Asee peer logo

IT Ethics and the Role of Perceived Possibility of Disclosure: An Interventional Research

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Ethics Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Alireza Bolhari Islamic Azad University, Tehran Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Alireza Bolhari holds a PhD in Information Technology Management (Business Intelligence) from Science and Research Center of Islamic Azad University; where he currently serves as a lecturer. Dr. Bolhari received his MSc in Information Technology Management from Shahid Beheshti University and has completed BSc in Industrial Engineering at Iran University of Science and Technology. His research interests are mainly focused on behavioral and organizational aspects of information technology, as well as ethical decision making.

visit author page


Azadeh Bolhari P.E. Angelo State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Bolhari is currently an Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering at Angelo State University. She has previously served as a lecturer at University of Colorado Denver. Dr. Bolhari hold her PhD from Colorado State University in Environmental Engineering. Her research interest include Fate and Transport of Contaminants, Environmental Justice, Water-Energy-Food Nexus and Retention of Minorities in Engineering.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Since the evolution of information technology, concerns have been raised to unethical IT conducts and their significant monetary and non-monetary losses for corporations. To date, a number of endeavors have been undertaken to model individuals' IT ethical behaviors. Perceived importance of the ethical issue, ethical judgment, ethical obligation, ego strength, codes of ethics, and law are some of the influencing factors. A relatively new factor, which needs further empirical examinations, is perceived possibility of disclosure, i.e. the possibility one perceives about disclosing either the unethical behavior or its consequences to others. The objective of this research is to practically examine the influence of perceived possibility of disclosure on ethical conducts in an IT context. Accordingly, an interventional research (pre-post study) is designed and data were gathered from 347 computer stations in an IT-centric company in Iran. Due to the company's codes of ethics, six categories of unethical IT-related behaviors were defined as a) surfing social media, b) checking personal emails, c) sending organizational documents without authorized tools, d) sharing video or music files in local network, e) stockbroking, and f) installing non-job-related software on computers. Two non-simultaneous phases with duration of three months were examined. In the first phase, a total number of 906 unethical behaviors were observed by means of company-wide log-systems. Subsequently, for the second phase, every personnel were formally informed that their working behavior with computer stations is systematically monitored. Then, all computer stations were monitored for another three months and 155 unethical behaviors were observed. Results revealed that in comparison with the first phase, by average more than 81% of unethical behaviors were reduced. In addition, the most three reductions in unethical behaviors were surfing social media (98.63%), checking personal emails (91.95%), and sharing files (83.94%), respectively. Finally, practical solutions to decrease the risk of unethical conducts in the domain of perceived possibility of disclosure in an IT context are discussed.

Bolhari, A., & Bolhari, A. (2018, June), IT Ethics and the Role of Perceived Possibility of Disclosure: An Interventional Research Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30738

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015