Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 221–231 | Cite as

ICT and an NGO: Difficulties in attempting to be extremely transparent

Original Paper


This paper analyzes the opportunities offered by information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the related ethical issues, within the transparency practices of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Based upon a one-year study of a European NGO, the Italian Association of Blind People, it presents compelling empirical evidence concerning the main ethical, social and economic challenges that NGOs face in the development of more transparent relationships with the public and the related role of ICTs, in particular, the organization’s website. This study shows that, although the attempt to be completely transparent has great ethical value, ICT-enabled information disclosure is limited by privacy and security concerns and by pressure from financial supporters and benefactors and potential NGO competitors who vie for grants and donations. The paper provides some implications and suggestions for managers of NGOs and policy makers.


Non-governmental organization Transparency 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Engineering and Public PolicyCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Catholic University of PortugalFCEELisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Center for the Advancement of Applied Ethics and Political PhilosophyCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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