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Making Ethical Decisions: Case Study: Should A Firm That Contains Customer´S Private Data Be Sold?

1416 words - 6 pages

Making ethical decisions is a challenging task for managers. Managers are responsible for making ethical decisions as it helps a firm safeguard its reputation (Wadell, Jones and George, 2013; 135). In its simplest sense, the issue of ethics arises when one group of stakeholders benefits at the expense of others (Robertson, Blevins and Duffy, 2013; 85). Agalgatti and Krishna (2007,327) further states that it is a process of evaluating what is right or wrong in relation to a society’s moral standards. The main issue in the case study is the issue of privacy, which is the amount of personal information that is accessible to others (Moor, 1997). Society views invasion of privacy as unethical. In ...view middle of the document...

The three types of ethical decision making models are utilitarian model which deals with the ‘greatest good for the greatest number of people’; second is the moral rights model which deals with consumer’s rights and liberties; and finally the justice model which refers to the equal distribution of the benefits and harms (Wadell, Jones and George, 2013; 133). The aim of this essay is to discuss the main issue (privacy) in the case study in relation to the three ethical decision making models. Secondly, it will then be explained why the manager has taken the moral rights model as the best approach for the case study.

The utilitarian model which favours the ‘greatest good for the greatest number of people” is measured using the cost and benefit analysis (Ferrel and Fraedrich, 2009; 475). It is the end result or the consequence that determines whether the model is satisfied or not. If the result is positive then the theory endorses it, i.e. if the benefit is greater than the cost, the utilitarian model approach is satisfied (Khosrow-Pour, 2002; 2 and Agalgatti and Krishna, 2007; 57). It is likely for the manager to reject the offer under the utilitarian model approach in the case study because accepting the offer might bring forth negative outcome to the consumers (Ferrell and Gresham 1985; 89). In the case study, if the manager of Viber accepts the offer, the consumers’ privacy will be at risk. The greatest satisfaction for the greatest number of individuals (the consumers) is not satisfied which means there is a greater proportion of cost than benefits. Therefore it does not satisfy the utilitarian approach (Baugher and Weisbord 2013, 7; Khosrow-Pour 2002; Waddel, Jones and George 2013).

The justice model deals with distributing the benefits and harms among the different groups of stakeholders in a fair and just manner (Carroll and Buchholtz, 2012; 224). It refers to the fairness of the final distribution (Werhane and Singer, 1999; 84). In the case study, there is no equal distribution of the benefits and harms, it is therefore unfair and unjust for other groups of stakeholders if the offer was to be accepted. Furthermore, the manager and the proposed buyer would benefit from the offer. The benefit received by the manager is the above average payment from the proposed buyer. The proposed buyer on the other hand can benefit from this transaction because they could use the user’s personal information for their strategic and financial advantage. The consumer group of stakeholders carries the burden of the transaction. There is no equal distribution of the cost or benefits as some (consumers) receive the cost and others (Manager and Proposed buyer) receive the benefits, i.e. it does not achieve the ‘greater good’ (Harrison, Newholm and Shaw, 2005; 30). The benefits and harms is not distributable and the consumers privacy is at risk. The definition of justice: rights, fairness and equality is not satisfied in the case study (Agalgatti and Krishna...

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