Information Technology and Ethics/Role of Ethics in Risk Management

Introduction edit

Foundational Knowledge edit

Ethics are simply a moral set of rules society utilizes in order to guide our decision making on what the acceptable choice is.[1] While many choices appear to be correct it is these ethics that play a colossal role in choices that have effects over more than just ourselves. In this way we use ethics to justify actions to ensure fairness when it comes to business and risk management. These ethical choices, values, and reasoning that we construct have a fundamental impact on decision making which in turn play a vital role on the outcomes of risk management.[2] The final verdict which should be carefully selected by an individual or company regarding their response to a potential risk will ripple through the organization. The ramifications of this decision will then be placed on the stakeholders who will experience the benefits or consequences based on the ethical choice made.

Reasoning for Ethical Practice's edit

There are reasons to consider that good ethical practice is an essential part of risk management which includes identifying possible problems, preventing fraud, the preservation of corporate reputation, and mitigating penalties, etc. If these measures are met, we generally determine an organization is successful in risk management as they have clear vision and ethical qualities.[3]

In turn it is crucial to note that there are reasons to consider that bad ethical practice is just as impactful as a good ethical decision in risk management. This includes but is not limited to the same identifiable actors listed above. When an ethical decision is not made with the best judgment businesses can be damaged to varying levels as shown in an example below.

Businesses such as Siemens have faced huge fines due to ethical issues and paid around one billion Euros because of its corruption scandal. FTC had imposed a penalty of $5 billion on Facebook (now Meta) for violating consumers’ privacy and the penalty is almost 20 times greater than the largest privacy or data security penalty ever imposed worldwide.

Importance edit

Due to the influence ethics have, the impacts whether they are bad or good are vastly important to understand and have recently come to light. Ethics has often been seen as something outside the normal business practice, something which is good to have, but it is often neglected due to the hunger for making higher profits. It is fair to say that good ethics is also good business and treating your employees, customers, shareholders, and stakeholders fairly helps to build a firm’s reputation and brand, while attracting the best employees and business partners. On the other hand, creating the impression that ethical behavior is not important to a firm is incredibly damaging to its reputation and business prospects and hence, it can be said that a business that enforces ethical behavior is the key component of managing enterprise risk efficiently and effectively.

Objective edit

The end goal of ethical risk management is to ensure a balance is met. For one it is for businesses to avoid harm while attempting to achieve the utmost benefit for others. This includes the process of weighing all options of potential risks in order to get the most desired response to best benefit the desired groups. In order to help guide this process to achieve the optimal goal many frameworks for ethical relationships and possible solutions for ethical risk management have been developed.

Risk Management in Business edit

Risk is defined as the probability of a threat of injury, damage, loss, or liability that is caused by external or internal vulnerabilities that may be avoided through preventive action and Risk Management is the process of determining an acceptable level of risk, assessing the current level of risk, taking steps to reduce risk to the acceptable level, and maintaining that level of risk.

Risk management helps businesses to identify and deal with potential risks. The mitigation becomes easy if the risk has been identified, it is said that risk can never be zero as there will always be some residual risk but, the impact and its likelihood can be reduced up to some level by mitigating it by an organization. In addition, risk management helps businesses to do decision-making. For any business, assessment and management of risks are the best way to prepare for inadequate events that may come in the way of progress and growth.

Effective Risk Management begins with understanding the risks appetite of the organization. Depending on risk and its significance to the business, business can therefore choose a method to mitigate that risk.

Risk Assessment Techniques for Business edit

Risk assessment is a critical process that businesses use to identify potential risks and evaluate their impact on the organization. There are several techniques that businesses use to assess risks, including qualitative risk assessment, quantitative risk assessment, scenario analysis, fault tree analysis, event tree analysis, and bow tie analysis.

Qualitative Risk Assessment: A risk assessment technique that relies on subjective measures such as expert opinions and past experiences to assess risks. It categorizes risks into low, medium, and high-risk levels using a risk matrix and is useful when data is unavailable or when risks are difficult to quantify.

Quantitative Risk Assessment: A risk assessment technique that uses statistical analysis and numerical simulations to assess the likelihood and impact of risks. It employs complex mathematical models to predict potential outcomes of the identified risks, empowering businesses to make informed decisions in managing risks.

