Uber Ethical Issues And Recommendations To Tackle It
Task: Provide a detailed report on the ethical issues faced by the Uber Company while conducting its business processes and recommend effective ways to tackle them.
The present report majorly focuses on addressing the ethical issues faced by the managing body of Uber Company, and on providing some relevant and practical solutions to tackle them. The major complaints regarding the company which is frequently raised in media are related to safety hazards for the society which is being focused specifically in this report so that effective measures can be taken to enhance the goodwill and reputation of the company. Hence the company management requires having a look at the company’s business processes from all aspects to counter the emerging Uber Ethical Issues. Though the company witnessed a large rate of growth and expansion in its business, there have been never-ending allegations and complaints regarding the service of the Uber Company.
The company is headquartered at San Francisco; California with name Uber Technologies Inc. Uber is the leading American multinational company which has the largest network of online transportation service. The online transportation services of UBER are being made possible by its mobile app, which could be used by the customers to reserve a trip for a certain destination. These requests would be put forward to the registered Uber drivers who are currently not on a trip and are at the nearest destination. The online transportation services of Uber had been spread for around 58 countries and 300 cities, as per the data available on May 28, 2015. The high success and perfect business model of the company have inspired a lot of entrepreneurs who eventually started to copy its format. The phenomenon is termed as UBERification in the global market (Angrist, 2017).
Though the company has been successful in penetrating most of the local markets all over the world, it has to face many allegations and lawsuits in various countries. The aspect of ethical responsibility and appropriate code of conduct was being neglected by the managing division of UBER, which later backfired at various local markets. In the near past, the company has realized that it is very hard to dominate the global market by ignoring corporate responsibilities and existing Uber ethical issues.
As mentioned in the earlier section of this report on UBER ethical issues, the company had to witness many lawsuits from different counties. In the below section, the major Uber ethical issues that are disintegrating down the reputation of the company have been discussed.
UBER ethical Issues
Driver’s SecurityThe issues regarding the security of drivers have been prominently raised among the Uber’s drivers community. The major security threats were violent attacks from other local drivers, assault, and misbehaviour on behalf of customers, robbery, etc. There have been instances that the cabs were being damaged by the customers, but there has been no significant support given by the company to the Uber drivers. Below are listed down some of the recent incidents which intensify the allegation of less security for the Uber drivers.
- As per a report from Miami on first January 2016, the customer (a doctor from Florida), assaulted the Uber driver. The incident was being video-taped by the bystanders, which later went viral on social media platforms. Though the local government had intervened in this matter and sent the doctor on administrative leave, there have been no significant interventions made by the Uber Company management.
Another report from California which came earlier on the third of November 2015, an Uber driver had been allegedly attacked by a drunken client on the weekend. The footage of this video also went viral, and the person had to lose his job from the designation of corporate manager in Taco Bell company (Glöss, 2016). In this case, also, the Uber Company has not taken any supportive stance for its driver.
Safety of the passengers
The charges of sexual assaults on the passengers have been condemned upon a lot of Uber drivers as mentioned by a report in the New York Times. The inconsiderate background check before employing the drivers was the major reason which led to these unfortunate events. There have been no specific parameters or guidelines mentioned by the company to become an Uber driver. The similar case of crimes like rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault, verbal assault, stalking, etc. have been charged against various Uber drivers (Saadah &Mubah, 2017). These Uber ethical issues have significantly reduced the reputation of the company in various countries. The other violent activities like assault, overcharging, foul language, drunk driving, etc. have further made an impact on the company's reputation. Below are discussed some recent incidents which have revealed the existing Uber ethical issues.
- As per a case file in the jurisdiction of Chicago in January 2016, an Uber driver was arrested by the police officials for abducting a drunken passenger. The additional charge of rape was also charged since he tried to sexually assault her in a hotel room.
- Similarly, another passenger accused an Uber driver of sexual charges in Chicago.
- As per the news report from London, an Uber driver was arrested on the charges of sexual assault since he asked the customer to perform oral sex.
Unethically Poaching down the drivers of the competitor company.
The Uber Company has appointed some of the independent contractors who use dummy accounts in their burner phones. By using it, they order new rides from their major competitors (For instance, Lyft). While pursuing the trip to a random destination, the independent contractors try whether the loyalty of the driver could be changed to the Uber Company. If agreed, the drivers are provided with the sign-up kit at the moment.
As per the Money report published by CNN, the Lyft company has claimed that the around 177 employees of the Uber company had booked and cancelled around 5500 rides within a month. Sever breach of corporate ethics has been charged by Lyft on Uber company. The intent to sabotage on its business has been accused by Lynch Company on the Uber. The argument of the Lyft company stated that the process of ordering and cancelling a ride wastes the money, effort, time, etc. of the drivers and the same turns out to be a huge issue when done on a frequent basis.
Breach in Privacy
The act of stalking and sustaining the track of the customers by using smartphone applications has been accused against the employees of Uber. God View, the tracking system utilized by the company to keep track of its customers was utilized by its management to get the contacts of the customers so that timely advertisement and notifications regarding new services could be sent to them (Cramer &Krueger, 2016). Though there may raise the counter-argument that we are under constant surveillance by government bodies like the police, the moral difference in it being conducted by a private company should be understood. Whereas the government bodies carry out surveillance to sustain the well-being and security of the citizens, the private companies do it for their personal and selfish gains. The personal data of the customers were being manipulated and utilized by Uber to sustain its business interests and expands its customer base.
