|Subject Code and Title||MGT301A: Ethics and Sustainability|
|Individual/Group||Group and Individual|
|Length||2000 words (+/ 10%) Peer review form|
This assessment allows students to develop writing skills in ethics and sustainability scenarios and to explore the ways in which stakeholder theory and values management can be used by organisations, as tools in addressing economic, commercial, social and environmental problems.
You will be allocated to a group of three students who, in module 5.1 (week 9) and module
You will then use the group scenario to prepare an individual report.
The scenario report will take the form of a business case, made to the senior management of the organisation, recommending how the issue should be dealt with. The report will employ either stakeholder theory or values management as an analytical tool.
Assessment 3 Scenario Report
The unit has been outlined in the aspects of sustainability and ethics within the business enterprise. The case study of Facebook mentioning conductance of unauthorized psychological study on users has been considered to summarize the benefit of ethical and responsible business approach. The stakeholder theory has been effective to guide the company in leading their business by supporting stakeholder's interest in transparent business, value-added products, social wellbeing and corporate sustainability. The approaches like building a strong ethical foundation, the culture of integrity and re-evaluating business as needed have noted to be crucial to develop ethical standards within the selected company. Facebook has been recommended to the company with IDPP to eliminate the consequence of user data manipulation in future.
Business ethics determined as contemporary corporate principle, standards, norms and group of values that govern the activities as well as the behaviour of the people within the business organization. Business sustainability is gained through ethical practices by the organization that helps them receive profitable reputation within the community it operates. In reference to such aspects, this unit aims to deliver a written scenario depicting sustainability or ethical issues faced by Facebook Company in the IT sector. The unit will employ stakeholder theory as a significant analytical tool to assess the severity of unethical use of user data to deliberately influence the consumer's emotional state. The analysis of the ethical issue, solution and recommendation will also be provided to help the company cultivate highly ethical business in society.
Summary of the scenario
Facebook is a public traded organization, and founder of the company is Mark Zuckerberg. The company worth AUD 24 billion and has been leading American organization providing services like online social networking. Facebook was founded in the year 2004 and became the greatest social network across the globe with crossing 1 billion consumers as in the year 2012. As per the year 2019, it has been noted that 10% of worldwide active users of Facebook were men between 25 to 34 years of age and women between 18 to 24 years of age contributing to the largest demographic group (Statista, 2019). The respective company operating in the international market gather a huge amount of private data of their customers that might bring several a moral framework. The team of the data science has noted to undertake the unauthorized psychological investigation on users rising the question of to which expand corporate privileges may operate on data and information facilitated by customers. The company’s behaviours have been immoral, where Facebook manipulate consumer’s news push to willingly influence consumer’s emotional state (Walsh, 2019). The use of user’s information without their explicit consent has raise sustainability and ethical concern for an international organization like Facebook. Thus, the utilization of consumer information has become a worthy aspect of consideration undertaken in a detailed manner in this unit.
Description of theory used for analysis (stakeholder theory)
There lies a potential benefit in building a healthier relationship with significant stakeholders. Kolk (2016) stated that sustainable enhancement is effective trade in itself. The international corporate-like Facebook encountering an ethical dilemma with respect to the utilization of user information, moving towards economic enhancement, social-wellbeing and environmental protection is significant to lead sustainably within the marketplace. Given the case of Facebook, the company noted to be unethical in the significant utilization of data privacy regulation. The absence of informed consent depicted that social networking company experiment on almost 700,000-news feed broke regulation on examination on the human topic (Arthur, 2019). Such study has harmed participants as it alters their mood. The company argued that it used user information to understand the emotional influence of Facebook and individual that uses their products (Arthur, 2019). The company has led to emotional contagion affecting its sustainability and business integrity within the international social networking industry. In order to mitigate such consequences, stakeholder theory incorporating business ethics and organizational management would be crucial to account several elements influenced by business entities like a local community, supplier, creditors, consumers and staffs along with others. Uribe, Ortiz-Marcos & Uruburu (2018) discussed that stakeholder theory addresses values and morals in the administrating company, particularly related to the market economy, social contract and social responsibility. Privacy refers to the individual situation of life featured by prohibiting from publicity and the right to privacy is legally safeguarded in the democratic community. The integrity towards individual’s privacy would be furthermore prima-facie duty for Facebook. The key stakeholders of the company include owner, networking partners, users of social media platform, advertisers, government and community in which it operates (Annualreports, 2019). These stakeholders are likely to be influenced by business actions and objective practised within the marketplace. The unethical activity by Facebook related to unauthorized manipulation of user data can lead the company to lose its potential stakeholder, thus encountering the decrease in profitable revenue collection. The bad publicity of the company is likely to impact its long-term sustainability and lead business ethics in a questionable position (Davies, 2016). In such, stakeholder theory has been successful in challenging the general analysis structure by recommending that stakeholder's requirement should be placed at the initial of certain actions. The business practices under the aspect of stakeholder theory would be favourable for the company to generate value for stakeholder and keep interested in their consumer to lead ethically. Thus, to gain a reputable position within the social networking industry, Facebook need to lead ethically through considering the influence it makes by their certain activities.