Scenario Analysis: A risk assessment process that involves creating hypothetical situations and assessing their impact on the business. It is often used to evaluate the impact of external factors such as natural disasters, pandemics, or economic downturns. Scenario analysis provides businesses with a better understanding of the potential impact of different risk scenarios.

Fault Tree Analysis: A risk assessment technique that breaks down complex risks into smaller components to determine their causes and potential consequences. It is commonly used in high-risk industries such as nuclear power generation and aviation. Fault tree analysis enables businesses to identify the underlying causes of risks and devise targeted strategies to mitigate them effectively.

Event Tree Analysis: A risk assessment technique that involves identifying all possible outcomes of a peril case and evaluating the probability and impact of each outcome. It is used in industries where the consequences of a risk event can be catastrophic, such as oil and gas exploration and production. Event tree analysis provides businesses with a comprehensive understanding of the potential consequences of a risk event.

Bow Tie Analysis: A risk assessment technique that involves identifying the causes and consequences of a risk event and visually representing them using a bow tie plot. It is commonly used in high-risk industries such as construction and excavation to identify and manage risks effectively. Bow tie analysis provides businesses with a clear understanding of the risk event and its potential impacts, enabling them to develop appropriate risk management strategies.

Risk Mitigation Techniques for Business edit

Risk Avoidance: Risk Avoidance is basically developing an alternative strategy, avoiding a risk often means not performing the risk event, or the act that carries the risk. Risk is generally avoided by the organization when the organization is not ready to accept its risk and prefers to avoid it. For example, the production of a proposed product is canceled because the danger inherent in the manufacturing process creates a risk that outweighs potential profits.

Risk Acceptance: Accepting risk or risk acceptance occurs when a business or individual acknowledges that the potential loss from risk is very minuscule or the effects would be negligible that the risk can be accepted and the business does not need to take any action in order to reduce the risk. Acceptance usually has a very low cost associated with managing the risk (or zero cost), but can have a very high cost in the aftermath of a disruption.

Risk Transfer : Risk transferring is a risk reduction method that transfers the risk to a third party, usually a financial transaction.. The purchase of insurance on certain items is a risk transfer method. The risk is transferred from the organization to the insurance company. A construction project in the Caribbean may purchase hurricane insurance that would cover the cost of a hurricane damaging the construction site.

Risk Reduction: Risk reduction is an investment of funds to reduce the risk of a project. A project manager may hire an expert to review the technical plans or the cost estimate on a project to increase the confidence in that plan and reduce the project risk. Organizations put money on medical care, security guards, and sprinkler alarms to deal with risk by preventing the loss or reducing the chance that will occur.

Risk Management Process for Business edit

Identify Risk: The first step of risk management process  is to identify the risks  which consists of the of reviewing the risk , analyzing the risk and listing the existing risks to the project

Assess Risk: Once risks are identified we  determine the likelihood and consequence of each risk. we try to understand the nature of the risk and its potential to affect project goals and objectives

Control Risk: After this risk scoring activity is executed in the previous step, the management team will be able to prioritize the risks and take decisions over how to  technique to mitigate it

Review Controls: Each of the risks will be monitored and controlled by the organization like which risks can reoccur again or which risk can lead to another major risk.

The rise of Risk Management Plans in Businesses after the Pandemic edit

COVID-19 is proof of how unprepared many businesses were for the unexpected. Lots of businesses faced a financial crisis due to which they had to lay off their employees while some businesses are closed permanently. The effect of impact on one industry was also seen in other industries. The shortage of semiconductor across the world has affected various industries like automobiles, health, technology with chip manufacturers all over the world, and these shortages and financial losses cause inflammation due to which the economy gets affected which eventually affects us.

Pandemic has forced individuals to work from home and changed the way how business was conducted previously. It enforced organizations to prepare their risk management plans more effectively as now new risks are emerging and existing risks are reprioritized in the industry in the teleworking environment. Risk management helps the business to define its future objectives by evaluating the past risks which have already occurred, defining the present risk, and considering the future risks. Any business can lose its direction if its objectives were not defined properly considering risk. After the pandemic, many companies have introduced the risk management departments to their team.

