The Social Responsibility of Information Systems Developers

The Social Responsibility of Information Systems Developers

N. F. du Plooy (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-104-9.ch003
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Abstract

Information systems professionals have often been accused of ignoring issues such as ethics, human factors, social consequences, etc., during the development of an information system. This chapter aims to put into perspective that this attitude or ‘fact’ could be a result of a somewhat outdated mechanistic view of information systems and their role in organizations. Organizations adopt and use information systems for a variety of reasons, of which some of the most influential on the outcome or success of the systems often are neither planned nor anticipated. It is these reasons and their consequences that are the main point of discussion in this chapter. The importance of viewing information systems as social systems is stressed and it is pointed out that the ‘social side’ of information systems is the ‘other side of the coin’ of technical development methodologies. In the modern organization all work is so intertwined with the use of information technology that the one side cannot be considered, planned or developed, without considering the other. It is furthermore argued that it is the social responsibility of information systems professional to ensure that the human environment within which systems are being developed is cultivated and nurtured.

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