Journal of Information Systems Education (JISE)

Volume 22

Volume 22 Number 3, Pages 261-270

Fall 2011


The Effects of Teaching the Universality Thesis on Students’ Integrative Complexity of Thought


Tero Vartiainen
Mikko Siponen

University of Oulu
Oulu, Finland

Liisa Myyry
University of Helsinki
Helsinki, Finland

Abstract: The explosion in the use of computers has strengthened the need to address ethical issues in information systems (IS) education, and several frameworks have been expounded. However, little empirical research has been undertaken on their effects. This is a key problem: If IS scholars do not study the effect of information systems on IS students, IS ethics education suffers. This could mean that future professionals will neglect morally significant issues in their work. We carried out an interpretive empirical study on the effects and implications of an education program based on three theories of universality. The theory of integrative complexity was applied to see if the level of complexity of thought increased owing to a theorybased IS ethics teaching intervention. This intervention was based on pre-then-post testing with two groups, the experimental group receiving instruction in three versions of universality (n=79), and the control group (n=16). Our results show that the change in integrative complexity varied significantly between the two groups, with the experimental group making significant progress compared to the control group. The application of the universality thesis had a positive effect on deliberation skills among 43 percent of the experimental group. These results carry implications for IS education and research.

Keywords: Ethics, Student research, Learning goals & outcomes, Critical thinking

Download this article: JISE - Volume 22 Number 3, Page 261.pdf


Recommended Citation: Vartiainen, T., Siponen, M., & Myyry, L. (2011). The Effects of Teaching the Universality Thesis on Students’ Integrative Complexity of Thought. Journal of Information Systems Education, 22(3), pp. 261-270.