The role of this team is to identify risks, come up with strategies to protect against these risks, execute these strategies, motivate other members of the company to cooperate in these strategies and assess each risk to define its criticality to the business. The risks through which businesses can face adverse effects are categorized as critical risks and they should be treated/mitigated as a priority. The whole goal of risk management is to make sure that the company only takes the risks that will help it achieve its primary objectives while keeping all other risks under control.

Business Ethics edit

As is well understood, ethics are derived from laws. In the business field these laws have helped develop concrete ethics that are universal involving parenting factors such as privacy, transparency, fairness, compliance and more. These parenting factors are what our society then uses to help as the framework for ethics to be introduced into businesses and tailored for the needs of risk management.

Due to modernization and globalization of information being spread at fast rates, principles of ethics for business commerce have been established. Principles are key to the underling factors of business ethics. Without these moral principles business ethics would halt, as many businesses and businessmen are solely fixed on the fastest way to achieve a profitable margin without careful consideration of the affect their decisions play.[4]

The critical point for many businesses is understanding the line at which a company should act ethically when handling information and conducting business practices. The continuation of a functionally ethical business may come at a cost of profits and product longevity, depending on the societal and internal impacts a businesses decision may have.

Principles of Business Ethics edit

The principles of business ethics use an analysis examining the impact the risk will have compared to the likelihood of the risk happening.[5] By focusing on what risks need to be labeled as high priority the correct order and decision making can be followed without creating any bias. Further this analysis helps create information security along with the CIA Triad. From this perspective a well-balanced leadership to help stimulate growth for business and entrust a plan to be followed for risk management occurs.  

Some of the major business ethics that have then stemmed from these core principles are transparency, responsibility, and equality.[6] These are the 3 pillars that business ethics are established on, however numerous other ethics apply to business and can fall under other categories.

Transparency edit

Business ethics is a newer topic that has a huge impact on the outlook people may have on a business. General wrongdoings of immoral action can lead to destructive outcomes for a businesses lifespan.

Knowing wrongdoing can cause such damage to this affect transparency among the business and its users becomes essential as it allows consumers to understand the agreement if the service the business is being provided. This way the consumer can understand the risks versus reward for the business. Furthermore, this ethic of transparency helps keep businesses trustworthy in order to maintain reputation in the field leading to more revenue. Transparency of a business can also be maintained by law in terms of finances and more. By making sure businesses are ethically transparent in every facet from financials to employee’s society will ethically become secure and able to respond in such moments of risk.

Responsibility edit

Questions of ethics exist in many scenarios throughout the lifespan of a business. They can become of focus when determining the course of action for profit over employee satisfaction or expedited product development over secure testing and completeness. A business has moral obligations amongst these transactions, and it is in their interest to uphold an ethical standard to maintain a congruent relationship for future interactions.

The ethic of responsibility is the concept that those leading are adequate to fulfill their position. It is the responsibility of the company to provide their business service in the best way possible while being safe and practical in the manner. Further the ethic of responsibility includes that polices are being upheld. In terms of business risk management, it is the responsibility for protection systems to be in place in order to divert the opportunity of such an attack. Further there is the responsibility of incident teams to act on such attacks and mitigate the impact. All sectors of business are to work coherently and be effective for the end goal.

Equality edit

The importance of not just seeming ethical but acting ethically can also determine the moral scope that a company successfully withholds to. Companies deceiving consumers and employees about their moral intentions will ultimately run into extreme cases of backlash in moments of failure and exposure to the unethical practices performed. Not only does this enhance the transparency of the company but it creates a level playing field birthing equality for competitiveness. Equality is such an important ethic to have in business as it unties those of different cultures, religions and more to a unified purpose benefiting the organization. Further equality can be with gender and pay as nations across the globe have struggled achieving.

Equality ultimately mirrors the market that most businesses are targeting and allows businesses to have the greatest opportunity to increase services allowing high profits.

Implementation of Business Ethics edit

Business ethics are part of policy planning. Just as in risk management steps are provided to make the correct path. While picking the correct solution can be difficult as many solutions may present themselves implementation should be fast and effective. This process is crucial to ensure ethics and risk management have a strong relationship.

