Doing Ethics Technique (DET)
What’s going on?
The case study revolves around a software company that has developed new software which calculates tax for individuals and small scale business units. The first version of the software has got some major bugs and the president of the company is aware of the same. However, it is also a known fact that there is huge demand for this software in the market and the launch of the same would yield immense profits. The company ships the first version of the software with the bugs present in it along with a disclaimer stating that the errors resulting from the software would be the responsibility of the company. The use of the software causes incorrect calculation of taxes for many and users receive a penalty in return.
What are the facts?
The president of the company is aware that the software would be high on demand in the market. It is also known that the company would be the first one to launch such a product in the market and will receive great profits as a result. Due to the presence of the bugs, it is also known that there will be errors in the calculation of the taxes (Ehrbar, 2015).
What are the issues?
The launch of the product without any changes will cause damage to the customers as it may cause them penalties by the tax department. The delay in the launch of the product may cause loss or decrease in the profits for the company. The erroneous product would result in loss of customer trust and customer engagement (Heeney, 2016).
Who is affected?
The following stakeholders will be affected by the ethical dilemma that is involved in the case study.
- The president of the company as the launch of an erroneous product will impact the reputation and goodwill of the president
- The company itself as the product will raise questions on company policies and quality of service
- The end users as the errors in the product will cause penalties for the users (Glover, 2009)
What are the ethical issues and implications?
The theory states that the character and the morals decide the ethical correctness or incorrectness of an act.
- The primary motive behind the launch of the product in spite of knowing the underlying errors is the profit for the company and personal growth.
- The act is ethically incorrect as it would result in loss of the users and will also result in deterioration of the company reputation (Annas, 2014)
As per this ethical theory, an act shall be termed as ethically correct or incorrect on the basis of its adherence to the rules that regulate the same.
- Every organization is bound by the professional code of conduct and ethical conduct that suggest that there shall be honesty, professionalism, public interest, quality of life, professional development and competence maintained in every activity.
- If the president agrees to go ahead with the launch of the product in spite of knowing the errors present in the same, it would be a clear violation of the ethical conduct.
- The act therefore is ethically incorrect as it does not adhere to the company policies and rules. Also, the customer satisfaction and engagement is of utmost priority for every organization which is also violated in this case (Mandal, Ponnambath, & Parija, 2016).
Theory of Consequentialism
This theory of ethics suggests that an act is termed as ethically correct if the consequences that result from it are positive in nature and vice versa.
- The short term consequences that will result from the launch of the product in the market would be increase in sales along with increase in profits for the company.
- However, on a long term basis, the customers will report the bugs to the company and will also raise queries on the errors in the product. It would result in loss of company’s goodwill in the market. The customer trust and engagement will also be negatively impacted by this act.
- The number of negative consequences will be more than the positive ones and therefore the act would be ethically incorrect (Sachs, 2013).
What can be done about it?
It is required to make sure that the ethical code of conduct is followed in all the activities and there are no violations associated with the same. It is also essential that there is complete transparency maintained in front of the customers regarding the performance and features of the software. There should be a beta version released in the market in place of the final release to resolve the errors in the time frame that would have been present in between (Seach, 2013).
What are the options?
- The disclaimer at the beginning of the CD of the software should clearly illustrate the errors and the impact that it may have on the performance of the software. There shall also be a warning issued to the customers informing them about the errors and the severity of the same.
- The company should have released the beta version of the software in the market which would have avoided the negative impact on the profits and customer relationships. Also, it would have provided the company with the due timeframe to rectify the errors and bugs in the software (Simpson, Nevile, & Burmeister, 2009).
- The board of directors along with the senior management should have reviewed the software in the initial stages and the software should have been tested in its development phase itself. There shall be cognitive walkthroughs carried out in the later versions of the software to make sure that such errors are not repeated.
Annas, J. (2014). Applying Virtue to Ethics. Retrieved 16 March 2017, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/japp.12103/abstract
Ehrbar, J. (2015). Ethical Considerations of Genetic Manipulation in Sport. The Sport Journal. Retrieved 16 March 2017, from https://thesportjournal.org/article/ethical-considerations-of-genetic-manipulation-in-sport/
Glover, J. (2009). â€œDoingâ€ Ethics in Rural Health Care Institutions. Retrieved from https://geiselmed.dartmouth.edu/cfm/resources/ethics/chapter-04.pdf
Heeney, C. (2016). An â€œEthical Momentâ€ in Data Sharing - May 13, 2016. Journals.sagepub.com. Retrieved 16 March 2017, from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0162243916648220
Mandal, J., Ponnambath, D., & Parija, S. (2016). Utilitarian and deontological ethics in medicine. Retrieved 16 March 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4778182/
Sachs, B. (2013). Reasons Consequentialism. https://dx.doi.org/10.1163/17455243-01005006
Seach, G. (2013). An explanation of the Doing Ethics Technique. Retrieved 16 March 2017, from https://www.homeworkmarket.com/sites/default/files/qx/15/03/03/09/doing_ethics_technique_explanation_0.pdf
Simpson, C., Nevile, L., & Burmeister, O. (2009). Doing Ethics: A Universal Technique in an Accessibility Context. Retrieved 16 March 2017, from https://journal.acs.org.au/index.php/ajis/article/view/159