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Business and Professional Ethics Journal

Volume 28, Issue 1/4, 2009

Peter Haried, Derek Nazareth
Pages 65-94

Examining International Information Technology Sourcing through an Ethical Lens
An Application of Alternative Ethical Frameworks

This paper examines the international information technology (IT) sourcing decision from an ethical perspective. The international sourcing of IT activities, termed IT offshoring in this paper, has received considerable attention recently. Differing views on IT offshoring prevail, ranging from the protection view that IT offshoring steals jobs away from the domestic economy, to the market view that it creates jobs and improves the overall global economy through market efficiencies. Despite the large amount of material devoted to managing and evaluating the practice of IT offshoring, the ethical issues surrounding the decision has received little attention. This paper seeks to address that need, examining the IT offshoring decision through the application of a series of ethical frameworks. Several normative theories of ethics, including stockholder theory, stakeholder theory, social contract theory, utilitarianism, and a Kantian’ categorical imperative framework, are employed to gain insights into the ethical aspects of this practice. Our resulting framework represents an early attempt to examine the ethics of the IT offshoring and provides managers with practical guidelines and insights when addressing the IT offshoring decision.

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