Information systems development research


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Question 1: Comparison of Modes of Enquiry.

A set of multiple elements that are attached and dependent on one another is called a system. An enquiry system is used to determine different elements in a system i.e. Information System. The goal of a system can be achieved by breaking down a complex system into sub systems and reaching a level where the system cannot be broken down further. Positives and negatives of different modes of enquiries can be determined on basis of real world situations. (Flood.L.Robert, p 215-221). The different types of modes of enquiry are Simple, Complex and Innovative.


This mode of enquiry is a series of steps that allows us to have an outcome on basis of limited set of observations. Only one conclusion can be considered with these formulated observations. The different kinds of analysis that can be used in this method are analogous, historical or multiple independently sourced. The problem is first developed by decision maker after which a set of possible results can be given.


This mode of enquiry views the world as a formula and often logical consistency is highlighted. This method leads the decision maker to the truth. The identification of plausible solution can be reached by dividing issues into many parts by completely understanding each component.

This mode of enquiry has the objective to identify the issue based on classified component, to get some perceptive details and solution parts by parts. Analytic-Deductive Method is an organised and standardized approach because it makes computations based on numbers or mathematical formula. This approach is less subjective as figures and values are used to ascertain the problem, allowing derivation of the solution easier as well as objective. Being the solutions derived from the formula, inaccuracy is reduced.

Multiple Realities

This mode of enquiry helps in decision making process.In this enquiry mode, complexity of data or information increases and needs more strategic ways so that certain solution is derived. This approach does not only adhere to the identification of a particular solution or outcome because problems are represented in broader and wider perspectives. In this way, management or decision maker will become more involved and may have many factors to choose from.

This method has less number of limitations as compared to other methods of enquiry. As an example, the factors for judgement are not restricted to a definite number. Therefore, analysis can be made up of all facets, issues and solutions related to model or problem. As all the factors will be considered so the development of analogy would be accurate. The problem can be created by providing its holistic view by the decision maker. (Ellis, Keith, R., 2005, p 199-214)


Another method is dialectic approach that helps in making decisions. This method is used to provide dissimilarities between tradition and typical assumptions. This enquiry system is helpful in creation of decision making process that is free from obstacles and progressive. One of the advantages of dialectic approach is that process to make decisions is similar to conflict issues as indicated in the enquiry. Two opposing stand points for a particular issue can be viewed by the decision maker. With this approach the management can critically determine if the integration of business strategy with information technology can be helpful or would be ineffective to boost the performance of the business. (Ellis, Keith, R., 2005, p 199-214)

Unbounded Systems Thinking

This method allows the decision maker to have good knowledge in all fields and circumstances to come up with the most suitable action, solution or conclusion. This mode of enquiry also enables the decision maker or management to select from what he or she thinks would be most productive and suitable enquiry system to utilise for a particular issue. The decision maker can provide unlimited number of factors and issues about the given information instead of restricting himself to constraints to a certain idea. In line with the use of internet, this enquiry system is advantageous since the internet itself provides many challenges and conception which have to be given a careful thought to have a favourable end - result.

Question 2: Development of a plan for carrying out the research for Tasks II and III.

These three steps to carry out the research. They are as follows:-

Step 1: Defining the Research project

This step includes purpose of the research; time allotted for the research and what needs to be found and why that finding is necessary? The purpose of the research is basically to accumulate human knowledge. This can be achieved through deduction or reasoning. The underlying reasons for this research are as follows;-

To describe the impact of online shopping on MNC using Pest analysis.

Impact of technology on IS Strategic planning and IS development.

Problems of IS strategic Planning on MNC.

Elaborate the ethical issues such as data accessibility.

Step 2: Developing a Research Plan

The resources used in this research were Internet, library, journals and magazines. Search engines like Google and Bing were used to find information related to research.

Step 3: Research and Review Findings

The research was conducted keeping in mind the purpose of research and resources which were available related to research topics. The findings of the research are already available in the Questions asked in Task 2 and Task 3. The researcher deduced that the methods of enquiry and Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) are beneficial whenever a problem situation is encountered. In the implementation of the concepts, different systems perspective is taken into account in order to achieve primary purpose.

Question 3: Method of Enquiry chosen to identify the advantages and disadvantages of the approach.

