Business Research Methods Study Set 5

Business

Quiz 2 :

Ethics in Business Research

Quiz 2 :

Ethics in Business Research

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A Competitive Coup in the In-Flight Magazine. When the manager for market intelligence of AutoCorp, a major automotive manufacturer, boarded the plane in Chicago, her mind was on shrinking market share and late product announcements. As she settled back to enjoy the remains of a hectic day, she reached for the in-fl ight magazine. It was jammed into the seat pocket in front of her. Crammed into this already tiny space was a report with a competitor's logo, marked "Confi dential-Restricted Circulation." It contained a description of new product announcements for the next two years. Not only was it intended for a small circle of senior executives, but it also answered the questions she had recently proposed to an external research firm. The proposal for the solicited research could be canceled. Her research budget, already savaged, could be saved. She was home free, legally and career-wise. She foresaw only one problem. In the last few months, AutoCorp's newly hired ethicist had revised the firm's Business Conduct Guidelines. They now required company employees in possession of a competitor's information to return it or face dismissal. But it was still a draft and not formally approved. She had the rest of the flight to decide whether to return the document to the airline or slip it into her briefcase. a What are the most prudent decisions she can make about her responsibilities to herself and others b What are the implications of those decisions even if there is no violation of law or regulation
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Ethics are a set of choices and rules that help guide the moral conscience of an organization towards the society, its peers and competitors. Ethics in research aims to prevent causing any harm to others knowing or unknowingly from research activities. These harms can be in the form of loss of confidentiality, deceiving from withholding information, evading legal laws, etc.
a
The most prudent and well-judged decision the manager of company AC can take is returning the document to the airline via proper channel. This would be in accordance with the company's legal policy which requires every employee that comes in the custody of any competitor's documents should return it. Breaking this guideline would result in the expulsion of the employee. Though the manager can justify that the document might be an unapproved draft it can still be deemed illegal as it bears competitor's logo and has been marked confidential.
The occurrence of this event can also be reported to the company's ethical officer. The document contained important data regarding their competitor's new product releases. Using this information illegally would have given the company undue advantage over its competitor which is against the laid professional standards and code of ethics.
Another important decision is not acting on the intelligence gained through the document. The document might contain incorrect research data and poor insights. The document could have also been prepared using different parameters. The usage of such unverified documents would result in major strategy failure of the company.
b
Even if the document does not break any laws, it's usage can still have serious implications. The document has no proof that it's correct and valid. The document may be unauthentic. By canceling the planned market research to use this unverified document, the company may lose important market intelligence data specific to their requirements. This decision protected the company from losing highly valuable intelligence through the planned market research.
Using unverified research data may result in poor decision making by the manager. The decisions taken based on this unverified document might be incorrect. This would have resulted in huge losses to the company in the future. Hence the decision saved the company from huge financial loss.
The decision also protected the manager from losing credibility. The actions based on a stolen research document might have raised concerns regarding manager's professional credibility. The management would have lost trust, as this would have violated various ethical standards of the company.

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Hearsay Social is a company developed to monitor how workers at large companies interact with customers on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites. Companies pay $100,000 or more for a digital dashboard that alerts supervisory managers if employees are violating privacy policies, regulatory compliance rules, or other company policies. If you were a large client, like Farmers Insurance, what would you want built into the dashboard
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A dashboard is an easily readable real time user interface. It graphically presents the current status and historical trends of an organization's important performance indicators. It tracks and monitors the flows inherent in the business processes. It enables managers to make instantaneous and informed decisions.
Companies are using digital dashboards to monitor how employees interact with customers on social media sites. Also, dashboards alert supervisory managers when employees violate privacy policies, regulatory compliance rules or other company policies.
The essential built-in features of a digital dashboard required by an organization are stated below:
• Alerting potential when employees attempt to do one or more of the following:
• Violate the customers' confidentiality.
• Access data from unauthenticated sources.
• Make unauthorized access to confidential data.
• Change data or create false data.
• Change data presentations or interpretations.
• Omit parts of data analysis.
• Download unsecure data on organizations computers and other equipment.
• Reveal important and private information without consent.
• Do not obtain permissions to interview customers.
• Provide wrong or incomplete information to the customers.
• Do not follow the legal, professional and ethical standards.
The above mentioned features of a dashboard are necessary to keep a check on the employees. They also ensure that the employees are following the privacy policies, regulatory compliance rules and other companies' policies.
• Capability to locate the employee within the companies' premises.
• Charts and graphs to provide managers with a general view of the organizations performance.
• Potential to record and monitor the interaction of the employees with the customers.
• Reports and gauges to identify and measure employees' performance.
• Capability to integrate information received from various sources.
• Flexibility to navigate from one dashboard to another.
All the features of a digital dashboard stated above, allow the managers to monitor the contribution of the various departments in the organization. It helps them to measure the organizations overall performance.

