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Doug Smith Essay Sample

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Doug Smith Essay Sample

The help desk is part of the group assigned to Doug Smith, the manager of office automation. The help desk has produced very low quality work for the past several months. Smith has access to the passwords for each of the help desk members’ computer accounts. He instructs the help desk supervisor to go into each hard drive after hours and obtain a sample document to check for quality control for each pool member.

Discussion Questions

1. If you were the supervisor, what would you do?

In the vast majority of cases, Doug Smith has the right to monitor the work computers for quality purpose. Which is why a work computer should not be used for any personal purpose. If I am there in this situation, as a manager it is my responsibility for any results of the help desk. So, it was a loss associated with a low quality work and I have to take decisions that should improve the work performance. I will let my workers know that they will be under supervision for whatever they do during their working hours. I have to act ethically in my job responsibilities where my higher officials and lower grade employees both are equally happy. In this scenario, there was a low quality work from the lower employees and I have to decide on some tough decisions to improve the work efficiency. Along with this, it is on the part of the manager where he should be volunteering his employees with the works they are allotted.

2. What, if any, ethical propositions have been violated by this situation?

The practice which Smith followed may not be supported in ethical terms. It is the responsibility of the manager to volunteer the supervision of the works his employees or doing rather than supervising their computers after their work hours. It would be better to make a plan on how the work flow is going and which areas to be concerned. If at all there is a need to check the computers, it should be discussed with the employees and then implement. In this situation, although the computers are the property of the owner, a check of the computers without intimation may break the accessibility ethical values.

3. If poor quality was found, could the information be used for disciplinary purposes? For training purposes?

When it becomes necessary to discipline an employee, firstly, the employee must be clearly informed by the supervisor as to the source of dissatisfaction and secondly, except in limited circumstances, the employee should be given the opportunity to correct the problem. The information which is gathered through this procedure can be used both for training purposes and disciplinary purposes. But, they should be given a chance before they are subjected to disciplinary action. Training can be given using this information, as this may improve the standards of the organization.

4. Apply PAPA to this situation.

Privacy: The last question in our textbook table is violated through this action, i.e., can the information that people provide be used for purposes other than those for which they were told that it would be used? Proper prior intimation on how they are being supervised in their workplace is to be given to the employees. This will be more ethical compared to what Doug Smith has done. Property: The information which the supervisor is going to check includes an employee personal stuff. Although computers are a property of the company, it is not the way to check the computers. A rule may be passed into action which provides an information about the surprise checks of the work computers. This would be more ethical and induce some discipline in the workplace. Accessibility: Ethically accessing the systems for any stuff without prior intimation is not encouraged. Doug may ask his supervisor to check the systems for why the work quality is in such low standards but, with this, a supervisor is given a scope to look into others personal stuff. A rule may be passed into action which provides an
information about the surprise checks of the work computers.

Situation 2:

Kate Essex is the supervisor of the customer service representative group for Enovelty.com, a manufacturer of novelty items. This group spends its workday answering calls, and sometimes placing calls, to customers to assist in solving a variety of issues about orders previously placed with the company. The company has a rule that personal phone calls are only allowed during breaks. Essex is assigned to monitor each representative on the phone for 15 minutes a day, as part of her regular job tasks. The representatives are aware that Essex will be monitoring them, and customers are immediately informed when they begin their calls. Essex begins to monitor James Olsen, and finds that he is on a personal call regarding his sick child. Olsen is not on break.

Discussion Questions

1. What should Essex do?
The situation is more subjective and I feel Essex should approach Olsen and ask him whether he need a leave for the day. Essex should try to explain in a calm way, the norms of the company so that he may take a leave in these conditions. Even Olsen can’t focus on work in these conditions, so it is appropriate to grant him a leave to take care of this sick child.

2. What, if any, ethical principles help guide decision making in this situation?
Ethical principles in this situation may only stop Essex from taking any disciplinary action on Oslen. As Oslen was on a personal conversation, it is ethical to find out whether the conversation is more important than the work he was supposed to do. Since, he has been on call with his sick child, it is not appropriate to take a disciplinary action. Try to think from the Oslen perspective and decide on what to do.

3. What management practices should be in place to ensure proper behavior without violating individual “rights”?
There should be a written rule that can be followed in the organization which should state that, any emergency calls can be attended during work hours with prior intimation. With this rule, I think there won’t be anything to violate the individual rights.

4. Apply the normative theories of business ethics of this situation.
In stockholder theory, the shareholder’s profits are more concerned than any other stakeholder. From the business perspective, it would be a tough decision to take but from the stakeholder theory, ethical decision making should be implemented. According to the stakeholder theory, employees, shareholders, customers and everyone associated with the company should be given importance while decision making. So, ethically there shouldn’t be any disciplinary action on Oslen.

