Moral Disengagement in Social Media Generated Big Data

Markus Beckmann, Christian Scheiner, Anica Zeyen

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Big data raises manifold ethical questions. While there is a certain consensus on general principles for addressing these issues, little is known about when and why decision-makers display such ethical conduct or opt for unethical behavior with regard to collecting, storing, analyzing, or using big data. To address this research gap, we draw on the concept of moral disengagement. Moral disengagement describes psychological mechanisms by which individuals rationalize and thus disengage themselves from unethical conduct. We develop a theoretical model in which the motivation for monetary benefits as well as the motivation for hedonic benefits is set into relation to moral disengagement and the tendency to make unethical decisions in the context of social media generated big data. Our model spells out four sets of testable propositions that invite further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-430
Number of pages14
JournalLecture Notes in Computer Science
Early online date31 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Big Data
  • Ethic
  • MoralDisengagement

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