ICT Governance and What to Do About the Toothless Tiger(s): Professional Organizations and Codes of Ethics

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ICT has had numerous unfortunate incidents in planning, development, and delivery. A typical response to these incidents is to both complain about the toothless tiger of unenforced and unenforceable technical and professional standards and to also advocate the development and implementation of strong government regulations - licensing and legislation. These regulations constitute one form of what has been called "ICT governance". Unfortunately, there are significant limitations to both the constraining regulations approach and the vague toothless tiger approach to ICT governance. There is an approach to ICT governance which takes advantage of and strengthens some roles of professional organisations and avoids the dangers of giving government malformed regulatory teeth which limit the positive potentials of ICT and introduce overt harms. The purpose of this paper is to define strategies for professional organisations to meet their responsibilities to the ICT profession and ICT professional; a strategy which moves toward regulation without curtailing ICT potential with ineffective sanctions. Professional organisations need a strategy for reducing negative incidents and improving professional responsibility without simply introducing sanctions on a narrow range of practitioners who happen to be members of that organisation. There are ways in which the toothless tiger(s) can have a significant positive influence.

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