Situation 3:

Jane Mark was the newest hire in the IS group at We_Sell_More.com, a business on the Internet. The company takes in $30 million in revenue quarterly from Web business. Jane reports to Sam Brady, the VP of IS. Jane is assigned to a project to build a new capability into the company Web page that facilitates linking products ordered with future offerings of the company. After weeks of analysis, Jane concluded that the best way to incorporate that capability is to buy a software package from a small start-up company in Silicon Valley, California. She convinces Brady of her decision and is authorized to lease the software. The vendor e-mails Jane the software in a ZIP file and instructs her on how to install it. At the initial installation, Jane is asked to acknowledge and electronically sign the license agreement. The installed system does not ask Jane if she wants to make a backup copy of the software, so as a precaution, Jane takes it on herself and copies the ZIP files sent to her onto a thumb drive. She stores the thumb drive in her desk drawer. A year later, the vendor is bought by another company, and the software is removed from the marketplace. The new owner believes this software will provide them with a competitive advantage they want to reserve for themselves. The new vendor terminates all lease agreements and revokes all licenses on their expiration. But Jane still has the thumb drive she made as a backup.

Discussion Questions

1. Is Jane obligated to stop using her backup copy? Why or why not?
Jane should not use this backup copy as the company as the agreement was terminated and there shouldn’t be any additional documentation of the company they provided the software and Jane should stop using the backup copy.

2. If We_Sell_More.com wants to continue to use the system, can they? Why or why not?
Yes, they can continue to use the system with a new agreement with the vendor, but, here in this case, it is not possible to continue as the software is not in the market place and all the agreements are already terminated.

3. Does it change your opinion, if the software is a critical system for We_Sell_More.com? If it is a non-critical system? Explain.
No, I won’t change my opinion in both the cases. It might not be a critical system in my view as this software is meant only for linking products that are ordered with future offerings of the company. If it is a non-critical system, then the company can go ahead with the new vendor agreement, but, if it was a critical system, they can continue using the system only with a fresh agreement.

Situation 4

Some of the Internet’s biggest companies (i.e., Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM, and Verisign) implemented a “single sign-on” system that is now available at more than 50,000 Web sites. As corporate members of the OpenID Foundation, they developed a system that is supposed to make It’s easier for users to sign on to a number of sites without having to remember multiple user IDs, passwords, and registration information. Theoretically, users also have a consistent identity across the Web. Under OpenID, the companies share the sign-on information for any Web user who agrees to participate. They also share personal information such as credit card data, billing addresses, and personal preferences.

Discussion Questions

1. Discuss any threats to privacy in this situation.
Security of the user information is the major threat that violates the privacy. The personal information of the users is at risk. Google is the site that may have most of the personal information, whereas Microsoft will have most of the professional information similarly with other companies. A common shares of the sign on information will surely affect the privacy of the users. Not all the companies are running with the same ethics and value so it is difficult to have a check over the privacy terms in these cases. The credit card data, billing addresses and personal preference information can be misused by the third parties with whom this information might not be shared.

2. Who would own the data? Explain.
The data that is filled in one site should be owned by only that site and it should not share the data with others on the sign-on system. Although in certain cases it reduces the work, but it has a lot to do with the security breaches. So, it would be better to have the data with the companies only for which the user recommends to use.

3. Who do you think should have access to the data? How should that access be controlled?
Only the users and companies with whom the users sign up can have access to the data. The access be controlled by setting up security questions answered at the time of user login. Rules should be implemented that controls the access to the user’s information with other companies. Passwords, security questions and user involvement in the system would be better in controlling such an access.

Situation 5

SpectorSoft markets eBlaster as a way to keep track of what your spouse or children are doing online. Operating in stealth mode, eBlaster tracks every single keystroke entered into a computer, from instant messages to passwords. It also records every e-mail sent and received and every Web site visited by the unsuspecting computer user. The data is sent anonymously to an IP address of the person who installed eBlaster. eBlaster could also be installed onto a business’s computers.

Discussion Questions

1. Do you think it would be ethical for a business to install eBlaster to ensure that its employees are engaged only in work-related activities? If so, under what conditions would it be appropriate? If not, why not?

It is a “tool for over-protective parents and savvy employers”. It will be ethical if the manager can set the rules about the tracking of the computers in the workplace. Anything without prior notice is utterly unethical even though the computers are company’s property. A prior intimation can warn the employees about the rules and regulations, so that they may not do any personal stuff on the work computers.