The organization leading sustainably and ethically within the marketplace generally gains a competitive edge. Such enterprises receive their local society’s goodwill and encounter their efforts depicted in the bottom line. While Facebook traditionally seeks practicality and precision as crucial for their planning efforts, ethical development would be alteration over time in reply to improved information and society’s growing priorities. Given the case of Facebook, technology has created a significant impact on the private lives of the individual. The issues incorporated are aspects of privacy, affect of technology on utilizing private or personal information and unauthorized information possession. At present economic activities are largely information-dependent, and because of the development of technology or social networking, this era summarizes increase in knowledge worker as people became open in context to communication. This paradigm swing has brought new sustainable and ethical issues that are largely related to the problem like the right to admittance to information, privacy right that is threatened by emergence on free-informational flow and intellectual property protection (Lustgarten, 2015). The significant issue has been raised about ethics of the investigation undertaken by Facebook after they uncover the way it manipulated thousands of user’s news feed. The company’s representatives observed to be relaxed about aggression over the investigation and saw it as the primary issue of data privacy that it measured was well-handled. The Facebook spokesperson explained that there was no unnecessary gathering of individual’s information in connection with research activity, and every data were stored securely (Walsh, 2019). The issues related to unauthorized access to information and manipulation of news feed has raised standard questionable business ethics in exercise. In the corporate social responsibility, for information professional, the business practice under privacy act would be crucial concerning the delimitation of confidentiality. Even though increased internet advancement has greatly influenced collection, retrieval, dissemination and storage of information, it's crucial ethical effect relates to inaccessibility or accessibility as well as manipulation of data. Given the case of Facebook, technological manipulation of data referred to the integration of documents, repackaging of graphical or textual format and possible modification of data by electronic means. The utilization of technology in information processing may hence not be noted as ethically neutral. Lustgarten (2015) added the utilization of technology is value burdened procedure. The frequent use of social networking has altered the ontological status of information with accompanying ethical inference. The feature of social networking offered by Facebook to its potential users has led privacy of users manifested in several areas. The company often merge databases that include personal information. This means documentation of individual information from several databases into a single database. The main issue in such activities involves the fact that people are unaware that their information is incorporated into the central database, its purpose, accuracy of data, and to whom it would benefit. In order to mitigate such ethical issue, it is crucial for the company to comply with Privacy Protection and Computer Matching act to operate responsibly within the information technology sector (Kuner et al., 2015). The manner in which customer information is utilized has been worthy of consideration, where the impact on the people may be summarized as loss of spontaneity, dignity and threat to privacy as well as freedom. Kuner et al., (2015) argued that technology consistent with being intimidation to privacy than a certain possible solution. The instances like Facebook breaching ethical guideline for user data utilization depicted that regulation regarding privacy protection failed behind because of speedily altering internet and technology world. In handling such situations, it would be crucial or team of data science in Facebook Company to confront themselves with an ethical issue like deciding categories of private or personal data the team is permitted to collect.
In addition, trust as ethical guideline foster double ethical implication by serving factual correctness of data and regarding accurate handling. The truthful business is an expression of ethical virtues like honesty, trustworthiness and openness (Davies, 2016). The company need to abide by the human right to ethically operate within the market and gain profitable position by being socially responsible towards community people or stakeholders. The unethical behaviour of Facebook has received several criticisms as, unlike the promotion that company shows, it conversely aimed to influence individual perception by making them purchase services or goods from partnered advisors (Walsh, 2019). The alteration to news feed undertaken without consumer knowledge makes it important for the company to comply with their business practices with private policy to be ethical in their approach. The clear justification of purpose of utilizing user information, description of the process to confirm the accuracy of information used depends on norms of truth, human right and freedom crucial for dealing data manipulation as ethical issues.
Identification of 3 alternative solutions
The trust of potential stakeholder and the organization's good name are two of the crucial assets for international internet corporate 'Facebook'. In the age of big data, the unauthorized data evaluation is not acceptable. The business enterprise can safeguard their brand reputation and improve stakeholder engagement by building a workplace, where ethical practices in the custom. For decreasing ethical risk, Facebook can comply with its activities under the following solution-
Implement a strong foundation: The compliance and ethics program is an effective tool to reduce stress to compromise value and note misconduct. The compliance with national contract regulation, data protection act and other legal need related to data privacy is significant to deliver business operation under ethical conduct within the information technology industry (Kuner et a. 2015). The company fostering improved staff reporting of big data usage that occurs and reducing retaliation opposes to whistleblower can internally address the issue of violating consumer privacy law.
Establish a culture of integrity from top-down: Individual has innate wish to jewel along and conform to rule of those surrounding them. In Facebook, although most staffs retain the desire to do the right things, the culture of poor moral values, supervision and the accountable workplace has led company breach ethical guideline in context to user data manipulation. In order to mitigate such issue in future, leaders in the workplace need to promote strong ethic culture by upholding commitment and promises to stakeholders as well as staffs.
Revise and re-evaluate as required: With the advancement in internet technology, the consumer need and situation for Facebook will alter. The risk assessment, ongoing or periodic focus groups and follow-up survey allow the company to keep program ethically relevant to business conduct (Kolk, 2016). The routine track about staff’s behaviour within the workplace and business operation under the data protection act would highlight internally that resources invested in ethics.