Thursday, March 6, 2003, 8am – 2pm
Fox School of Business and Management
The workshop is intended to provide an opportunity for scholars broadly interested in issues surrounding cyberdeviance to come together to discuss and gain helpful critique of their research papers or works-in-progress in an informal setting. The workshop is limited to a maximum of 12 participants.
The Institute for Business and Information Technology recently hosted a one-day research workshop on the topic of “Cyberdeviance in the Digital Economy: Ethical, Legal, and Economic Implications.” Chaired by Fox School Assistant Professor Lynne Andersson, the workshop provided an engaging forum for scholars interested in understanding the manifestations, causes and consequences of computer-mediated behaviors that run counter to the laws, ethical standards, and/or economic goals governing business organizations. Eleven attendees from Temple and three other area universities (Drexel, NJ Institute of Technology, Saint Joseph’s) presented their research on varied topics such as unethical corporate practices in brand communities, cyberloafing and dysfunctional personal web usage in the workplace, and the potential for loss of personal and corporate freedoms posed by the increasing electronic presence of governments around the world. As a group, participants explored linkages among the theoretical frameworks informing their work as well as the methodological issues unique to the study of corporate and individual behavior in cyberspace. The day concluded with a discussion of possible interventions, including a lively debate concerning the need to incorporate social requirements into the design of information technology systems to foster legitimacy and thus prevent social benefits from corporate cyberdeviant behaviors.
Call for Proposals
Increasingly, business social interactions and economic transactions occur within the broad and constantly changing social context of cyberspace. Research from various disciplines (e.g., communication, computer science, cultural studies, information systems, legal studies, linguistics, marketing, organization and management theory, philosophy, psychology) and varied paradigmatic perspectives has generated rapidly accumulating knowledge of the psychological and experiential features that characterize computer-mediated communication.
Many of these features (e.g., limited sensory experience; invisibility and anonymity; access to numerous and varied relationships; permanent recording and reproducibility) enhance the ambiguous nature of social and economic transactions in cyberspace, creating an environment ripe for disinhibition and social contagion – and thus conducive of behaviors that can be construed as “cyberdeviant.”
Forms of cyberdeviance in the digital economy are many and varied, encompassing behaviors occurring within and between organizations as well as between organizations and their customers. Some directly violate established ethical norms; others fall into a moral gray area. Examples of cyberdeviance include:
inappropriate use of e-mail ∙ spamming ∙ ethnocentrism ∙ harassment ∙ cyberloafing ∙ bandwidth banditry ∙ flaming ∙ forgery ∙ data theft ∙ hackery ∙ cyberaddiction ∙ misleading electronic representation ∙ impostering ∙ eavesdropping ∙ undisclosed surveillance ∙ data manipulation ∙ electronic corporate shilling ∙ viral marketing ∙ cyberterror
The potential ethical, legal, and economic implications of these and other forms cyberdeviance in the digital economy are profound. Some of the many possible questions for exploration include:
- How can cyberdeviance be defined in the realm of the digital economy, a context in which norms are not yet fully established?
- Why might various forms of cyberdeviance occur in business interactions and transactions?
- What theoretical frameworks can be used to conceptualize and better understand cyberdeviant business behaviors?
- What social science, ethical, and/or legal methodologies could be employed to examine cyberdeviant business behaviors?
- What are businesses and/or governments doing to curtail cyberdeviant business behaviors and protect employees and consumers?