The mode of enquiry system chosen was Unbound Systems Thinking also known as Innovative Enquiry. As this method believes that every one of the sciences and professions is considered fundamental and none is superior to or better than any other. Therefore, this enquiry system is better than any other enquiry modes. It also believes that imaginative approach can be used to establish solutions and other suggestions and ideas can be considered. This enquiry system indicates that everything interacts with everything, Problem is a mess, and it is incapable to have inflexible definition of the problem. It makes the use of thinking system to determine imaginatively the problem. This mode of enquiry is not partial and all types of learning, not only to hard sciences and/or its models and theories are taken into consideration.


Question 1: Pest Analysis - Impact of Online Shopping on MNC.

The way of shopping where customers purchase products or do shopping by visiting online pages is called a Online Shopping. these online shopping website are called electronic stores, electronic shops, webstores, internet shops etc . (Wikipedia, 2010)

The number of staff required is reduced as a result of online purchase and thereby reducing costs. Online Shopping is easy and effective way of shopping for customer to buy products online and recieve them in different parts of the world. (Wikipedia, 2010). According to Global Nielsen Consumer Report, February 2008, online shopping is gaining momentum in today's world because it is less time consuming and allows the consumers to sit in the comforts of the home and getting the product and services delivered at their door-step with payment being made through credit cards .According to this report, main items that are brought online include books, footwear and clothing.

Impact of Online Shopping on MNCs Using Pest Analysis.

The nature of most online businesses are global. so there are some concerns as well in online shopping as well. these four concerns political, economic, technological and social. these can be different from country to country, The rules and regulations of a particular country have to be taken into consideration before planning is done to sell in that country. The decisions of the managers of a particular organization will be effected by many factors in the macro-environment. New laws, tax changes, trade barriers, government policy. Demographic change is all instances of macro change. (Kotter, J. and Schlesinger, L.,1991, p 24 - 29)

To help ascertain these factors, senior executives can classify them using PEST Model. This classification differentiates between:


Figure: Pest Analysis

Political Factors: These factors indicate the government policies such as degree of government interference in the economy. This factor also includes the formal and informal rules of a particular country in which organization has to function. For instance, the UK political effect on UK sales and marketing, if the company will stay within the law, the sales of the company will be low because of the sale of age restrictions, i.e. under age sale of alcohal. the other examples of political facors are as under.

Policies of government related to tax.

Laws of government on employment of that country.

Regulations and restrictions imposed on import and export of goods.

Regulations related to safety of employees.

Rules and regulations related to competition.

Economic Factors: These factors include rate of interests charged by financial institutions of that country, the rate of exchange from one currency to another, steady growth in productive capacity of the economy which will further help in growth of national income, phases of the business cycle and confidence of consumers. A firm's behavior can have a major impact because of economic change like:

Investments can be deterred because of high interest rates as it costs more to borrow.

Exporting could be difficult because of strong currency as it may increase the price in terms of foreign currency.

Costs can be increased because of high wage demands from employees provoked by inflation.

The firm's products may get a boost demand because of higher national income growth.

Social Factors: The demand for a firm's products can be affected because of changes in social trends and the accessibility and eagerness of individuals to work. For instance, in a country like UK where population has been ageing has increased the costs for firms as they are determined to pay pensions for their staff members because they are living longer. So, older employees can be recruited to tap into this growing labour pool. This ageing population has great impact on demand: for instance, demand for sheltered accommodation and medicines have grown up whereas demand for toys is decreasing. Prediction of social factors is difficult. For instance, predictions about social networking sites like Facebook or My Space or SMS messaging would be so popular. If the company's business is bound to have a social impact then the company needs to develop price control to stop which effects that may be useful for the companies to do research in new areas of marketing and advertisement. there are different ways to do that. for example putting a search box in your website and have a continuos look on that searches. by doing this the company can add or subtract new products depending on the results of the searches.

Technological factors: Technology helps a lot in developing new products. Automation in various industries like manufacturing, processing, chemical etc makes the use of technology. There are many advantages of technology like reduction in costs, improved quality of products and services and innovation.( Pugh D.Wills,2006, p - 2)

Both consumers and organizations can be benefited by these developments. Staying ahead of crowd will be possible if the company stays ahead of technology and will also benefit the customer. But the company has to careful about technology as some technologies would not be liked by customers and the company would end up costing the money and not helping the business.

