‘Good to know’: An Exploration of the role and Influence of Professional Ethics in ICT Bodies of Knowledge (BoKs)
Keywords:Bodies of Knowledge, knowledge codification, ethics, ICT profession, Knowledge Management, professional education
As our dependency on ever-more complex, opaque, and ubiquitous information and communication technologies (ICTs) increases, ethical concerns about the development of those technologies are also rising. One approach to mitigate these concerns is to improve the maturity of the ICT profession through codification of its knowledge base and professional ethics. In this paper, some key theoretical approaches to ethics with a long-established tradition within Philosophy are explored and how these approaches may manifest in the codification of knowledge within ICT Bodies of Knowledge (BoKs) is discussed. BoKs provide a common vocabulary and knowledge inventory to aid communication and encourage shared values and practices, particularly in emerging professional areas such as the ICT profession. Thus, identifying and understanding how ethics are codified in ICT BoKs is important for maturing ICT professional practice in general, and more specifically, for the resolution of ethical concerns. This paper 1) explores considerations and approaches to how ethics are incorporated within ICT BoKs, and 2) conducts content analysis on how ethics are codified within the content structure of ICT Boks. It is found that theoretical ethical approaches are rarely explicated cited in BoKS though, in the more mature BoKs, the discussion of ethics does include consideration of most of the major philosophical approaches. The implications of how knowledge about ethics is described and integrated into the wider knowledge infrastructure of the ICT profession including curriculum guidelines and accreditation processes is discussed. In a wider contribution to the Knowledge Management discipline, potential lessons to increase maturity for other emerging professions through the development of BoKs are also outlined.
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