The organization, where i work, is an apparel company having a large repository of various data types. It has the database containing the information related to vendor list, vendor details, vendor raw material cost, supplier order details, the price paid, dues, accounts payable, accounts receivable, employee salary, product sales, inventory and others. Such information is considered to be of high priority as the various management decisions can be taken from the information kept (Christen et al., 2013). That information if been disclosed can make a massive massacre as if it comes to the hand of an outsider resulting to an unauthorized utilization of the information damaging the organization’s good sake. An incident took place in the last November of 2015 in our workplace which created a massive chaos among the employees in the organization (Shin, 2015). The accounts payable and receivable details of the current financial year got disclosed by a journalist in a local newspaper who claimed that he got the information from a person belonging to the IT department of our organization through remote file transfer.
We later came to know who the person was as it was identified by the journalist when he was pressurized to tell the truth. I, being from the same department, felt very much ashamed about our colleague who have done such crime which is an absolute injustice for the company’s good faith (Sampson & Makela, 2014). The person was working for several years in our organization with a real performance level. The team decided to terminate his employment with immediate effect as the management considered the misconduct of the employee as a severe guilt (Stahl et al., 2014). The whole incident and the action was taken by the management authority left us speechless.
The incident that happened in our workplace was an unpleasant one. It was not at all expected from any of the employees working in our organization. If the whole incident is to be critically analyzed, the ethical issues related to the Information and Communication Technologies will be driven out (Weaver, 2014). As my organization is an apparel company, they use an ERP software which integrates all the departments including Finance & Accounts, Marketing, Sales, Retail, HR, Admin, IT, Factory, Warehouse, Design, Purchase, and others. The data which are entered in the software are maintained in a centralized database through the local networking based on the concept of ICT (Culiberg & Mihelic, 2016). The access to the information of the database is made limited by the system administrator to the departments.
The administrator has given the rights to access the information to the departments which are considered relevant to them. For an instance, the design department will not be able to view the accounts information as it is not relevant to them (Moskalionov et al., 2015). But the ethical issue that lies here is that as the IT department grants the access to information to all the departments as per their requirement, they enjoy the facility to view all the information of all departments which may be not required for their usage.
In such case, the IT department enjoys the privilege of accessing all the information on an organization which is not justified from the perspective of requirement (Weiss, 2014). Being the member of the IT staff, the convicted person obtained the information of the accounts receivable and payable statements from the starting of the current financial year and transferred them to the journalist through online file transfer to his remote computer (Van Weert & Munro, 2013). Therefore, the ethical issue regarding the full information access of an organization by the IT department and online file transfer persists which resulted in such unauthorized disclosure of information.
The nonethical issue that lies here is the disclosure of the information to the outsider, which came from the ethical issue of entire information access by the IT department. It was later reported that the accused person, not only supplied the valuable information to the journalist but also took an enormous amount of money from him for providing the same (Weiss, 2014). Such conduct was treated to be a highly offensive crime as the competitors of the organization can plan their strategy in accordance to lead in the market as they view the financial summary of our organization in the newspaper article. In such cases, the journalist was equally responsible for this mishap as he accumulated the information through unethical means (Giacalone & Promislo, 2014). He offered a bribe to the accused IT professional to get those financial statements. The journalist’s newspaper organization was also involved in this unethical issue as they supported his proceedings regarding information gatherings and publishing it in the newspaper.The newspaper organization was also fully aware of the consequences of the issue, but still they continued to approach for the unauthorized information disclosure (Weiss, 2014). Even, it was later reported that the system administrator of the organization often noticed that the accused person frequently viewed the accounts information in the software (Van Weer & Munro, 2013). But the administrator did not give any importance regarding what the person was doings as he assumed that the accused was checking for the accuracy of the accounts reports.