Purpose – The purpose of this study is to identify how ethical stances can be used to develop a frame set in the design of a web‐based decision support system (DSS) for ethical decision‐making and to test both the efficacy of these frames and the potential of such a tool for individuals and groups in both leadership development situations and organisational practice. Unethical behaviour by executives is a frequently cited reason for erosion of trust with other stakeholders. Design/methodology/approach – Utilising action research, by choosing ethics frames such as heuristics, a web‐based ethics DSS designed to enable users to explore ethical issues from multiple perspectives was constructed and this was beta‐tested with a major UK bank and a global oil company. Findings – In orchestrating constant revisions of the ethics frames in the tool, learning from each research cycle was identified, a new form of action research, a design action research, which emphasises the importance of collaboration in the design of such decision‐making tools, was offered and the tool for management development and other applications was successfully beta‐tested. Originality/value – It was demonstrated to management developers how web‐based systems might be designed by non‐information technology professionals; the framing literature was added by demonstrating the value of engaging in dialogue about ethical issues of concern to managers and their organisations and thus improving decision‐making; and additions were made to the literature on ethics and Information systems (IS) and contribution toward action research in the fields of IS and ethics was done.
European Journal of Training and Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 27, 2014
Keywords: Action research; Framing; Ethical decision support system; Frames; Heuristics
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