (Whittaker, 1999). A Gartner study suggests that about 75% of IT projects based in the United States of America (USA) are deemed as failures by the stakeholders (Waters 2008).
Pinto & Selvin (1988) also highlight the issue of many projects being deemed successful by those implementing them, but perceived otherwise by the actual users of the system. Wateridge (1995) then emphasizes the need for all stakeholders to clearly define how the success criteria of the project will be judged.
This paper aims to uncover and address the ethical issues involved in IT project failures. Eighteenth Century philosopher, Immanuel Kant, maintained a Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This ought to be the basis of all ethical approaches and, when relating the rule to IT projects, it suggests carefully analysing a project from the view of stakeholders (Gleason, 1998).
The Ethical Issues Involved in IT Project Failure
Prior studies have suggested that planning is the core determinant for the success or failure of any IT project (Wateridge, 1995; Whittaker, 1999; Dvir & Lechler 2004).
A classical book on Management is Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’, where Tzu ascertains planning as a core determinant for the success or failure of a project. Tzu takes a strategic view point and writes: “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go t...
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...up. (1999). CHAOS: A Recipe for Success. Available: http://www4.informatik.tu-muenchen.de/lehre/vorlesungen/vse/WS2004/1999_Standish_Chaos.pdf. Last accessed 19 April 2010.
Tzu, S. (2006). The Art of War. USA: El Paso Norte Press . 9-18.
Turner, J., Cochrane, R. (1993). Goals-and-methods matrix: coping with projects with ill defined goals and or methods of achieving them. International journal of project management. 11 (2), 93-102.
Wateridge, J. (1995). IT Projets: a basis for success. International Journal of Project Management. 13 (3), 169-172.
Waters, K. (2008). Most IT Projects Fail. Will Yours? Available: http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/most-it-projects-fail-will-yours.html. Last accessed 26 April 2010.
Whittaker, B. (1999). What went wrong? Unsuccessful information technology projects. Information Management & Computer Security. 7 (1), 23-30.
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