2. Apply the normative theories of business ethics of this situation.
Stockholder Theory: In stockholder theory, the shareholder’s profits are more concerned than any other stakeholder. So, for the profits of the business, these tools can be implemented in any organization to have a check over the employees who are not efficient.

Stakeholder theory: From the business perspective, it would be a tough decision to take but from the stakeholder theory, ethical decision making should be implemented. According to the stakeholder theory, employees, shareholders, customers and everyone associated with the company should be given importance while decision making. Ethically employees should be given rights to decide on which environment they are going to work. Without their prior approval, it is not at all appropriate for a company to implement this software in the work environment.

Social Contract Theory: When a company and a society is mutually benefitted from a new implementation, then as per this theory it would be appropriate to implement. But, in this scenario, ethically it is totally inappropriate to use such software because its nothing but providing information and access of other individuals with those who have the application. A mutual agreement should be developed between the end users and those who are being tracked before using this application. The main concern is that it is not just tracking the information, but also the passwords and everything.

Situation 6

Google, Inc. had a unique advantage as of March 2012. By combining information about user activity from its many popular applications (such as Gmail, Google and YouTube), Google algorithms were able to alert users when things might be of interest. This vast amount of information, analyzed properly, gave Google a way to compete. By combining data with information from Internet searches, Google could better compete against applications such as Facebook. But this was a departure from its earlier privacy policy. In June 2011, the Executive Chairman of Google had declared, “Google will remain a place where you can do anonymous searches [without logging in]. We’re very committed to having you have control over the information we have about you.” This may be possible for users who don’t login to a Google account, but for those with Gmail or other personal accounts or an Android mobile phone, it’s more difficult to remain anonymous. Offering a counter viewpoint, Chirstopher Soghoian, an independent privacy and security researcher said, “Google now watches consumers practically everywhere they go on the Web [and anytime they use an Android phone]. No single entity should be trusted with this much sensitive data.”

Discussion Questions

1. Do you see any ethical issues involved in Google’s new approach to combining information from a particular user? Why or why not?
Google combines all of its applications and I feel this an unethical activity by Google. It is unethical in cases, if a user in one application is not interested to share his information on any other application where he may have the boundaries.

2. How might users change their behaviors if they were aware of this new approach?
With this new approach, users will be more conscious of what they surf online. Some users may even stop using these accounts and opt for some other web sites where their information and obligations are met.

3. How is Google’s combining data about individuals in one central location any different ethically from the United Kingdom placing all individual’s necessary information on an identity card?
There’s a lot of difference in approaches of Google and United Kingdom. United Kingdom is concerned with only the required information of individuals on an identity card, while Google is on information sharing between applications.

4. Apply the normative theories of business ethics to Google’s new policy about combining user information?
Stockholder Theory: In stockholder theory, the shareholder’s profits are more concerned than any other stakeholder. So, for the profits of the business, these tools can be implemented in any organization to have a check over the employees who are not efficient.

Stakeholder theory: From the business perspective, it would be a tough decision to take but from the stakeholder theory, ethical decision making should be implemented. According to the stakeholder theory, employees, shareholders, customers and everyone associated with the company should be given importance while decision making. Ethically employees should be given rights to decide on which environment they are going to work. Without their prior approval, it is not at all appropriate for a company to implement this software in the work environment.

Social Contract Theory: When a company and a society is mutually benefitted from a new implementation, then as per this theory it would be appropriate to implement. But, in this scenario, ethically it is totally inappropriate to use such software because its nothing but providing information and access of other individuals with those who have the application. A mutual agreement should be developed between the end users and those who are being tracked before using this application. The main concern is that it is not just tracking the information, but also the passwords and everything.

Situation 7

Spokeo is a company that gathers online data for employers, the public or anybody who is willing to pay for their services. Clients include recruiters and women who want to find out if their boyfriends are cheating on them. Spokeo recruits via ads that urge “HR-Recruiters—Click Here Now.”

Discussion Questions

1. Do you think it would be ethical for a business to hire Spokeo to find out about potential employees? If so, under what conditions would it be appropriate? If not, why not?
Now-a-days, it has become a requirement for the majority of the companies to depend on these companies to hire the employees. In this case, it is ethical for a business to hire Spokeo to investigate on the background qualifications of an employee. To hire an efficient employee, it is required to do a background verification and Spokeo helps in assisting the companies in hiring process.

2. Do you think it is ethical for women to hire Spokeo to see if their boyfriends are cheating on them? Why or why not?
It is ethical in certain situations to find out if the boyfriend is cheating. In the present society, Spokeo should provide only the details of whether the boyfriend is a cheat or not. It should not go deeply into the study to know more about him. Information that can help one should always be provided in an ethical way.

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