Business Ethics Assignment: Balancing Ethical Decision
Task: Consider a case study and prepare business ethics assignment on balancing ethical decision to maximize the benefits for a business.
The present business ethics assignment is focused on illustrating the concept of business ethics that was mainly linked to how employers and employee interacted and treated each other at work, but with the inclusion of computer technology at the office, ethics has grown to take a very different dimension. Ethics at work is not limited to an employee contribution to performance at work and takes into consideration their use of equipment and resources while working (Bredeson & K, 2011). The internet has grown to become a powerful tool in business and communication, but many company employees also want to use the computers and internet for personal gain and entertainment. It is an increasingly common incident at the office today, and the very same scenario as a case study is being evaluated within this business ethics assignment. The case study used to develop this business ethics assignment discusses an important board meeting preparation that is experiencing a delay when a group member named Paul volunteers to complete the presentations during his free time over the weekend.
With the deadline approaching and the team far behind schedule, the IT manager and other team members unanimously agree to let Paul borrow a company laptop and complete the project at home. At the time, no one considers any security risk linked to doing this, but on Monday, a problem was discovered. Fred, the IT hardware manager, is strictly required to check on all equipment before reconnecting them to the company network but there is a problem on the laptop used by Paul over the weekend. The laptop browser history indicates that the user was accessing prohibited pornographic websites with the company’s equipment (Boatright, 2000). It is a major breach of the company’s policy where employees are strictly prohibited from using company equipment and resources for personal gain, profit or entertainment. It’s Fred’s responsibility to report the matter to the IT manager and makes sure this issue is discussed, and strict action is taken. The IT manager agrees but asks Fred to hold on for a few hours to evaluate the decision before taking action. It is actually a wise decision as it allows the IT manager to evaluate other circumstances linked to the incident and before making a final decision. The IT manager has only two options to consider while making the decision one being to follow the Kantian deontology approach while the other being to Utilitarianism approach.
After thinking over the case, he calls Fred back to his office, where he explains the consequences of making the wrong decision at this crucial period before the board meeting. Paul would be in charge of making the important board meeting presentation and failing to do this would have negative consequences on the entire IT department. At the same time, Paul's failure to uphold company policy must be addressed and punished seriously. With this in mind, the IT manager informs Fred he has decided to follow the Utilitarianism approach, which delivers benefits to the entire IT department as well as the company. Fred isn't sure regarding what the Utilitarianism ethical approach is and asks the IT manager for an explanation.
The Utilitarianism ethical approach considered in the present business ethics assignment involves the evolution in situations to determine the consequences and making an appropriate decision that benefits each individual, stakeholder and most of all, the business (Bentham, 2009). The business must be kept at the forefront of every decision and irrationally rushing in to evaluate or follow up the case could result in seriously affecting the upcoming board meeting. Paul is also responsible for making the presentation, and while he has breached company policy, it’s important to also remember he has put in his free time to get this presentation completed. There is also the concern linked to Paul simply failing to make the presentation effectively knowing his irresponsible conduct has been discovered and under investigation and scrutiny.
With businesses and IT departments interest in mind, the IT manager asks Fred to remain patient regarding the situation until the board meeting has been completed after which the case would be brought up, and Paul questioned and punished. In the mean, while the laptop used by Paul over the weekend should be stored in a secure location and not reconnected to the network (Moore, 2008). It should also not be used to avoid the evidence proving the company’s equipment misuse is not intentionally or unintentionally deleted. It would be Fred’s responsibility to safe keep the laptop and ensure the evidence is available when the case is raised.
The incident discussed in the segments of business ethics assignment also requires to be evaluated from the company point of view as it is clear that the IT department has failed to secure their IT equipment resulting in the recent browsing security breach. It’s important for the IT manager to also hold a meeting with all specialists in the IT department, which would help raise the concerns linked to the recent breach. The IT department must take this seriously since this may be Paul’s fault, but ethically this should not have happened at all. The IT department should have put the required measures in place to restrict certain website access or ensured that the computers were installed with unique browsers which requested for the users log in before use. The misuse of company computers and the internet is common among employees who have resulted in many companies restricting certain website addresses from being accessed directly on their computers (Floridi, 2010). When observed from a Utilitarianism perspective, it can be stated herein business ethics assignment that Paul may have actually benefited the business by exposing this security breach since many employees know how to delete their history meaning many incidents may have gone undetected before Paul’s case.
The incident outlined in the segments of business ethics assignment involving Paul misuse of the businesses equipment is an increasingly common case being experienced by many companies. At the same time, it’s important to also evaluate the entire situation and make sure strict action is taken against this behaviour, but while keeping the company’s best interests in mind. Acting irrationally without thinking could lead to serious complication for the affected individual as well as the business which is likely to experience losses. As per this business ethics assignment, the IT manager has made the right decision linked with the situation but still must make sure he confronts Paul with the evidence collected by Fred and ensures strict action is taken against Paul so as to set an example.
Bentham, J., (2009) Utilitarianism. s.l.:BiblioBazaar.
Boatright, (2000) Ethics and the Conduct of Business. New Delhi: Pearson Education, India.
Bredeson, D. & K, G., (2011) Ethics in the Workplace. Mason: Cengage Learning.
Floridi, L. (2010) The Cambridge Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics. Business ethics assignment New York: Cambridge University Press.
Moore, C. W., (2008) Managing Small Business: An Entrepreneurial Emphasis. Mason: Cengage Learning EMEA.