Written by 9:15 am Ethics, Ethics

How to build a culture of ethics in an organization

Through a simple approach, you can develop, step by step, a culture of ethics within your organization. Here we will see ethics as part of the guiding standards to guide or direct user research, which will guarantee respect for the dignity and well-being of the participants.

Ethics is an important part of human-computer interaction because it keeps people at the center of the design process. Unethical practices in business lead to the creation of technology that we all use, but often neglect to influence those meant to serve.

As seen at the time, in the privacy discussions at Facebook and AI-powered images at Google, when there are no ethical considerations during the creation of technology, the interaction between people is compromised and often affected.

To understand why we need to build a culture of ethics in user research, we’ll first start by defining what ethics is. Ethics is the moral standard by which a person (or in this context, a company or team) should govern the behavior or conduct of an activity. Ethical user research should therefore seek to protect the dignity, rights and well-being of the participants from whom we ask so much information or data. If we are not proactive and prescriptive about our own standards as an investigation team, we could unconsciously be biased, demoralizing, exclusionary, or even break the law. Here are some examples of unethical practices:

• Not recruiting a diverse and inclusive sample.

• Failure to inform participants of study requirements or potential harm.

• Losing or failing to track participant data or identifiable information.

• Misrepresent or reinforce stereotypes in reports, characters or prototypes.

While many companies rely on their own Ethics or HR departments to set guiding moral standards, their scope typically only relates to product offerings, customer services, internal processes, and your business functions.

Rarely do these areas take into account the specialty of user research, which should be primarily based on a culture of ethics that does not violate the moral integrity of its participants.

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Last modified: September 1, 2022