Advantages of Business Ethics edit

Business ethics affect all levels of an organization and should thus be examined thoroughly. Not only will business ethics help comply with law, but it will ensure that as risks and vulnerabilities occur the correct implementation of policy. As for business commerce, ethics are said to help relationships and have an overall positive impact on results thus leading to the mitigation or risks.[7]

Relationship between Risk Management and Ethics edit

Companies face various risks that could continually hurt their stakeholders in today's commercial world. Internal or external reasons, including cyberattacks, data breaches, and unethical employee behavior, may cause these risks. External risks include economic downturns, geopolitical tensions, and natural disasters.

Companies must establish efficient risk management plans to deal with these risks, which reduce the possibility of negative outcomes while also being compliant with moral principles. As an illustration, a company might decide to pursue a plan that entails taking chances that could hurt stakeholders, which is often regarded as immoral [20]. A corporation must regularly invest significant resources in risk management, including detecting potential hazards, evaluating their likelihood and impact, and putting in place suitable procedures to reduce them to be considered ethical.

Making the distinction between opportunity (positive risk) and negative risk is crucial when discussing risk management and ethics. Events with a negative impact on the company are considered negative, while those with a good influence are considered positive. Effective risk management entails detecting and managing both types of risks to obtain the best results for the firm [21]. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) uses a few guidelines to determine what constitutes acceptable risk management, emphasizing that the resources used to reduce risk should be less expensive than the cost of doing nothing. Given that resources are limited and must be used wisely, this principle emphasizes the significance of successfully distributing resources to manage risk [20].

Adhering to the three fundamental disciplines of governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) is another strategy for conducting ethical business in firms. In this context, "governance" refers to the procedures mirrored in the organizational structure, such as the duties assigned to senior management, the board of directors, and other important stakeholders. Risk management is the process of anticipating and controlling all types of hazards that an organizational entity may face, including both positive and negative risks [22]. Compliance is the act of adhering to boundaries, both voluntary and legal, such as rules, guidelines, and standards.

One way a business can establish a holistic strategy to harmonize the relationship between risk management and ethics is to address these disciplines in great detail. Such a strategy entails creating policies and practices that encourage moral conduct, recognizing and effectively managing risks, and abiding by relevant laws and regulations [23]. Companies can accomplish long-term success and increase stakeholder trust by doing this.

All in all, it is up to the risk managers to do ethically good without failing in matters of competence. It is because failing in matters of competence as well as diligence can cause serious effects on areas such as health. Ethics help to guide the risk managers so as to ensure that other people in the organization are not impacted negatively. There are so many people in the organization, such as the employees, clients, and leaders, among other stakeholders, who needs to be protected from any form of risk; thus, risk managers must act ethically to protect them by identifying the risk and allowing its mitigation. Further, for every company to be able to manage risks, it is up to every to act ethically, whereby they should allow morals to guide their decisions as well as their behaviors. Bad ethics can only lead to poor risk management. Therefore, it is up to those in the management of risk to employing good ethics for an effective risk management.

The Role of Ethics in Risk Management edit

Ethics is a crucial component in many professional fields, most notably in risk management. In this field, ethical principles guide decision-making for most, if not all, roles within a company. This includes employees, leaders, shareholders, stakeholders, and anyone else involved. The impact of these ethical decisions can vary greatly, depending on who is affected. Professionals in the risk management field must carefully analyze and identify potential risks before taking action by considering the ethical implications of their choices. These ethics play a vital role in this decision-making process, as they can lead to either positive or negative consequences for the company and its various stakeholders. In such a complex and ever-changing field, it is mandatory that those involved in risk management maintain a strong sense of ethical responsibility to minimize harm and ensure the long-term success of the company. [2]

Researchers have explored and studied many different levels and degrees of ethics in risk management, from globalization advances to technological advances to intangible assets and talent management. Despite the fact that many different factors may influence ethical behavior and intentions, some of these factors can cause problems for individuals involved. Many of these problems include increased competition, pressure for increased profits, pressure for positive returns on investment, political corruption, ever-changing morals of younger generations, a focus on fast money and profit, and a sense of social responsibility. All of these factors have the potential to create risks for a business, and, as such, managing them effectively requires a deep understanding of ethical principles and their practical application in the business world. [2]

