Course Textbook(s) Reynolds, G. W. (2015). Ethics in information technology (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning
Part 1: What Would You Do? Scenario #5
The purpose of this exercise is for you to practice applying the skill of integrating ethics into the decision-making process.
On page 30 of the textbook, review #5 in the “What Would You Do?” section, and describe how you would handle the
situation. Outline your response by using the five-step decision-making process as described in Chapter 1. Use your
critical-thinking skills, and compose your response in your own words. Your response to Part 1 should be at least one page.
Part 2: Case #2: Ethical and Business Setbacks for Nokia
The purpose of this exercise is for you to identify how an ethical school of thought relates to an IT scenario. Analyze Case
#2 that begins on page 32 of the textbook, and answer the discussion questions that follow the case. In addition to
answering the discussion questions, briefly identify the major ethical schools of thought (or approaches) discussed in this
unit (see page 22 in the textbook). Next, identify which one you prefer. Additionally, identify which school of thought you used
in answering each of the discussion questions and how it applies. Your response to Part 2 should be at least one page. Be
sure to use your critical-thinking skills and your own words to answer each question.
You will combine both Part 1 and Part 2 together in one document and submit it for grading in Blackboard. Ensure you label
your responses as Part 1 and Part 2. Cite the textbook in APA on a reference page for this assignment. The reference page
does not count toward meeting the total page requirement for this assignment.
5. While mingling with neighbors at a party, you mention that you are responsible for evaluating bids for a large computer software contract. A few days later, you receive a lunch invitation from one of your neighbors who also attended the party. Over appetizers, the conversation turns to the contract you are managing. Your neighbor seems remarkably well informed about the bidding process and likely bidders. You volunteer information about the potential value of the contract and briefly outline the criteria your firm will use to select the winner. At the end of the lunch, your neighbor surprises you by revealing that he is a consultant for several companies in the computer software market. Later that day, your mind is racing. Did you reveal informa- tion that could provide a supplier with a competitive advantage in the bidding process? What are the potential business risks and ethical issues in this situation? Should you report the conversation to someone? If so, whom should you talk to, and what would you say?
2. Ethical and Business Setbacks for Nokia On the morning of September 5, 2012, Nokia staged a press conference in New York City to announce the official launch of its new Windows 8 smartphones, the Lumia 920 and 820. The event focused heavily on the phone’s PureView camera technology. Videos played at the press conference and online emphasized the phone’s stabilizing technology. One advertise- ment in particular extolled the steadiness of the smartphone’s camera with a video showing a woman bicycling by a riverbank in Helsinki, supposedly shot on a Lumia 920 by a young man bicycling beside the woman. However, the online tech magazine The Verge decided to take a closer look at the video, and while examining it, a researcher for the magazine noticed a reflection in a window of a trailer behind the woman on the bike. The reflection showed a young man not on a bicycle, but rather in a van—holding a large camera.52 Further investiga- tion revealed that the shot was taken by a steadicam, a professional motion picture camera, held by a cameraman in the van.53 By 4:30 p.m. Eastern time, the word was out. And by 8:00 p.m. the same day, Nokia had updated the video with a disclaimer and issued a formal apology.54 Five days after the Lumia advertisement fiasco, Nokia announced that it would conduct an ethics review of the incident. “What we understand to date is that it was nobody’s intention to mislead, but there was poor judgment in the decision not to use a disclaimer,” Nokia spokes- person Susan Sheehan said. She refused to identify the company responsible for producing the advertisement and stated that Nokia would conduct its investigation “quickly, fairly and privately.”55 The company quickly concluded its investigation, but has not revealed the results of its investigation, other than to acknowledge that “poor judgment” was used.56 Nor has Nokia not made public any ethics initiative or punitive measures taken as a result of the false advertisement. Nokia is one of the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturers. It has a 120-year history of worker- and community-centered operations, and a sterling reputation for environmental con- sciousness. Its corporate manifesto, “The Nokia Way,” emphasizes people-centered decision making in a network of equals.57 The camera fiasco, however, was the latest in a string of ethi- cal and business setbacks that have set the giant corporation reeling. Nokia announced in 2007 that it was moving production from its facility in Bochum, Germany, to the relatively low-wage environment of Romania.58 A consumer backlash ensued. The company was eventually required to pay 60 million Euros ($93 million) back to the German state for subsidies paid to the company for locating its facilities in Germany. In addition, a boy- cott was organized by German trade unions, and several cabinet ministers publicly changed to other brands of cell phones.59 Nokia saw its share of the German smartphone market drop from 70 percent to 50 percent between the factory closure announcement and the end of 2009. Iron- ically, Nokia’s 2011 decision to close the Romanian facility and move manufacturing to Asia met with similar reactions in Romania.60 In 2008, Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture between Nokia and Siemens AG, reportedly provided Iran’s monopoly telecom company with technology that allowed it to inter- cept the Internet communications of its citizens to an unprecedented degree.61 The technology enables the Iranian government to monitor voice calls, text messaging, instant messages, and Web traffic.62 Nokia officials insisted that the system constituted “a standard architecture that the world’s governments use for lawful intercept” and added that the company had refused to sell the technology to the governments of Burma and China.63 However, in June 2009, the emerging pro-democracy movement in Iran organized a boycott of Nokia devices and messag- ing services.64 Finally, on June 2, 2010, Nokia Siemens Networks held a press conference to apologize for the role its technology played in the brutal crackdown on Iranian demonstrators the year before.65 In late 2011, Nokia-Siemens Networks announced that it would begin to reduce its business commitments in Iran and would no longer take on any new business with Iranian customers.66 In 2009, the company strongly supported a law in its native Finland allowing for corpora- tions to monitor the electronic correspondence of its workers. While the protection of trade secrets is a legitimate corporate goal, and similar activities are allowed in many European Union countries, Finnish culture is strongly in favor of privacy and the right to confidentiality.67 The campaign did little to reassure workers that the Nokia commitment to trust and open decision making was going to continue. The last several years have also been a time of unprecedented financial upheaval for Nokia. Since 2009, Nokia has lost over a third of its revenues, downsized its workforce by about 25 percent, and seen its market capitalization drop by over $100 billion.68 While the Lumia line of smartphones continues to be the market leader in Europe, Nokia’s share of the U.S. market has dropped to less than one percent.69 The public’s response to Nokia’s poor ethical decisions has cost the company heavily. The question remains whether Nokia will learn from its current troubles and adapt quickly enough to satisfy its customers, shareholders, and other stakeholders .
1. Were Nokia’s leaders acting unethically when they moved their facilities from Germany to Romania and from Romania to Asia, or was this a legitimate business decision to reduce costs and improve profits? How does this decision compare with Nokia’s actions in Iran?
2. Why did Nokia’s customer base in Europe and Iran react to the company’s decisions by withdrawing patronage? Do customers always respond to unethical decisions in this way?
3. How difficult is it to ensure ethical decision making in a business that is organized as a “network of equals”? How does this impact accountability? Does this explain why Nokia kept the investigation secret?
TABLE 1-5 Summary of four common approaches to ethical decision making
Principle Virtue ethics approach The ethical choice best reflects moral virtues in yourself and your community.
Utilitarian approach The ethical choice produces the greatest excess of benefits over harm.
Fairness approach The ethical choice treats everyone the same and shows no favoritism or discrimination.
Common good approach The ethical choice advances the common good.