Making Ethical Decisions: Case Study: Should a Firm That Contains Customer´s Private Data be Sold?

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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 the digital world people has become so reliant on technology. There is no privacy in the digital world. Everything that goes online can be accessed by others, and this makes it difficult for managers to identify matters and practices they should be concerned with, including consumer’s privacy (, 2014). Failing to protect consumer’s privacy could lead to hacking and intrusion of an individual’s personal information (Khosrow-Pour, 2002; 2). For example, social applications such as WhatsApp and Viber are becoming increasingly popular. The instant message Viber has failed to protect the user’s privacy. It has been hacked recently by the Syrian Electronic Army (“Viber free download” 2014) despite the technical measures used to protect user’s data.

In the case study, the manager has to make a decision on whether the firm should be sold to the leading multinational corporation. Accepting the offer to sell the firm means that the users of Viber’s personal details will be exposed which is unethical and a violation of a person’s...

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In conclusion, ethical decision making is determined by the three ethical models. The utilitarian and justice model are not as relevant in the case study because they do not take into account the protection of the consumer’s rights. These two models do apply to the case study however it does not focus on the main issue (privacy). The moral rights model is the best approach as it deals with privacy which is the most relevant issue in the case. Robertson, Blevins and Duffy (2013, 85) explain that promoting morality can boost a person’s competitive advantage. Palmer (2010, 172) also states that when an individual’s information is revealed, there is violation of privacy. Moral rights deals with the protection of rights, including privacy (Daft 2009, 133). In conclusion, the moral rights model has provided valid reasons on why the offer should be rejected.

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