Quiz 2: Ethics in Business Research


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.

A Code of ethics is a list of provisions stated by a company or organization that lays clear policies for their employees to follow. Such policies ensure their employees do not break the code of ethics while doing their duties. a The city staff asked for a research proposal from their neighbourhood college professors who have previously worked on a similar project. The staff deceived the professors by using the intellectual property contained in the proposal submitted by them illegally. This resulted in a breach of confidentiality. The surveys conducted by the staff to check if the boat caused pollution and high traffic in shores followed incorrect methodologies. Hence, the research was not credible. The ordinance drafted by the city, as per these surveys can easily be challenged by the boaters. The city attorney hired a private investigator to illegally obtain information against the boat union. This decision was highly unethical and unlawful. The investigator impersonated as a student to unlawfully obtain information against the boater's union. This resulted in a case of invasion of privacy and defamation suit against the city. The city should have decided to conduct independent research through a credible and trustworthy research team. By conducting the research through their staff who are neither experienced nor competent, the city has taken an unresponsible approach. b Even if there are no legal infringements, those decisions had several ethical repercussions. The city had the right to quality research by an independent organization to verify the claims of pollution and shore traffic. The staff performed the research inappropriately using incorrect methods and scenarios. Hence the results are not credible enough, which might result in a bias towards the boaters. There was a knowledge gap between the professors who were experienced in such projects and the staff who were inexperienced. This knowledge gap might have resulted in incorrect decision making by the city. The staff used the procedures mentioned by the team of professors in the proposal without giving due credits or monetary compensation. The staff cancelled the proposal but still used the information unethically. This would result in a loss of trust in the city administration by other researchers for any projects in the future. The appointment of a private investigator to obtain information shows the lack of professional standards and ethics of the district attorney. This would result in distrust towards his professional credibility and other past decisions related to the city.

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.