Analysis On ACS Code Of Professional Conduct Case Study
Task: Consider the following scenario of ACS code of professional conduct case study and identify the main ethical dilemma(s) involved in the case and undertake further research about it.
It's not getting better A major publishing company -- Simons International -- has contracted with the Working Minds software development firm to design and build a customized publishing tool package. As worked out in the requirements, the package has two components, the desktop publishing functions for laying out, testing, and iterating all aspects of the final publication design, and a set of collaboration tools which support the splitting up of a single publication design job among various members of a group, the tracking of the contributing individuals' progress, interactions needed to coordinate related pieces, and the final merging of all the pieces into a final product. The notion of collaborative editing is a new strategy for Simons that they hope will improve both the productivity and job satisfaction of their employees.
The contract specifies that Working Minds will deliver an initial prototype of both components in 6 months, for the fee of $100K, and that for the following two years, Simons will pay a $3K/month maintenance charge for continued updates, fixes and enhancements to the two components. Although Working Minds has been in the desktop publishing software business for several years, this is the first time they have tried to include collaboration functionality. They are excited by the challenge and by the opportunity to move into the fast-growing area of collaboration tools; at the same time they are relieved that they will be able to deliver both sets of functionality gradually over the next 30 months.
At the 6 months deadline, Working Minds delivers on time two prototypes: Design-It contains the desktop publishing function, and Coordinate contains the collaboration tools. Simons eagerly begins working with the new software and finds Design-It to be an excellent product which immediately gives Simons a competitive edge in the publishing world. However, the Coordinate tool suite is highly problematic: its user interface is confusing, it is poorly integrated with Design-It, and it introduces new and unexpected communication overheads in the management of group projects. Both firms continue to struggle with the new software for several months, Simons providing user feedback and Working Minds making constant changes. Because Design-It was in good shape from the start, almost all maintenance activity is directed at Coordinate over these first few months.
However, the acceptability of Coordinate does not improve, and after six months, Simons carries out a thorough internal analysis of the situation. They conclude that the Coordinate software shows no sign of meeting their needs, and that it is creating more problems than it solves. In fact after careful consideration, they decide to drop the new collaborative editing model altogether, returning to their former work practices not involving collaborative project work.
Simons' financial officer recommends that they simply cut in half their monthly maintenance payments to Working Minds, asking that further development of Coordinate be discontinued, and arguing that the Coordinate component makes up approximately half of the code that was delivered. The manager of Simons' Information Systems agrees, though he suspects he will have a fight on his hands with Working Minds, who all along have viewed this project as their big chance to move into the hot software territory of collaborative systems.
Introductionto the ACS code of professional conduct case study
Ethical dilemmas refer to the various situations in which a difficult choice needs to be made in order to resolve a situation. However, none of the choices is meant to resolve the situation in an ethical manner. The ACS Code of professional conduct consists of certain principles and core values which are vital for upholding public interest, ethical decision making and professionalism at work. In this study, the ethical dilemmas regarding the presented ACS code of professional conduct case study have been discussed. This study also sheds light on the detailed analysis of these ethical dilemmas from the perspective of the Australian Computer Society Code of Professional Conduct. Recommendations regarding the ways in which the situation presented in the case study can be handled at its best have also been discussed in this study.
Ethical dilemmas in the case
In the given case study, a very reputed publishing company named Simons International had made a contract with Working Minds software development firm in order to design and build a publishing tool package. This software tool was specially customized in order to meet the needs of the company. The software package had two main components, where one part supported desktop publishing functions and the other component helped in performing the various tasks in a collaborative manner. According to the contract that was signed between the two companies it was stated that Working Minds would deliver the prototype of both the components of the software within a period of 6 months.
Working Minds had charged a fee of $100K for delivering both of the components in the given period of time. Moreover, it was also stated in the contract that the Simons International publishing company needs to pay a monthly amount of $3K as maintenance charges and updates for a period of 2 years. Although Working Minds had delivered the product in time and had fulfilled their part of the contract, Simmons International was not happy with one part of the software that was being delivered.
The first ethical dilemma occurred when Simon’s International decided to cut the overall maintenance charge into half as they wanted to drop the Coordinate component of the software which was not working according to their requirements. This ethical dilemma occurred because lawfully they would not be able to cut the maintenance costs into half as that would go against the terms of the contract where they had agreed to pay the maintenance charges for a period of 2 years. According to the ACS code of ethics, the Working Minds company being a member of the ACS community needs to work competently and diligently for their stakeholders (acs.org.au, 2020). Moreover, the company also needs to strive to enhance the quality of life of the people who are affected by their work (acs.org.au, 2020).
