November 16, 2006
Can Technology Affect Ethics and Culture?
In today's work environment, workers are expected to know more than ever before. With the growing of technology comes more knowledge that end-users must know, so it is important for workers not to be distracted by unethical practices. However, with technology also comes a more defined sense of communication, which can be good or bad. This improved communication can not only encourage unethical behavior, but it can discourage it as well. This paper discusses how technology can encourage and discourage unethical behaviors, it explains how these behaviors can shape the type of work environment that a company promotes, and it identifies how Human Resources (HR) uses technology to influence culture.
Technology can encourage unethical practices in a number of ways. The ways that I describe involve communication of messages and images. Today, the media can reflect some very vulgar and offending messages. Especially via computer, the perpetrator of these messages can offend employees, within their own culture or in another culture, through e-mails, instant messages or unsuspecting software. Imagine being at work, and an e-mail from an unknown address comes in and your curiosity gets the better of you. When you read the e-mail, there is a very offending joke about your ethnic heritage or culture. The e-mail, obviously, was unethical and distracted you from your duties as an employee at your company. The same can be said about instant messages. For example, while your busy at work an instant message comes in and shows a link to a web-site that you happen to be curious about. When you click on the link, an image of pornography appears on the home page. The material offends you because you are happily married, a priest, or just someone with high moral standards. This is another way that technology can encourage unethical...