As per the report from the United States, a Washington based nonprofit organization, Electronic Privacy Information Center, charged Uber against the mishandling and breaching the privacy terms in June 2015.
It has been accepted by Travis Kalanick, the first CEO of Uber that he tried to sabotage the funding strategies of Lyft Company, its biggest rival. The investors were being influenced and misinformed to stay away from funding in the venture capital of Lyft company. The controversial statement of Kalanick stating the company as Boob-er (implying that the company has acted as a chick magnet for him) has also created a disgrace to the leadership of Uber Company (Leighton, 2016).
It could be inferred from this decision that to address the existing Uber ethical issue, the management and leadership needs to change its tone and approach primarily. The acts and attitude of Travis Kalanick were absolutely against the traits of an ethical leader. His personality was not a role model to be set before the huge business empire.
Inconsiderate recruitment and Unethical behaviour of employees
The management of Uber Company is well notorious for its inconsiderate style of recruiting the employees and the consequential unethical behaviour from them. As mentioned in the previous discussion, the management of the company had employed various independent contractors and brand ambassadors who could entice the drivers to Uber Company. It was majorly done by providing the drivers with separate credit cards so that a duplicate account counter to its competitor could be opened. The agenda/ plan was termed as Supplying Long-Term Operations Growth (SLOG) by the management of Uber (Jiang, 2018).
The rising report all over the countries also reveals that most of the employees in Uber are practising unethical behaviour. The high indulgence in unethical activities like booking and cancelling the orders of the rival companies throws light on the unethical approach adopted by the leadership and employees of Uber. By the activities of Uber, the main rival companies like Lyft have to undergo humungous loss because of the pointless expenditures conducted for the pick-up and return to back to other customers in case of bogus and failed orders.
Recommendations for Uber ethical issues
The unethical approach of employees
If the management of Uber Company wants to sustain the business for a longer period, then the appropriate practice of ethical behaviour should be encouraged among its employees. The malicious intend towards competitive companies like ordering and cancelling the rides through bogus accounts should be terminated by the leadership of Uber Company. Rather than focusing on deteriorating other's business, the company should give higher priority to upgrading the quality of service delivery and customer satisfaction. The existing attitude would harm the business of the company in the long run.
The high rate of accusations and lawsuits against Uber drivers all over the world prove the existence of Uber ethical issues of safety for the passengers. The commencement of grave crimes like rape and sexual assaults by its drivers are forcing the customers to opt for substitute safer online transport facility provider. Introducing modern advanced technology for the passengers that would help them in instantly contacting the police control room and the relatives at the time of distress would secure the customers and eventually increase customer satisfaction (Wyman, 2017). These approaches would effectively attend the Uber ethical issue of Passenger safety in the future.
The activities of the company should be limited by the appropriate Information and Technology laws so that the personal information of the passengers could not be mishandled or shared with the other irresponsible units. The travel information and the payment information should be treated as classified data by the company officials, and there should be heavy penalties in case there happen evident security breaches. Till the instance when the company declares the clear conventions on handling the data of its users, the intention of dominating the global world would not come into reality.
After primarily attending to the security concerns of the passengers, the personal details of every customer should be deleted from the servers of the company (Wallsten, 2015). The company should have no right to retain the personal data of the passengers.
Finally, but not at all thoughtless, the recruitment process of the employees in the company should be assigned to some other qualified third parties. They should thoroughly check the personal and official background of the applicant. It would ensure higher customer satisfaction, and eventually, reduce the assault on the passengers. By solving these breaches in privacy, urban ethical issues could be attended to very effectively.
The cases of assault on drivers have also been reported frequently like the cases of assault on passengers. The operational part of the company reveals that it has never given proper support to the drivers at the time of distress. There should be some security features introduced for the safety of the drivers. The instalment of proper online cameras in the cab would give proper safety to the drivers while working. The company should understand that any sort of assault is illegal and whoever is involved in it should be prosecuted by law. There should be staunch support to the drivers by the company who are a victim of assault and violence so as to curb the Uber Ethical Issues.
Angrist, J. D., Caldwell, S., & Hall, J. V. (2017). Uber vs. taxi: A driver’s eye view (No. w23891). National Bureau of Economic Research.
Cramer, J., & Krueger, A. B. (2016). Disruptive change in taxi business: The case of Uber. America Economic Review, 107(5), 176-82.
Glöss, M., McGregor, M., & Brown, B. (2016, May). Designing for labour: Uber and the on-demand mobile workforce. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 1632-1643).
Jiang, S., Chen, L., Mislove, A., & Wilson, C. (2018, April). On ride sharing competition and accessibility: Evidence from Uber, lyft, and taxi. In Proceedings of the 2018 World Wide Web Conference (pp. 863-872).
Leighton, P. (2016). Professional self-employment, new power and the sharing economy: Some cautionary tales from Uber. Journal of Management & Organization, 22(6), 859-874.
Saadah, K., Yasmine, S. E., & Mubah, A. S. (2017). Digital collaborative consumption and social issues: The clash of taxi and Uber driver in Surabaya and Taipei. Masyarakat, Kebudayaan dan Politik, 30(4), 333-343.
Wallsten, S. (2015). The competitive effects of sharing economy: how is Uber changing taxis. Technology Policy Institute, 22, 1-21.
Wyman, K. M. (2017). Taxi regulation in the age of Uber. NYUJ Legis. & Pub. Pol'y, 20, 1.