In any organization, employees may encounter situations that present ethical challenges, and it is important that they be given appropriate support and guidance to ensure that they are able to act in support of the organization’s needs and priorities. For leaders, it is critical that they remain aware of such potential challenges and work to anticipate, plan for, and train their staff on how to handle these situations in accordance with the law (if applicable) as well as the company’s values. Many organizations have employee handbooks or codes of conduct to provide both general policies related to items like requesting time off or adhering to a dress code, as well as very specific policies related to the handling of company property, how to address ethics concerns or violations, et cetera. If properly supported and modeled by leadership, such codes of ethics or codes of conduct can facilitate decision making, remove any doubt about the organization’s standards and practices, and promote positive social change.

In this Assignment, you will put yourself in the position of a senior-level IT leader of a company that functions like Facebook or LinkedIn and is in need of some policies related to ethics, privacy, and data management. You will draft an IT code of ethics or code of conduct to present to the senior leaders of your company related to employee decision making and behaviors around data management (in general), privacy concerns, and the ethical treatment of company and customer data.

To prepare for this Assignment:

  • Search the web or Walden library for two or three examples of “codes of ethics” or “codes of conduct” around information technology as well as any additional articles that focus on how companies integrate codes of ethics into their business operations.
  • From the examples of “codes of ethics” or “codes of conduct” related to IT that you located, create a list of major themes you located that reflect appropriate, legal, ethical practices you would want to employ to bring about positive change in your organization. You will use these themes to create a draft code of ethics or code of conduct to present to your senior leadership team and get their buy-in.

Submit your draft code of conduct/code of ethics that reflects best practices (based on your research) related to ethical management of customer and company data for an organization. Your “code” document should be approximately 3–5 pages, not including references or a title page, and must include the following:

  • Introduce your draft with an executive summary in which you present a rationale for utilizing a code of ethics/code of conduct related to IT practices of data management for your organization (1 paragraph) along with a brief statement (approximately 1 paragraph) on the steps you will take as a leadership team to model this behavior for the rest of the employees and bring about positive change within your organization. (Note: Although the executive summary is the first page of your document, it is typically written last, since it is meant to provide a very concise summary of the main points of your document.)
  • Serving as background for your proposal, summarize your observations about the codes of conduct/ethics you reviewed online and the major themes you found in your search of these important policy statements as they pertain to the use and management of information and information systems. Be sure to include citations for the examples you reviewed in your references section.
  • Create a draft of your proposed code of ethics/code of conduct, being sure to cover the major themes you noted. Each theme in your code must be accompanied by a series of statements or a brief paragraph explaining what the policies are associated with that theme (or category). You are free to use your creativity and license to create details about your company, as appropriate. The object of this exercise is to identify important considerations for the leadership of your organization and to ensure that the staff will find this document useful in guiding their behavior and decision making.
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