How Companies Use Unethical Technologies In The Workplace Term Paper

Length: 2 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Business - Ethics Type: Term Paper Paper: #87559772 Related Topics: Workplace Privacy, Workplace Ethics, Moral Relativism, Privacy Laws
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Ethics in Technology

There has been a rapidly increasing use of technology in the workplace, but while some technological advances have benefitted companies, other technologies have raised serious concerns about employee privacy.

Consequentialism and Privacy Abuses

One of the issues that arises often in the workplace when it comes to employee privacy and employer technological overreach is when employers use certain electronic surveillance practices (monitoring personal phone calls and voice messages) to basically eavesdrop on their employees (Findlaw). In fact personal privacy laws affirm that an employer may not monitor an employee's personal phone calls; albeit the company can monitor a personal call if the employee knows it is being monitored and agrees (Findlaw). One ethical theory that applies to this situation is the consequentialism, which posits that the consequence of an action determines its moral value.

One complicating aspect of this is that a manager may believe that it is moral from a business standpoint to monitor what workers are saying -- even their private conversations where, for example, the woman may be telling the childcare service she will be late picking up her child. The theory's weakness, if the company is basing its actions on consequentialism,...

...

Ironically, that wrongful behavior could turn out to be a positive in terms of the consequences: say a manager learned by eavesdropping that an employee was planning to quit, hence the employee could be fired ahead of the planned departure.

Deontological Theory as Applied to Unethical Eavesdropping

Another theory that has application to this issue is the deontological theory -- that is, the consequences of an action are not important when management considers whether the practice of stealthily eavesdropping is ethical. This theory basically gives an employer carte blanche to do whatever he believes is necessary. The door is opened to unethical behaviors, in other words. One can justify almost anything if the consequences don't really matter.

Potential Solutions

As to the solution to this problem, short of some enterprising employee catching the company in the act and bringing appropriate legal charges against him, workers feeling harassed should understand the concepts of ethical relativism in a globalized world, That is, morality is only relative to the norms of one's culture (Velasquez, et al. 2000). To wit, the rightness or wrongness of an act is dependent upon the…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

FindLaw. (2010). Privacy in the Workplace: Overview. Retrieved February 8, 2015, from http://employment.findlaw.com.

Velasquez, M., Andre, C., Shanks, T., and Meyer, M.J. (2000). Ethical Relativism. Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University, Retrieved February 8, 2015, from http://www.scu.edu.


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