Business ethics are the policies that regulate business practices and fiduciary responsibilities. Ethical issues are presented in situations where an individual, group, or a company is torn between acting in accordance to the moral imperatives or the forms, styles, and content that satisfies the individual or company’s objectives (Turilli & Floridi, 2009). In business, ethical problems are quite profound as people are found in a conflict in choosing between general moral codes or the ethical systems alleviated by the organization. In most cases, organizations have developed a code of ethics that guides its members on how to act ethically and in accordance to the societal moral philosophy. They are established as ethical responsibilities of an organization to its client base.
One of these codes includes the interests of privacy protection and corresponding duties of treating some information in a confidential manner. There are several ethical issues that are associated with the collection, storage, and protection of customer’s data. In this context, GX Company has established an ethical code relating to information security that guarantees protection of customers’ personal information. However, the company is considering selling the information to a third party in order to increase its revenue. Therefore, this essay outlines various arguments in relation to the business ethics debacle and GX Company actions.
Ethical Nature of Information Transparency
Information transparency refers to the type of material that is availed and accessible to the user. When an organization includes a clause regarding information privacy, it is bound to act in accordance to its legal and ethical responsibilities in curbing information transparency.Lamming (2004) argues that the information security personnel play an essential role in ensuring that the customer’s information is protected. In the modern world,Lamming (2004) says that large damages can be awarded to plaintiffs who bring suits against organizations. As long as the organization has committed itself in information protection, it is ethically incorrect to disclose the customer’s information even if it is for commercial purposes.
Sanders and Turilli (2007) say that the disclosure of information for economical suitability contravenes the ethical connotations. GX Company had proposed on sharing or allowing the use of the customer’s information in exchange for a service such as mining of that data. Lamming (2004) believes that information transparency is augment as an ethical principle in relation to the impact of the disclosed information. Some ethical principles include privacy, anonymity and copyright that regulate the flow of information. Consent forms for the treatment of personal information clarify the extent to which privacy and anonymity will be granted, describing the constraints on access and use of disclosed information it would be acting on the contrary to its ethical principles (Turilli & Floridi, 2009). If the company allows it to be shared and gives an opportunity of data profiling it will be against the initial agreement. The consent forms in this case are represented by the privacy clause found on the website which lured the customer into giving out the information to the company (Turilli & Floridi, 2009). This implies that a nondisclosure agreement between the customer and the company is supposed to be fully followed.
Probably, GX Company can consider seeking the particular customer consent regarding their proposed action. The customer decided to share the information based on the guarantee given on the information transparency policy on the company’s website. Acting on the contrary would be violation of such policy and is both legally and ethically incorrect. However, the organization can invite the customer’s decision on the matter and if he or she agrees, they can proceed with selling the information.
Change of Ethical Policies
Information security professions help in protecting data through the establishment and enforcement of policies. Policies are described as functional organizational guidelines that require compliance and may result to disciplinary action if an individual fails to adhere to the set policies (Turilli & Floridi, 2009). A policy is enacted through five-stage a criterion which includes dissemination, reviewing it, comprehension, compliance, and overall enforceability (Sanders & Turilli, 2007). A new management team can decide on reviewing the existing ethical policies and come up with new ones. The new rules may delude the privacy clause regarding to the customer’s information enabling the endorsement of information transparency.
Nonetheless, an organization may not disclose the information that was shared during the previous terms. This implies that the customer and the company entered into an agreement under privacy terms. The new managerial team is obligated to following that policy through the identified five-stage criterion. Radical approaches are not relevant to the initial agreements as the organization will be risking positive ethical implications.
Information systems are always alleviating mystifying ethical problems due to the challenges brought about by electronic commerce. Establishing accountability for the information shared on electronic platforms should be based on standards that preserve the organizational values. Privacy policies are enshrined in the institution’s rules and regulations and it would act in accordance to them. The human resource office should work with other departments for the purposes of developing and enforcing corporate ethics policies that reflect the institution’s values and standards.
Lamming, R., Caldwell, N. & Harrison, D. (2004). Developing the concept of transparency for use in supply relationships.British Journal of Management, 15, 291–302.
Sanders, J. & Turilli, M. (2007).Dynamics of control. In TASE 2007 (pp. 440–449)
Turilli, M. & Floridi, L. (2009).The ethics of information transparency. Ethics Information Technology. 11, 105-112.