Ethics As A Socio-Technical Approach: Databases Essay


Discuss about the Ethics as a Socio-Technical Approach for Databases.


About Socio-Technical Design

In the modern times there are diverse categories of Information technologies that includes databases, connoisseur systems, cloud-computing applications, transaction-processing systems, internet based systems, assessment support systems and much more. The applications of these systems are different from the worldwide Internet based systems to the personal based systems (Peppard and Ward 2016).

This report deals about the early development of ETHICS system and how it has altered with time. This report further investigates about the fact how the ETHICS is a new socio-technical approach to the information systems in the modern times.

The socio-technical coordination design plan was the outcome of the efforts of a group of societal scientists who collaborated at the end of the World War II and formed the Tavistock Institute of Human relationships in London. The Tavistock institute was a clinic that used therapeutic procedures that apprehended with the psychological health and individual development. This was the preliminary objective of the institute, although gradually these ideas were implemented on the workers of the various industries (Chai and Kim 2012).

Development of ETHICS

ETHICS was a participational method that has been developed by Professor Enid Mumford that has been based on her socio-technical experiences. This term is also defined as ETHICS (Effective Technical And Human Implementation of Computer based Systems). ETHICS is also referred as a socio-technical approach that recognizes the collaboration of systems, technology and people that is in turn effective in producing outputs that are equally technically effective and had social characteristics that ultimately leads to a higher job satisfaction. The ETHICS approach was formulated on the investigation and study of case studies that revolved around failures of many systems that followed more traditional courses and directions based on the technical and economic factors (Mumford 2013).

From these case studies and observation it was finally justified that the development of the information systems was not something that was related to the technical issue but it was more related to the organizational issues that was instrumentally concerned and subjected to the process of change.

The earlier models of ETHICS was related and concerned with the facts that ensured about the users being contented with their jobs and the effort to determine the influence of information technology on their jobs as well as the perception of the fact that these technologies were considered as the mediator of the changes within the organization.

Stages of ETHICS

The individual users, managers and the IT staffs were the main persons who used to incorporate this method using the different stages of ETHICS. This methodology was extended to the consideration related to the issues that signifies the availability and dependability after they were introduced into the system. The earlier stages of ETHICS possessed seven stages but gradually these stages were expanded to fifteen levels and stages. These stages of ETHICS have been briefly cited below.

  • Stage 1 – Need for these changes
  • Stage 2 – The identification of the system boundaries and limitations
  • Stage 3 – Description and the definition of the pre-existing system structure
  • Stage 4,5 and 6 – Characterization of the key purpose and the tasks that needs to be achieved
  • Stage 7 – Diagnosis or identification of the effective changes
  • Stage 8 – Identification of the job satisfaction needs amongst the employees or individuals
  • Stage 9 – Future analysis
  • Stage 10 – Specifying and measuring of the job satisfaction levels
  • Stage 11 – Organizational designing of the new system
  • Stage 12 – The technical specifications
  • Stage 13 – preparation of a full detailed analysis of the work design
  • Stage 14 – Implementation
  • Stage 15 – Evaluation or Calculation

Criticism of ETHICS and its rectification

ETHICS faced a number of criticisms in the process of application. Criticism came in form of feedbacks such as, unskilled or less capable users cannot design, the organizational management to reject the system, it revoke the right of the managers to monitor and analyze the crisis and it is a slow and costly method in terms of staff, time and efforts (Stahl 2012).

In order to mitigate these concerns over the applications of ETHICS, a more advanced and developed system known as QUICK ethics (Quality Information from Considered Knowledge), that was fundamental in developing and retain the managerial interests.

Thus, it can be justified that ETHICS is one of the newer and advanced way for the socio-technical development in organizations. This advanced and innovative way to measure and analyze the failures and effectively manipulate the job satisfaction amongst the employees and the organizational management is one of successful procedures in the information systems module.


Chai, S. and Kim, M., 2012. A socio-technical approach to knowledge contribution behavior: An empirical investigation of social networking sites users. International Journal of Information Management, 32(2), pp.118-126.

Mumford, E., 2013. Values, technology and work (Vol. 3). Springer Science & Business Media.

Peppard, J. and Ward, J., 2016. The strategic management of information systems: Building a digital strategy. John Wiley & Sons.

Stahl, B.C., 2012. Morality, ethics, and reflection: a categorization of normative IS research. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 13(8), p.636.

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