Example of Pest Analysis: Pizza Hut

Introduction and History of Pizza hut

Frank and Dan Carney launched an idea of pizza restaurant In 1958. the pizza restaurant was so small that it has only 25 seats and they can write only 9 letters on the sign. there restaurant building look like a hut, so they named it "Pizza Hut". After fifteen years later, they open a first UK restaurent and now it becomes the first biggest pizza company in the world.


Research was conducted on Pizza Hut for PEST (Political, Economic, Social and Technological) Analysis.

i. POLITICAL ISSUES: Political issues include regulatory frame work operating in judicial system which may affect the business in different ways. As there is lack of competition so there are not many political factors affecting Pizza Hut. The organization has to follow rules such as laws on business employment, pollution and taxation.

ii. ECONOMIC FACTORS: There is a green signal for business if the GDP of the country is good because it will increase the per capita income of the people and and they will spend more money. In the beginning of any month, most people spend more and visit Pizza Hut more often. When the inflation rate increases the cost of raw material also increases and this leads towards high prices of the products and vice versa.

iii. SOCIAL FACTORS: Pizza Hut originated from America so the company is overwhelmed by western culture. It is a multi national company. The society consists of all classes from upper to lower. The organization can be affected by cultural norms, values, beliefs and religion of a particular country.

iv. TECHNOLOGICAL FACTORS: Technology is evolving at a faster pace. New and efficient technology used at Pizza hut will result in efficient services to the customers. Due to new technology there are new ways of marketing like internet; telemarketing and the organization can advertise their products with much more faster pace. Management information system is the best way to collect customer data which can help companies to make right decisions.

Question 2: SSM - IS Strategic Planning and IS Development

Most of all, the organization should know the future vision, what they wishes to have. the key to unlock the competitive future of the organization may be Technology and if used wrongly, it may result in problems that will be faced by the whole structure of the organization. With the help of technology, external business environment can be easily scanned by organizations to gather information or data that can be useful in decision making on resource allocation in a way that it should be the on the best standards and should have a maximum use of it. The decisions are made faster, ideas are shared and information is easily communicated with the help of technology. Organizations can also benchmark from other companies strategies that could be used to reach objectives with the help of internet.

the best information system Strategic plan with state-of the-art technology reflect the best practices. When best system implemented, if provides the best results with minimum overhead costs. these types of systems concentrate on contouring the procedure and improve productivity. ( Avison, 1991, p 98 - 112)


Peter Checkland developed the Soft System Technology in UK in Late 60's. in the start, its emphasize was modeling tool but after few years it becomes the learning and meaning development tool.

Soft Systems methodology Process

SSM is widely described as a seven-stage process, as follows:

Determining the problematic situation that it is desired to intervene in

Researching the situation and building a 'rich picture' (interpretive representation) of it

Choosing perspectives and building 'root definitions' (key processes that need to take place within the desired system)

Developing a conceptual model of the change system

Comparing the model with the real-world situation

Defining the changes to be implemented

Taking action.

Stage 1: Determining the problematic situation that it is desired to intervene in

It involves identifying and providing brief description of the situation that is desired to intervene in. The first part of SSM is normally done by those involved in or affected by the issues coming to an agreement about the situation that needs attention. Attention should be given not to formulate the issue as a problem to be solved as this can lead to too narrow approach at an early stage. The situation has to be acknowledged, explored and defined in the first step. So first we decide what it is we are actually exploring. We assess the general area that interests us instead of defining the problem. Data is collected whether it is qualitative or quantitative by whatever method seems suitable e.g.: surveys, observation or measurement. There are no restrictions placed by any formal definitions or organizational boundaries and works as goal free evaluation.

Stage 2: Researching the situation and building a 'rich picture' (interpretive representation) of it

In second part, rich picture is developed. The objective here is to build representation of the situation in which intervention is desired. The overall situation should be described by rich picture. Formal Research Techniques or Unstructured Approaches can be used to gather information. The most important benefit of rich picture is that it gets information and perspectives from the widest possible range of sources.(Ledington 1988, p 31 - 36)

The picture can be represented visually rather than just as text. Here, the situation needs to be expressed with all its richness. The main items that should be included in picture are: Structures, Processes, Climate, People, Issues expressed by people and Conflicts.