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The High Cost of Organizational Change. It was his first year of college teaching, and there were no summer teaching assignments for new hires. But the university was kind enough to steer him to an aviation firm, Avionics Inc., which needed help creating an organizational assessment survey. The assignment was to last five weeks, but it paid about the same as teaching all summer. The work was just about as perfect as it gets for an organizational behavior specialist. Avionics Inc.'s vice president, whom he met the first day, was cordial and smooth. The researcher would report to a senior manager who was coordinating the project with the human resources and legal departments. It was soon apparent that in the 25-year history of Avionics Inc., there had never been an employee survey. This was understandable given management's lack of concern for employee complaints. Working conditions had deteriorated without management intervention, and government inspectors counted the number of heads down at desks as an index of performance. To make matters worse, the engineers were so disgruntled that word of unionization had spread like wildfire. A serious organizing effort was planned before the VP could approve the survey. Headquarters dispatched nervous staffers to monitor the situation and generally involve themselves with every aspect of the questionnaire. Shadowed, the young researcher began to feel apprehension turn to paranoia. He consoled himself, however, with the goodwill of 500 enthusiastic, cooperative employees who had pinned their hopes for a better working environment to the results of this project. The data collection was textbook perfect. No one had asked to preview the findings or had shown any particular interest. In the fifth week, he boarded the corporate jet with the VP and senior manager to make a presentation at headquarters. Participants at the headquarters location were invited to attend. Management was intent on heading off unionization by showing its confidence in the isolated nature of "a few engineers' complaints." They had also promised to engage the participants in action planning over the next few days. An hour into the flight, the Avionics Inc. VP turned from his reading to the young researcher and said, "We have seen your results, you know. And we would like you to change two key findings. They are not all that critical to this round of fixing the 'bone orchard,' and you'll have another crack at it as a real consultant in the fall." "But that would mean breaking faith with your employees... people who trusted me to present the results objectively. It's what I thought you wanted..." "Yes, well, look at it this way," replied the VP. "All of your findings we can live with except these two. They're an embarrassment to senior management. Let me put it plainly. We have government contracts into the foreseeable future. You could retire early with consulting income from this place. Someone will meet us on the runway with new slides. What do you say " a What are the most prudent decisions Avionics Inc. can make about its responsibilities to itself and others b What are the implications of those decisions even if there is no violation of law or regulation
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Company AI allows a student to conduct an organizational assessment survey. The student has to report to the senior manager of the legal department and human resources.
(a)
The most careful and prudent decisions Company AI could make related to the responsibilities are as follows:
• The management of the Company AI could develop a complaint department, which would facilitate employees to put complains and issues in front of management.
• The Company AI could make the decision to improve the working conditions and workplace for employees. It would lead to improve the productivity of the company.
(b)
The following implications of the above decisions made by Company AI without violating the law are:
• The implication of first decision would help the company to avoid embarrassment to the senior management. Furthermore, resolving complaints and issues of employees would help the company to build trust and goodwill.
• Providing better working conditions for engineers and workers would increase the satisfaction level. Hence, it would improve the productivity and performance of employees.

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Free Waters in Miro Beach: Boaters Inc. versus City Government. 20 The city commissioners of Miro Beach proposed limits on boaters who anchor offshore in waterfront areas of the St. Lucinda River adjoining the city. Residents had complained of pollution from the live-aboard boaters. The parking lot of boats created an unsightly view. The city based its proposed ordinance on research done by the staff. The staff did not hold graduate degrees in either public or business administration, and it was not known if staff members were competent to conduct research. The staff requested a proposal from a team of local university professors who had conducted similar work in the past. The research cost was $10,000. After receiving the proposal, the staff chose to do the work itself and not expend resources for the project. Through an unidentified source, the professors later learned their proposal contained enough information to guide the city's staff and suggested data collection areas that might provide information that could justify the boaters' claims. Based on the staff's one-time survey of waterfront litter, "pump-out" samples, and a weekly frequency count of boats, an ordinance was drafted and a public workshop was held. Shortly after, a group of concerned boat owners formed Boaters Inc., an association to promote boating, raise funds, and lobby the commission. The group's claims were that the boaters (1) spent thousands of dollars on community goods and services, (2) did not create the litter, and (3) were being unjustly penalized because the commission's fact finding was flawed. With the last claim in mind, the boaters flooded the city with public record requests. The clerks reported that some weeks the requests were one per day. Under continued pressure, the city attorney hired a private investigator (PI) to infiltrate Boaters Inc. to collect information. He rationalized this on the grounds that the boaters had challenged the city's grant applications in order to "blackmail the city into dropping plans to regulate the boaters." The PI posed as a college student and worked for a time in the home of the boater organization's sponsor while helping with mailings. Despite the PI's inability to corroborate the city attorney's theory, he recommended conducting a background investigation on the organization's principal, an employee of a tabloid newspaper. (The FBI, on request of city or county police organizations, generally performs background investigations.) The PI was not a boating enthusiast and soon drew suspicion. Simultaneously, the organization turned up the heat on the city by requesting what amounted to 5,000 pages of information-"studies and all related documents containing the word 'boat.'" Failing to get a response from Miro Beach, the boaters filed suit under the Florida Public Records Act. By this time, the city had spent $20,000. The case stalled, went to appeal, and was settled in favor of the boaters. A year later, the organization's principal filed an invasion of privacy and slander suit against the city attorney, the PI, and the PI's fi rm. After six months, the suit was amended to include the city itself and sought $1 million in punitive damages. a What are the most prudent decisions the city can make about its responsibilities to itself and others b What are the implications of those decisions even if there is no violation of law or regulation
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