The Effect of Codes of Ethics and Personal Denial of Responsibility on Computer Abuse Judgments and Intentions

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Abstract

This research asks whether codes of ethics affect computer abuse judgments and intentions of information systems (IS) employees. Codes of ethics examined include both company codes of ethics and those written specifically to deal with IS issues. In addition, since the intent of codes of ethics is to clarify responsibility and deter unethical behavior, both the psychological trait of responsibility denial and its moderating effect on codes was studied. While company codes did not affect the computer abuse judgments and intentions of all IS personnel, they did affect those IS personnel who tend to deny responsibility, thus suggesting that company codes may clarify responsibility and reduce rationalizations for some people. Unlike company codes, IS-specific codes of ethics had a direct effect on computer sabotage judgments and intentions, but had no differential effect on those high in responsibility denial. Finally, responsibility denial was directly related to all computer abuse judgments and intentions studied. Overall, codes had little effect on computer abuse judgments and intentions relative to the psychological trait of responsibility denial.

Additional Details

Author Susan J. Harrington
Year 1996
Volume 20
Issue 3
Keywords Computer crime, IS security, abuse and crime, deterrence, management of security, responsibility, codes of ethics
Page Numbers 257-278