Ethics in the Design and Use of “Best Practice” Incorporated in Enterprise Information Systems

  • C. M. Bull
  • A. E. Adam


This paper deploys case study research to examine the ethical issues arising from the design and use of “best practice” incorporated in enterprise packaged software, specifically a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. CRM like other Enterprise Information Systems (EIS) e.g. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) are global phenomena, increasingly influencing the strategic direction of a diverse range of organisations. Whilst the research on EIS continues to grow in a number of specific areas, there have been relatively few studies to examine the ethical issues associated with the design and use of such Information Systems (IS). This research reflects on MacIntyre’s ideas in virtue ethics (MacIntyre A. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (2/e). 1985: Duckworth, London), particularly his notion of “practice” to assess how such issues affect individuals in organisational life? For the purposes of scope we restrict our focus to the ethical issues arising from changes in task allocation and autonomy, and some of the associated issues in performance setting, monitoring and surveillance.


Information System Customer Relationship Management Task Allocation Enterprise Resource Planning Enterprise Resource Planning System 
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. 1.
    MacIntyre, A., After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (2/e). 1985: Duckworth, London.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bull, C.M., Strategic Issues in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Implementation. Business Process Management Journal, 2003. 9(5): p. 592–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Newell, F., Customer Relationship Management in the New Era of Internet Marketing. 2000: McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Fosser, E., et al. Organisations and Vanilla Software: What Do We Know About ERP Systems and Competitive Advantage. in Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Information Systems. Galway, Ireland, 2008.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zablah, A.R., D.N. Bellenger, and W.J. Johnson, An Evaluation of Divergent Perspectives on Customer Relationship Management: Towards a Common Understanding of an Emerging Phenomenon. Industrial Marketing Management, 2004. 33(6): p. 475–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sumner, M., Risk Factors in Enterprise-wide/ERP Projects. Journal of Information Technology, 2000. 15(4): 317–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Parr, A. and Shanks, G. A Model of ERP Project Implementation. Journal of Information Technology, 2000. 15(4): 289–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bull, C.M. Politics in Packaged Software Implementation. In Proceedings of the 11th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS). Naples, Italy, 2003.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Light, B., The Maintenance Implications of the Customisation of ERP Software. The Journal of Software Maintenance: Research and Practice, 2001. 13(6): 415–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Wagner, E.L. and S. Newell, ‘Best’ for Whom?: the Tension Between ‘Best Practice’ and ERP Packages and Diverse Epistemic Cultures in a University Context. . Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 2004. 13(4): p. 305–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Adam, A.E. and C.M. Bull. Exploring MacIntyre’s Virtue Ethics in Relation to Information Systems. In Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS). Galway, Ireland, 2008.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Adam, A.E. and B. Light, Selling Packaged Software: An Ethical Analysis. In Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems. Turku, Finland, 2004.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Walsham, G., Ethical Theory, Codes of Ethics and IS Practice. Information Systems Journal, 1996, 6(1): 69–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Moore, G. and R. Beadle, In Search of Organizational Virtue in Business: Agents, Goods, Practices, Institutions and Environments. Organization Studies, 2006, 27(3): 369–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Walsham, G., Interpretive Case Studies in IS Research: Nature and Method. European Journal of Information Systems, 1995, 4(2): 74–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Stake, R.E., Case Studies, in Handbook of Qualitative Research, N.K. Denzin and Y.S. Lincoln, Editors. 2000, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 435–454.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Van Der Blonk, H., Writing Case Studies in Information Systems Research. Journal of Information Technology, 2003, 18(1): p. 45–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Manchester Metropolitan University Business SchoolManchesterUK
  2. 2.University of SalfordSalfordUK

Personalised recommendations