Critical Moment’s in Managers/Leaders Ethical and Responsible Decision-Making in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Enterprises

Mirja Liisa Airos


Theoretical Foundation and Conceptualization

Managers and leaders have remarkable impacts on firm’s behaviour and communication with the overall society. Ordinary daily business life presents and opens up many ethical quandaries at which they have to decide what to do. Quandaries are moral binds between competing good and bad considerations (Smith 2002), which may also be called as critical incidents (Velasquez 1998) and moments of truths (Mason, Mason & Culnan 1995). In this study the phenomena has working name “critical moments”. Managers/leaders are balancing the conflicting needs and interests in the context of power relationships (Castells 1997), they also ought to analyze, identify and resolve ethical and responsible dilemmas (Laudon & Laudon 2000).

Frame-working of the managerial and leading activities and decision procedures in the sense of examining the “critical moments” as individual managers/leaders are facing them is lacking or inadequate in prevailing Finnish researches of information and communication technology enterprises. These issues have been the target in only a few tangential academic researches (see Vartiainen 2005, Siponen 2005, Tiainen 2002 etc.) The main interests in this paper are to widen the theoretical and applicable knowledge of these situations, which cause “praiseworthy”, “right”, “wrong”, “bad”, “unjust”, “unethical” or “illegal” decisions and behaviour in the context of the Finnish ICT firms.

Research Strategy, Methodology and Nature of Data

This study is in relation to qualitative research tradition (Additional information on the paradigmatic stance: interpretative and radical humanistic sense. see Burrell & Morgan 1989) and the focus is in public discourses of “critical moments” in decision-making of selected managers/leaders (approximately five persons representing separate firms) as cases. Written textual discourses (about textual studies see Bazerman & Prior 2004) are viewed with traditional content (Carney 1972, Krippendorff 1980, Weber 1990 etc.) with the notions of discourse (van Dijk 1997, Wetherell & Taylor & Yates 2001, Wodak & Meyer 2001, Johnstone 2002 etc.) and case (Yin 1989, Gomm & Hammersley & Foster 2000, Gerring 2007 etc.) analytical methods. Traditional content analysis seems to have in this time-span more productive way of exploration. Interviews are not used as data.

The rewarding and fruitful data, for the research of this kind, consists of former scientific literature and discourses, which illustrate the empirical findings. As for the former scientific literature it is worthwhile to look through academic writings, such as books and refereed articles (Journal of Business Ethics, Business Ethics: A European Review, Business Ethics Quarterly, Information, Communication and Society and Ethics and Information Technology etc.). As practical indications enterprises-based discourses (annual reports, press releases, news bulletins, stakeholder magazines, web pages) and other publicly reachable materials (main Finnish business and information technology newspapers: Talouselämä, Kauppalehti, Taloussanomat, Tietoviikko and Tekniikka & Talous etc.) are of huge potential. This contemplation has surely fertile ground for other future investigations.

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