Stage 3: Choosing perspectives and building 'root definitions' (key processes that need to take place within the desired system)

The third part involves analyses of the people-dimension situation. it highlight the main players of the situation and the view or perspective of the world. This will find the client who will cause intervention to happen, the professional who will utilize or guide the SSM process and the owners of the issues addressed. All of these can be the same people. The cultural environment, politics and power relations can also effect the situations. In system development, methodology is the most and important activity which needs to be understand well before draw a picture. It will be very complex task to address all these perspectives as a whole. Situation would become more clear by addressing key perspectives individually, understanding their implications and then making use of those understanding while re-integrating these perspectives into a set of evaluative conclusions and suggestions for future action. The next step involves choosing a particular perspective and put it through a very structured and rigorous model development process. At this point it can be useful to carry out a 'CATWOE' analysis, which will draw in part on the Stage 1 analysis. CATWOE is a mnemonic for: Customer, Actors, Transformation process, World-view, owner and environmental factors.

- Customers: people who are affected by the transformation

- Actors: the people who perform the activities in the transformation

- Transformation process: stating what is changed and to what

- World-view or perspective from which the transformation is meaningful

- Owner(s), i.e. the person or people who control the transformation

- Environmental / external factors, i.e. anything that constrains the transformation.

Each process in SSM is normally indicated in form of Root Definition which is either a short paragraph or a long sentence in the format "Do action P (what), using method Q (how), to (help) achieve result R (why)."

Transformation (T) is the initiation point. Once the Transformation is identified, the process can proceed to determine other key elements of the system.

Stage 4: creating a conceptual model of the change system

Using the "root definition" you draw up a conceptual model using systems conventions. This involves evaluating the change model against the situation and is usually represented by the rich picture and associated analysis. Sometimes, further development of rich picture is required and there are modifications to be made in change model. The other objective of this stage is to develop common understanding of the change and change processes among key actors and stake holders involved. This stage should look for accommodation or major acceptability not total consensus which may not be possible due to differing perspectives.

Stage 5: Comparing the model with the real-world situation

Now the model is compared with reality, insights drawn from that comparison, and ideas for improvements determined. This is the real powerhouse of the methodology. Checkland suggests four ways of doing this:

Unstructured discussions

Structured questioning of the model using a matrix approach

Scenario or dynamic modeling

Trying to model the real world using the same structure as the conceptual model.

Stage 6: Specify the alteration to be enforced

This stage will be different as it will depend on a particular change project but it includes developing the changed model into concrete plan. Formal Project management Protocols will be useful at this stage. A less structured approach can also be suitable. Here, The methodology will not be series of steps and will become cyclic in nature. Possible Intervention are explored on basis of analysis.

Stage 7: Take Action.

This stage involves keeping track of the effects of the project by monitoring and investigation. this is a research section which highlights the basic problems and its solutions. this stage can return to the stage 1 to detect how the system should be made to view the clear and better picture and how the change can differentiate the better than the previous one.


Question 1: Possible problems that may be faced by MNC while developing Information systems.

the way of combining or developing a company's business strategy with an effective computer based information to achieve the maximum benefit and its goals is called the strategic information system planning. the main objective of the SISP is to align the company's business strategy with its information technology strategy. SISP is very important because the company spent a lot of resources (money, time, human resource) to develop it. the team face a lot of problems while its on his way to develop it.

(Newkirk, Ledererand Srinivasan,2003, p.201 - 228) there can be a problem of specification gap between the statement of the suggested system and more facts required for potential system enforcement.

(Hevner, Studnicki, 2000, vol. 4, pp.4005). A specification gap in SISP can be checked in the development of bigger system. he system design teams recommend a system to develop and some time fails to explain the the important issued. the this recommend or developed system come to the program developer team where they input their knowledge. on the other hand the system design team is always their to help or explain them the issues. but some time what happened. the system design team could not help the programmers to resolve the issue and pressurize them to do it. Productive design methods must establish a discipline in which validity and completeness are enforced at all levels. (Earl M, 1993, p 1 - 24)

As the response to the difficulty of Specification gap, the use of box structure methods is recommended. They provide valid and completeness to specify proposed IS solutions that bridge the specifications gap to productive system implementation. there are lot of important issues which can bring success to the projects recommend information System Plan. the failure of the SISP projects are oftenly seen the problem of effectively implementation of IS solutions. there are lot of reasons for failures of the projects there can be shortage of resources, lot of changes etc.

