3. ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP IMPERATIVES.
As an ACM member and an organizational leader, I will ....
BACKGROUND NOTE:This section draws extensively from the draft
IFIP Code of Ethics,especially its sections on organizational ethics and
international concerns. The ethical obligations of organizations tend to
be neglected in most codes of professional conduct, perhaps because these
codes are written from the perspective of the individual member. This dilemma
is addressed by stating these imperatives from the perspective of the organizational
leader. In this context"leader" is viewed as any organizational
member who has leadership or educational responsibilities. These imperatives
generally may apply to organizations as well as their leaders. In this
context"organizations" are corporations, government agencies,and
other "employers," as well as volunteer professional organizations.
3.1 Articulate social responsibilities of members of an organizational
unit and encourage full acceptance of those responsibilities.
Because organizations of all kinds have impacts on the public, they
must accept responsibilities to society. Organizational procedures and
attitudes oriented toward quality and the welfare of society will reduce
harm to members of the public, thereby serving public interest and fulfilling
social responsibility. Therefore,organizational leaders must encourage
full participation in meeting social responsibilities as well as quality
3.2 Manage personnel and resources to design and build information
systems that enhance the quality of working life.
Organizational leaders are responsible for ensuring that computer systems
enhance, not degrade, the quality of working life. When implementing a
computer system, organizations must consider the personal and professional
development, physical safety, and human dignity of all workers. Appropriate
human-computer ergonomic standards should be considered in system design
and in the workplace.
3.3 Acknowledge and support proper and authorized uses of an organization's
computing and communication resources.
Because computer systems can become tools to harm as well as to benefit
an organization, the leadership has the responsibility to clearly define
appropriate and inappropriate uses of organizational computing resources.
While the number and scope of such rules should be minimal, they should
be fully enforced when established.
3.4 Ensure that users and those who will be affected by a system
have their needs clearly articulated during the assessment and design of requirements;
later the system must be validated to meet requirements.
Current system users, potential users and other persons whose lives
may be affected by a system must have their needs assessed and incorporated
in the statement of requirements. System validation should ensure compliance
with those requirements.
3.5 Articulate and support policies that protect the dignity of users
and others affected by a computing system.
Designing or implementing systems that deliberately or inadvertently
demean individuals or groups is ethically unacceptable. Computer professionals
who are in decision making positions should verify that systems are designed
and implemented to protect personal privacy and enhance personal dignity.
3.6 Create opportunities for members of the organization to learn
the principles and limitations of computer systems.
This complements the imperative on public understanding (2.7).
Educational opportunities are essential to facilitate optimal participation
of all organizational members. Opportunities must be available to all members
to help them improve their knowledge and skills in computing, including
courses that familiarize them with the consequences and limitations of
particular types of systems.In particular, professionals must be made aware
of the dangers of building systems around oversimplified models, the improbability
of anticipating and designing for every possible operating condition, and
other issues related to the complexity of this profession.
[Back to CONTENTS]
4. COMPLIANCE WITH THE CODE.
As an ACM member I will ....
4.1 Uphold and promote the principles of this Code.
The future of the computing profession depends on both technical and
ethical excellence. Not only is it important for ACM computing professionals
to adhere to the principles expressed in this Code, each member should
encourage and support adherence by other members.
4.2 Treat violations of this code as inconsistent with membership
in the ACM.
Adherence of professionals to a code of ethics is largely a voluntary
matter. However, if a member does not follow this code by engaging in gross
misconduct, membership in ACM may be terminated.
[Back to CONTENTS]
This Code and the supplemental Guidelines were developed by the Task
Force for the Revision of the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct:
Ronald E. Anderson, Chair, Gerald Engel, Donald Gotterbarn, Grace C. Hertlein,
Alex Hoffman, Bruce Jawer, Deborah G. Johnson, Doris K. Lidtke, Joyce Currie
Little, Dianne Martin, Donn B. Parker, Judith A. Perrolle, and Richard
S. Rosenberg. The Task Force was organized by ACM/SIGCAS and funding was
provided by the ACM SIG Discretionary Fund. This Code and the supplemental
Guidelines were adopted by the ACM Council on October 16, 1992.
[Back to the Top]