Ethics can have a profound impact on a business in one of two possible ways: good ethics, which can lead to good business, or bad ethics, which can lead to bad business. When companies prioritize treating their employees and customers with fairness and honesty, they can accomplish many things, including the formation of strong relationships, building positive reputations, and attracting more customers, employees, and business partners. However, when a company engages in bad ethical behavior, it can damage its reputation and prospects in a major way. Not only can it impact the business as a whole, but it can also have negative effects on stakeholders within the organization. Thus, implementing good ethical behavior is key to effectively managing risk across the business. By prioritizing ethical practices, companies can minimize potential risks while maximizing their chances of long-term success. [15]

The Pros and Cons of Risk Management edit

Ethics plays a vital role in risk management, and its impact on the business goes far beyond profit and loss. The public ethics of a business can affect the amount of customers, relationships to those customers, and the business's reputation in the market. When a business behaves ethically, it creates a sense of security and comfort in the customers' minds. Which, in turn, motivates them to purchase more products or services. Such ethical behavior also ensures that the employees working in the business are satisfied and constantly motivated to work towards the company's goals. [24] Employees and consumers do not want to be associated with any unethical practices, nor would they want to be a part of an organization that promotes unethical values. This helps the company's future, specifically in attracting more employees to the business and retaining current employees. If performed properly, this should lead to positive growth of the business.

Apart from customers and employees, ethical practices can also attract business partners and investors. If they know that their money will be used in a responsible and ethical way, they will be more inclined to partner with the business. This helps to build a positive image of the business in the eyes of the public. [24] Ethical conduct in risk management can help the business as a whole, including its customers, employees, business partners, and investors.

Even though good ethical behavior in risk management will have many benefits impacting society, there are also quite a few disadvantages to these ethics. One such disadvantage is that it may put a limit on the business's ability to maximize profits. This due to the fact that ethical practices may involve additional costs, such as implementing better working conditions or using more expensive materials. Another disadvantage is that the implementation of ethical practices can be time-consuming, as every employee must undergo the necessary ethical training. The training must also grow alongside the growth of the business. Another potential drawback of ethical risk management is that it can sometimes lead to an overly cautious approach of plans, which may restrict a company's ability to evolve as well as their ability to take risks. Finally, there is a risk of ethical risk management becoming too rigid, which can put a stranglehold on the creativity and flexibility of the organization. [17]

Possible Solutions for Ethical Risk Management (ERM) edit

An ethical risk management approach is concerned with the infrastructure that encourages ethical behavior, i.e., the instructions and supports that control risks connected with unethical acts while also providing incentives to promote ethical behavior. Some possible solutions for ERM are: [11]

Governance: edit

The board of directors and senior management should create a positive tone at the top and ensure that corporate compliance and ethics initiatives have enough resources. Corporate governance promotes a reliable, moral, and ethical environment where Transparency,, honesty, and integrity are at the core of corporate governance.

Privacy: edit

Privacy is so deeply ingrained in risk management practice that the rule of silence can hurt risk managers. However, this concept is worth highlighting since it is critical for public acceptability of risk management. Risk managers should be reminded to address hazards to employee privacy when new sources of risk arise.

Honesty and Transparency: edit

Risk managers should strive for the maximum degree of honesty and openness possible. Although a duty of honesty is unlikely to be contentious, some may object to a duty of openness because they believe that reporting damage or ongoing hazards ( to employees) might hurt the organization. Nonetheless, risk managers must permit informed decision-making by being upfront about risks and actual damages to respect employees' autonomy.

Avoidance of Suffering: edit

Prudence necessitates persons to use a level of judgment that does not exacerbate a problem. It relates to actions in which the risk of damage outweighs the benefit. A risk management plan should be built to ensure that pain and suffering must be avoided and mitigated.

Whistleblowing: edit

When colleagues want to address another professional's unethical behavior or action, there must be ethical and proper guidelines for an employee to report these incidents. Employees should also consider the severity of reporting such issues and how they are reported, to cause less drastic causes of action and provide a meaningful change.

Staff Development and Training: edit

Promoting an ethical culture is a must, and it is becoming increasingly apparent. Employees and Managers need to be trained in essential topics relevant to their field. These topics must include professional ethics and liability.

