Aligning computing ethics for strategy making in higher education (HE): A contrarian view – who knows?

Lucy Bowden, Colm Fearon, Heather McLaughlin, Stephen Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


– The purpose of this paper is to explore a possible strategic role for computing ethics and investigate how they might align with corporate values and higher education (HE) strategy making.

– A longitudinal study of a university in the South East of England is used to examine qualitative findings and develop a formative discussion. The findings, discussion and conceptual framework draw upon documents analysis and 14 semi-structured interviews with senior informants involved in strategy making and implementation within a HE case study setting.

– Findings are discussed in terms of: first, dealing with everyday computing ethical issues facing HE, such as common information technology (IT) threats and data protection; second, responding to ethical opportunities, dilemmas and challenges associated with the adoption of new information and communication technology in areas such as eLearning; and third, harnessing aligned IT opportunities, computing ethics and organizational values for long-term strategy development.

Research limitations/implications
– This paper is important for strategic decision makers as they consider the joined-up nature of computing ethics and organizational strategy. Explicating hidden ethical opportunity and threat dimensions of eLearning, computing networks and organizational design should be an area for future research. The authors are limited by the use of a single case study, and generalizability of findings.

– The contribution of the paper is a macro-analytical and conceptual approach that explores tentative links between computing ethics, corporate values and strategy making, while supporting future empirical studies between traditionally disparate research domains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-16
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Information and Learning Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2015

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