Gartner Research

The CIO’s Guide to Digital Ethics: Leading Your Enterprise in a Digital Society

Published: 20 July 2017

ID: G00335853

Analyst(s): Heather Colella , Christie Struckman , Frank Buytendijk


The speed of digital technology adoption is presenting ethical dilemmas for business, making it easy to cross the “creepy line.” CIOs have an opportunity to navigate and guide the digital ethics conversation by asking: Are we doing the right things? An ethics framework embedded in a digital strategy is a path forward.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Question
  • Opportunities and Challenges
  • How This Report Will Help


  • Acknowledgments

Executive Summary

  • The digitalization of society poses new ethical challenges
  • Initiate a structured conversation about digital ethics
  • Further the conversation with “care ethics”
  • Make digital ethics a habit

The digitalization of society poses new ethical challenges

  • Digital ethics has unique characteristics
  • CIOs need to lead the enterprise in digital ethics

Initiate a structured conversation about digital ethics

  • Mind compliance
  • Mitigate risk
  • Make a difference
  • Follow your values

Further the conversation with “care ethics”

  • Why care ethics is particularly appropriate for digital business
  • The four calls to action of care ethics
  • Ethics by design

Make digital ethics a habit

  • Elements of a digital ethics program
  • Conclusion

Appendix: Case Studies

  • AccountingCo resolves the ethical dilemmas of a “nondigitally born” business
  • Grappling with digital ethics dilemmas at DR
  • Providing new customer services at InsureCo without crossing the creepy line
  • Ethical discussions help San Francisco International Airport resolve today’s dilemmas
  • Making ethics part of regular discussions at UnitingCare Queensland

Further Reading

  • Related content
  • Gartner Executive Programs reports
  • Core research
  • Books
  • Websites

©2021 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.

Already have a Gartner Account?

Become a client

Learn how to access this content as a Gartner client.