Promote your values and lead by example: edit

A list of principles that includes the phrases "honesty," "integrity," or "accountability" is commonplace in corporations. It's a wonderful idea to have these in writing, but if the rules aren't followed, the words have no real significance. You must go beyond simply mentioning them in the company description. Make sure your behavior as a leader aligns with the organization's values; if employees know they must adhere to them and have a role model to follow, they are more likely to do so. Employees who work for an unethical employer are unlikely to be motivated.

Use your organization's structure to deter unethical activities: edit

When they believe they won't be detected or held accountable, people frequently act in ways that are inappropriate. Teams with poor management, isolated locations, or people whose work is never questioned are all great environments for the development of unethical behaviors. In order to prevent employees from thinking an immoral conduct will go unreported, make sure the proper management and checking processes are in place.

Respond: edit

In order to discover unethical behavior within your organization swiftly, it's critical to respond upon every spot check and report. When they are found, react quickly and fairly. A list of punishments should be established in advance and made widely known so that there is no room for interpretation over what constitutes a reprimand, probation, or termination. Don't publicly criticize the employee; if the incident's specifics must be disclosed, do so in a kind manner and serve as a lesson for the organization going forward. Consistency is the key to all of these mitigating strategies: live by your beliefs, teach your staff to act ethically and to report anyone who doesn't, and react consistently to all unethical behavior. By doing this, you may influence how your company is perceived by its staff and consumers, increasing the likelihood that they will follow the standards necessary to uphold this reputation. These actions should reduce the terrifying risk of ethical catastrophes to a manageable level.

Implement a system for reporting unethical behaviour: edit

Employees must have a method to report unethical behavior if they are aware of it or have reason to believe it is occurring within their business.It's crucial to remember that many people wouldn't feel comfortable approaching their manager directly. This could be because a superior is carrying out the wrongdoing, earlier reports have been disregarded, or the employee is afraid that the person doing the wrong will find out who reported them. Because of these factors, every company ought to set up an anonymous reporting mechanism. To encourage employees to submit precise incident information, this system should ideally be managed by a third party from outside the company. Without this, ethical risk management is all but impossible because even routine incidents might not be reported.

Conclusion edit

Risk management is a critical process that involves identifying, assessing, controlling, and reviewing potential risks to a business. These risks can come from various sources, including economic, technological, regulatory, social, and even environmental factors. As the business environment continues to evolve, so does that of risk management. This requires that businesses need to stay informed in order to manage risk safely and effectively. In order to assist environmental growth, business ethics have been forced to change as well.

Ethics play an essential role in risk management, especially in a business sense. Ethics deals with the principles of right and wrong, and ethical conduct is critical for building trust with those involved in the company, maintaining a positive reputation, and avoiding legal and regulatory issues. Ethical risk management involves the identification and assessment of business decisions. Specifically, the ethical implications of them. By examining these decisions, steps can start to be taken in order to minimize negative impacts. Organizations that prioritize ethical values and practices are more likely to have a positive impact on their employees, customers, business partners, investors, and society.

There are many ways that organizations can promote ethical conduct and manage ethical risks, such as governance, privacy, transparency, avoidance of suffering, and whistleblowing. Governance refers to the policies, procedures, and systems that guide decision-making, ensuring compliance with laws and regulations. Privacy is concerned with the protecting of sensitive data and the respecting of individuals' rights to confidentiality. Transparency involves being truthful and communicative in all areas, including reporting financial results and disclosing potential risks. Avoidance of suffering involves taking steps to minimize harm to stakeholders, such as workers or local communities. Whistleblowing is the reporting of misconduct by employees, which can help to prevent and describe the unethical behavior of the business.

Promoting ethical conduct and managing ethical risks has countless benefits for organizations. By prioritizing ethical values and practices, businesses can build trust with stakeholders, maintain a positive reputation, avoid legal and regulatory issues, and create a safer and healthier work environment. Ethical conduct can also contribute to higher profits by increasing customer and employee loyalty, attracting ethical investors, and reducing instances of fraud. Successful risk management, management that incorporates ethical values, is essential for the long-term sustainability and success of any business.

References edit

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