Moral Problems in Industry-Academia Partnership – The Viewpoint of Clients on a Project Course

  • Tero Vartiainen

Industry-academia partnerships are common in the IT field because they benefit both parties. Research on moral issues in these relations is scarce, and this case study is aimed at increasing knowledge in this area by investigating moral problems in a form of partnership, a collaborative IT project with a university. Twenty-one client representatives from IT firms or organisations were interviewed during a project course in information systems. The analysis was inspired by phenomenography. The results show that concern for the beneficial objectives of the client organisations typically conflicts with concern for students and their learning objectives. A two-dimensional structure constituting six types of moral problems was determined. The results are compared with the existing literature, and recommendations for practice and research are presented.


Business Ethic Social Responsibility Moral Agent Moral Dilemma Moral Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Audi, R. (Ed.) 1995. The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bergeron, B.P. 1996. Academia, Privacy and Modern Information Technology: Partnering With Industry in the Modern Economy. SIGDOC’96. 243-245.Google Scholar
  3. Blake, R.R., Mouton, J.S. 1978. The New Managerial Grid. Houston: Gulf Pub-lishing Company. Rererenced in F.E. Kast, J.E., Rosenzweig 1985. Organiza-tion & Management, A Systems and Contingency Approach. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  4. Boddy, D. 2002. Managing Projects: Building and Leading the Team. Harlow, Es-sex: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  5. Brittain, K., Leifer, R. 1986. Information Systems Development Success: Perspec-tives from Project Team Participants. MIS Quarterly 10 (3), 215-223.Google Scholar
  6. Buchholz, R.A., Rosenthal, S.B. 1999 Social responsibility and business ethics. In Frederick, R.E. (ed.) A Companion to Business Ethics. Oxford, UK: Black-well Publishers. 303-321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carroll, A.B. 1999. Ethics in Management. In R.E. Frederick (Ed.) A Companion to Business Ethics. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. 141-152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Culnan, M.J. 1987. Mapping the Intellectual Structure of MIS, 1980-1985: A Co-Citation Analysis. MIS Quarterly 11 (3), 341-353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fielden, K. 1999. Starting Right: Ethical Education for Information Systems De-velopers. In C.R. Simpson (Ed.) AICEC99 Conference Proceedings, 14-16 July 1999. Melbourne. Brunswick East, Victoria: Australian Institute of Com-puter Ethics. 147-156.Google Scholar
  10. Fielding, N. 1993. Qualitative Interviewing. In N. Gilbert (Ed.) Researching So-cial Life. London: SAGE Publications. 135-153.Google Scholar
  11. Francis, H. 1993. Advancing Phenomenography. Nordisk Pedagogik 13 (2), 68-75.MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  12. Fritz, J.M. 1987. A pragmatic approach to systems analysis and design. In A.K. Rigler, D.C. St. Clair (Eds.) Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education. Proceedings of the eighteenth SIGCSE technical symposium on Computer science education, St. Louis, Missouri, United States. New York: ACM Press. 127-131.Google Scholar
  13. Gorgone, J.T., Davis G.B., Valacich, J.S., Topi, H., Feinstein, D.L. Longenecker, H.E.Jr. 2002. IS 2002. Model Curriculum and Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Information Systems. Association for Computing Ma-chinery (ACM), Association for Information Systems (AIS), Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP). Communications of AIS 11, Article 1.Google Scholar
  14. Gowans, C.W. 1987. The Debate on Moral Dilemmas In C.W. Gowans (Ed.) Moral Dilemmas. New York: Oxford University Press. 3-33.Google Scholar
  15. Greenberg, J., Baron, R.A. 1995. Behavior in Organizations. Prectice Hall.Google Scholar
  16. Hoffman, M. 1982. Affect and moral development. In H. Cicchetti (Ed.) New di-rections for child development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Referenced in Packer, M.J. 1985. The Structure of Moral Action: A Hermeneutic Study of Moral Conflict. Basel: Karger.Google Scholar
  17. Johnson, D.G. 1995. Professional ethics. In D.G. Johnson, H. Nissenbaum (Eds.) Computers, Ethics, and Social Values. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 559-572.Google Scholar
  18. Järvinen, P. 2001. On Research Methods. Tampere, Finland: Opinpaja Oy.Google Scholar
  19. Keithley, D., Redman, T. 1997. University-industry partnerships in management development. A case study of a “world-class” company. Journal of Manage-ment Development 16 (3). 154-166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Klein, H.K., Myers, M.D. 1999. A Set of Principles for Conducting and Evaluat-ing Interpretive Field Studies in Information Systems. MIS Q. 23 (1), 67-94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Krebs, D.L., Denton, K. 1997. The forms and functions of real-life moral decision-making. Journal of Moral Education 26 (2).Google Scholar
  22. Louis, K.S., Anderson M.S. 1998. The Changing Context of Science and Univer-sity-Industry Relations. In (eds.) Etzkowitz, H., Webster, A., Healey, P. 1998. Capitalizing Knowledge. Albany: State University of New York.Google Scholar
  23. Marton, F. 1986. Phenomenography - a research approach to investigating differ-ent understandings of reality. Journal of Thought. 21 (3), 28-49.MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  24. Muhr, T. 1997. Atlas.ti. A software programme. Berlin: Science Software Development.Google Scholar
  25. Packer, M.J. 1985. The Structure of Moral Action: A Hermeneutic Study of Moral Conflict. Basel: Karger.Google Scholar
  26. Piaget, J. 1977. The Moral Judgement of the Child. Harmonsdsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  27. Rest, J.R. 1994. Background: Theory and Research. In J.R. Rest, D. Narvaez (Eds.) Moral Development in the Professions: Psychology and Applied Ethics. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 1-26.Google Scholar
  28. Roberts, E. 2000. Computing Education and the Information Technology Work-force. SIGCSE Bulletin 32 (2), 83-90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Scott, T.J., Tichenor, L.H., Bisland, R.B.Jr., Cross J.H. 1994. Team dynamics in student programing projects. SIGSCE 26 (1), 111-115.Google Scholar
  30. Semprevivo, P.C. 1980. Teams in Information Systems Development. New York: Yourdon Press.Google Scholar
  31. Trauth, E.M. 2001. Qualitative Research in IS: Issues and Trends. Hershey: Idea Group.Google Scholar
  32. Vartiainen, T. 2005. Moral Conflicts in a Project Course in Information Systems Education. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä. Jyväskylä Studies in Comput-ing, 49. Dissertation thesis.Google Scholar
  33. Vitell, S.J., Dickerson, E.B., Festervand, T.A. (2000) Ethical Problems, Conflicts and Beliefs of Small Business Professionals. Journal of Business Ethics. 28, 15-24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Watson, H.J., Huber, M.W. 2000. Innovative ways to connect information systems programs to the business community. Communications of the AIS 3, Art. 11.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tero Vartiainen
    • 1
  1. 1.Pori UnitTurku School of EconomicsFinland

Personalised recommendations