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Professional Responsibility & Accountability

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  1. Professional Responsibility & Accountability

  2. What is a Profession? What is a profession? What are well-known professions?

  3. How to define Profession? Mastery of an esoteric knowledge Autonomy Formal organization Code of ethics Culture of practice What fields come to mind when we think about profession? Do they fit this definition?

  4. Computing Are computer “professionals” actually professionals? To what extent can computing be considered a profession? Why cannot computing be easily established as a profession?

  5. Computing • Mastery of Knowledge • Widely accepted guidelines • Certification • Practitioners vs. Researchers • Formal Organization • No single organization (ACM, IEEE-CS, etc) • Code of Ethics • No single code of ethics (though adopted by professional organizations) • Culture of Practice • Hard to determine due to large variety of jobs • Autonomy • No general regulations for certain computing job • Depends on position, rather than on virtue of being an expert • Different kind of autonomy

  6. Licensing • Need a body of knowledge • Maintains standards • Guarantee the quality of the practitioners • Examples? • Why is it so undeveloped in the world of computer professionals ?

  7. Licensing No need because nobody asks because nobody knows very well about computer engineering The standards of the technology change very fast. It is really hard to have an updated license.

  8. Consequences Everybody can claim to be a computer expert Charlatans Software: free market logic, cheaper, lack of security, breaches Others?

  9. Hack to be hired Computer skills can be self-taught Chris Putnam: http://www.techtikka.com/2012/11/19/chris-putnam/ Consequences? For the public? For the employers? For the “hackers”?

  10. Responsibility & Accountability The Accountable person is the individual who is ultimately answerable for the activity or decision. This includes “yes” or “no” authority and veto power. Only one Accountable person can be assigned to an action. The Responsible person is the individual(s) who actually complete the task. Responsibility can be shared. The Responsible person is responsible for action/implementation.

  11. Responsibility & Accountability Why is it important to do the difference?

  12. Example You manage a large project involving 10 different technology groups. Obviously, like many other project managers you heroically claim that everything that happens in your project is your responsibility, but is this really the case? Is there a point until which things might happen under your watch for which you could not and would not take the responsibility?

  13. Example Problems: whistle-blowing, blame game, apportioning of faults… Destroy the team spirit Solution: clearly define who is responsible and who is accountable for what. Accountability does not necessarily live at the very top but rather it is positioned at the most appropriate level, with the person who can be accountable for the work.

  14. Code of Ethics Code of ethics made by the ACM (Association of Computer Machinery) http://www.acm.org/about/code-of-ethics Code of ethics by IEEE Cloud Computinghttp://www.ieee.org/about/corporate/governance/p7-8.html What if a computer professional does not respect this code?

  15. Example 1 You are the computer system administrator for a mid-sized company network from home, and you frequently work from home. Your niece, a college student, is visiting for a week. She asks if she can use your computer to check her e-mail. Sure, you say. What is the ethical problem? If there is a problem, how to avoid it?

  16. Example 2 You are a private consultant. Small businesses hire you to advise them about their computer needs. Recently you were hired by a small, private hospital. The hospital was interested in upgrading the hardware and software it uses for patient records and accounting. The hospital had already solicited proposals and hired you to evaluate proposals carefully. One of the proposals belongs to Tri-Star Systems. You are one of the major stockholders.

  17. Example 2 Would you recommend Tri-Star Systems as the best alternative in your report? What if your stocks were placed in a trust? (i.e. you don’t have control over the buying and selling of the stocks) Would that change your decision?

  18. Example 3 Your team is working on a computer-controlled device for treating cancerous tumors. Various delays have put the project behind schedule, and the deadline is approaching. There will not be time to complete all the planned testing. The system has been functioning properly in the routine treatment scenarios tested so far. You are the project manager, and you are considering whether to deliver the system on time, while continuing testing, and to make patches if the team finds bugs, or finish testing before releasing the system.

  19. Code of Ethics Responsibility to make decisions consistent with safety Avoid conflicts of interest whenever possible Rules conflict with each other in some cases.

  20. Relationships and Responsibility • Professional – Stakeholders: • Employers • Clients • Public • Others • Professional – Professional

  21. Hughes Aircraft Example Were Margaret Goodearl and Ruth Ibarra acting ethically? Did they violate any responsibilities? Should one prioritize responsibilities? How to deal with such situations?

  22. Negligence Negligence presumes a standard of behavior that is expected from someone practicing a given activity. What is the standard of behavior for a computer professional? Is a breach in a software a negligence? A torts?

  23. Evolution of the technology “Information is power” Year after year, computers and technologies are more powerful, can do more things. So does the ones who control them.

  24. Evolution of the technology http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK_cdkpazjI Scary, isn’t it? What can we do to avoid this situation?