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On daily basis, people have to face a number of ethical issues, where a choice has to be made between two alternatives, where the right decision has to be made instead of the wrong one, even when the wrong decision is an easier and more profitable decision. Ethics are the codes which govern the behavior and the decisions which are taken by the individuals, on the basis of the values and the level of moral which they follow. The ethical decision is made on the basis of trust and integrity and includes complex issues like compliance, diversity and governance.
In the sphere of business, several times such ethical decisions are raised, which has to be resolved, keeping in mind the ethical integrity. In the following parts, the given case study has been evaluated on the basis of business ethics.
The major ethical issue in this case relates to the improper mode in which the data of a competitive company was attained, along with the motives for attaining the same. Competitive intelligence spying is considered as an unethical way of attaining the material information of another company so as to attain the benefit for own company (Garfunkel, 2014). The reason why the competitive intelligence spying is considered as unethical relates to the fact that the information which is attained of the competitive company is the private and the confidential information of a company, which if misused, can wreak havoc over the competitive company, and can result in huge profits for the company which misuses such data. The other reason why such behavior is considered as unethical stems from the fact that the information is attained in a manner which is unlawful, and even when the same is lawful, it is unethical, as it only follows the letter of the law, instead of its spirit (Ferrell, Fraedrich and Ferrell, 2016).
In the given case study, Michael’s boss attained the competitive intelligence by hacking the private intranet of the competitive company, which was unlawful. Also, the later statement by the boss in this regard highlights the unethical manner in which the information was obtained. This information was attained for the personal benefit of the company. Due to these reasons, an ethical issue was raised in this case with regards to competitive intelligence spying (Daft and Samson, 2014).
In this case, Michael should follow the steps as are governed through theories of virtue ethics and utilitarianism. As per the virtue ethics, the virtue of an individual, i.e., the mind and character of an individual should dictate the decisions undertaken by the individuals. In this theory, the nature, along with the definitions of the virtues is discussed. This theory presents that when an individual shows courage, justice, temperance and honesty, the good character of a person is expressed (Winter, 2011). In the given case study, Michael should act on the basis of virtue ethics. In other words, he should uphold the virtues like honesty, fairness, justness, and courage in the steps which he undertakes. So, instead of using the information which his boss has given him, he should use this information and blow the whistle on his boss. He should honestly show to the world that the information was obtained in an unethical manner and that the sense of justice needs to prevail.
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