Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Kimberly Johnson


Ethics, Emergent Technology, Cyberspace, Culture, Values, Leadership


Business | Leadership Studies


Evaluating ethical technology leadership at a financial services firm in North Carolina requires discovering interactions amongst organizational culture, leadership approaches, and ethical decision-making practices. This study provides insight into how the participating firm’s organizational culture creates a leadership climate accommodative of an applied cyberspace business ethic. A cyberspace business ethic provides guidance to technology leaders addressing ethical challenges arising from emergent digital technologies. The identification of four key influencers that support ethical decision-making and provide protection against reputational risk exposures create an understanding of the collective nature of core values, relational, reputational, and technological influences on ethical behaviors. Self-determination theory assists in understanding the motivations for ethical leader behavior in the form of competency, autonomy, and relatedness. Coupling this theoretical knowledge with identification of the four influencers of ethical decision-making provides the basis of understanding the participating firm’s applied cyberspace business ethic. Given the rapid pace of emerging digital technology deployment, a dynamic condition of internal environmental complexity and external environmental uncertainty creates the need for leaders to develop a cyberspace business ethic appropriate for the business context. The participating firm’s cyberspace business ethic centers on core values, transparency, and communication clarity, purposefully utilized to mitigate reputational risk. Applying a Christian worldview to study findings adds a theological construct to organizational core values and underlying virtue ethics.