The overarching reason for implementation failure is the huge Specification Gap between the recommended IS solutions and the knowledge necessary to actually implement the desired information systems.

SISP methodologies require IS personnel to devote substantial time and effort to requirements of the desired systems.

The managers' satisfaction with the SISP methodology , the resources required to implement the methodology ,process, outcome and final implementation were also rated as factors for unsuccessful IS plans. The two problems that were of major concern were difficulty in getting senior management commitment for implementing the IS plan and the requirement for further analysis in order to carry out the plan. It is often seen that SISP methodologies may come out with good IS plans but the companies lack management commitment and control processes to ensure that they follow the IS plan.

Lederer, Albert L and Sethi (1996, p 35 - 62) see that strategic planning should be aimed at building robust information management foundation for long term management of information and its supporting technologies, and to:

Analyze current and future information requirements of the corporation that reflect close alliance of business and IS/IT strategies, aims and functions.

Ascertain management policies, creation, maintenance , control and accessibility of business information resource

IS/IT functions should be repositioned centrally in the corporation with representation at senior management

High quality systems can be built and maintained by ensuring that IS architecture is sound.

Analyze a portfolio of abilities that will be required over the lifetimes of the plans.

Ascertain a productive and attainable corporate structure for the IS/IT function.

There should be an acknowledgement of shared responsibility between IT/IS and corporate people for the successful implementation of IS plans.

Question 2: Ethical Issues of Strategic Design

Information Systems have provided managers with better information, enabling managers with better decision making. Effective Information Systems can be a source of valuable information which can have competitive advantage. Managers control and coordinate using the system. there are some security challenges in using information system which poses serious ethical questions and affects society in a number of ways. there are number of ethical issues in the areas of employment, working conditions, crimes and privacy.

(Reilly and Kyi, 1990, p. 691 - 698)

Information ethics are categorized into for main parts namely Privacy, Accuracy, Property and Accessibility. There are two forces threatening privacy. The first is the growth of information technology with its improved capacity for scrutiny, communication, calculation, storage and access of data for subsequent use. The second one is the information value in decision making. Policy makers are highly interested in information; they desire it even if acquiring that information invades privacy of another individual. Information systems are created and information is stored in databases which might be helpful in decision making. So, it becomes a responsibility that the information in databases has to be accurate. Today, information is produced about so many people and their activities that our exposure to problem of inaccuracy is enormous. Intellectual Property Rights is one of the most difficult issues faced by our society. Several economic and ethical fears are attached to property rights; fears related to special attributes of information and the ways by which information is conveyed. It can be extremely expensive to produce information in the first instance. Information can easily be reproduced and shared with others after it is produced for the first time. The original information can be copied without destroying the actual one.

Therefore, information is difficult to safe guard and it becomes communicable. When somebody else uses your information then it becomes difficult to secure appropriate reimbursements. (Besan and Kirby, 1989, p 255 - 280)

Top management in every corporation needs information for strategic decision making. there are a lot of managers who are using computers or have direct access to to the computerized informations. so when manager/Senior management involves in the company's information and sees some problems, this information travels throughout the company then it becomes the responsibility of the company. the problem solving activity becomes faster and are more chances to solve it or decide what to do with problem. there are some issues as well who can access the informations. this access needs to be controlled by the top management that who have the right to access the information. there should be some proper measure to stop any unauthorized person to view the informations. ( Premkumar and King,1994, P 75-109).

Information system failure can occur because of the following reasons:-

The developed system does not meet the objectives, requirements or specifications laid down for it. It is also assumed that the system objectives, requirements and specifications are determined in the early phases of system development.

There are weaknesses in the system development process due to poor planning or incorrect estimation of resources required. This results in workable delivered system but with additional cost and time. The delivered system may be reduced in scope or complexity to reduce the impact of process failure.

Here, the system is either rejected or not used as intended by its users but meets its stated objectives, requirements and specification. Such systems may be avoided by their users in favor of unofficial "shadow" systems, often developed by the users themselves.

In this case, there are multiple stakeholder groups that are involved in development of information systems. If the delivered system or the development process does not meet the expectations of a specific stakeholder then for that particular stakeholder, an expectation failure has occurred.


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