In this case scenario, the people at Simon's International are getting negatively affected by the Coordinate components of the software that was being delivered to them. According to ACS Code of Professional Conduct clause 1.2.1, the Working Minds Company needs to identify the stakeholders who are being impacted by their work and needs to explicitly consider the interest of the stakeholders as their priority (acs.org.au, 2020). Moreover, according to clause 1.2.4 of the ACS code of Professional Conduct, Working Minds need to strive to provide products and services that would match the operational and financial needs to their stakeholder, that is, Simons International in this case (acs.org.au, 2020).
The company Working Minds needs to accept the overall responsibility of their work and provide advice which would be in the best interests of their stakeholder, that is, Simons International according to clause 1.2.4 of the ACS code of Professional Conduct (acs.org.au, 2020). Finally, as per clause 1.2.6 of the ACS code of Professional Conduct, Working Minds needs to refrain from any action or conduct that might tarnish or negatively affect the image of the ACS (acs.org.au, 2020).
Analysis of the ethical dilemmas
The main ethical dilemma of this ACS code of professional conduct case studyis the fact that according to the contract signed between both companies, it is stated that Working Minds would be getting a total maintenance fee of $3K per month. As a result of this, if Simon's International asks the company to reduce their maintenance fees to half of the total amount that was agreed upon in the contract, then that would not be a lawfully correct solution. However, according to the ACS Code of Professional Conduct clause 1.2.1, Working Minds being a member of the ACS needs to explicitly consider the interests of their stakeholders as a priority (acs.org.au, 2020). Moreover, according to clause 1.2.4 of the ACS code of Professional Conduct, the company needs to accept the overall responsibility of their work and provide advice which would be in the best interests of their client Simons International (acs.org.au, 2020) As commented by Ferrell et al. (2019), acceptance of the responsibility of their work and working on their shortcomings would enable the company Working Minds to gain a positive impression from Simon’s International. As a result of this, it would enable them to create a positive brand image in the software territory of developing collaborative systems for being responsible for their faults and rectifying them. Furthermore, as per the ACS code of Professional Conduct clause 1.2.6, Working Minds should not be committing any actions or conduct that might negatively affect or tarnish the overall good image of the ACS (acs.org.au, 2020). In this case scenario, the image of the ACS would be negatively affected if Working Minds does not adhere to the needs of their client Simons International. As commented by Cha et al. (2016), the same thing would happen if Working Minds fights for obtaining the total amount of maintenance fees for the component of the software that is not being used by Simons International. Therefore, by following the ACS code of Professional Conduct, Working Minds needs to accept their full responsibility for the components which have been working according to the expectations of Simons International. Thereby, the company needs to accept the new reduced maintenance charges that are being offered by Simon’s International as that would serve in the best interests of their stakeholder. As per the view of Hawrysz & Maj (2017), it can be stated that this would enable the company to build its own brand image as well as improve the overall image of the ACS body in the business market. This, in turn, would also enable the company to venture into the new territory of collaborative systems with a positive image.
What are the recommendationsfor the given ACS code of professional conduct case study?
The recommendations that need to be undertaken are given as follows:
- The company Working Minds needs to accept responsibility for the Coordinate component of the software and agree to the terms of their client Simon’s International. Moreover, this positive relationship with Simon’s International would also facilitate word of mouth propagation of marketing. As per the view of Huete-Alcocer (2017), it can be stated that as a result of this positive propagation, the company would be able to gain more customers like Simon's International in the near future.
- Working Minds needs to charge half of the number of maintenance fees. The company even needs to offer free repairing of the Coordinate component in order to compensate for the disruptions that the company Simon's International has gone through while using that product. As commented by Tourani et al. (2017), undertaking this measure would enable the company to improve the overall image of the company and establish good ties with Simon's International. This, in turn, would also enable Working Minds to establish a sense of trust and goodwill with their stakeholders.
- Incorporation of proper training and development programs needs to be undertaken by Working Minds for their software developers. This, in turn, would help the company to improve the overall competencies of its employees so that they are able to make better functioning software for their clients. Moreover, it would also facilitate the company to penetrate into the software territory of collaborative systems with a set of good and competent software developers. This, in turn, would help the company to gain a competitive advantage in that market as well as improve the overall satisfaction of their customers.
Inculcation of the sense of business ethics among the employees of a company is vital for the overall growth of the company and its brand image in the market. Accepting responsibility for the works done by a company depicts commitment and professionalism in a company which in turn increases brand loyalty among its clients. Considering the analysis on ACS code of professional conduct case study, it can be concluded that it is necessary to understand and adjust to the needs of the stakeholders or clients in order to uphold a positive brand image. It is of utmost importance for a company to uphold the operational and financial interests of the stakeholders of the company while conducting business with them. Therefore, it can also be concluded that effective incorporation of the values of the ACS code of Professional Conduct would enable a company to function properly in the business market with professionalism and competence.
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