The ethical dilemma in this scenario requires Derek to decide on whether to inform the smaller company about the extended use of the software. This would mean risking losing his job. On the other hand he can neglect the fact that the smaller firm is the rightful owner, and hence enjoy the benefits of being promoted at the larger firm (Winston and Edelbach, 2014).
Derek has an investment in this scenario. He is faced by two compromising decisions, both of which will have a profound effect on his career. This means that the ethical dilemma will have an effect on his career whether he decides to contact his previous employer or not. In this scenario,, contacting the rightful owner of the software is the most ethical thing to do (Reynolds, 2011). However, this means that he would lose his job at the larger firm. The unethical option is neglecting any consultation of the rightful owners of the software. This would lead to Derek’s promotion and hence an advancement in his career.
Derek has several alternatives as remedies to his dilemma. He can decide to be ethical about this dilemma. He can inform the smaller company of the illegal use of the software, despite putting himself in a compromising situation. He can involve legal counsel or a lawyer to advise him on the best way to ensure that the larger firm does not continue to use the software without proper authorization from the rightful owners. This might result in a court injunction allowing for such a move (Poel and Royakkers, 2011). However, the smaller firm might use this as an avenue to sue Derek for illegal use of patented software. The larger fir might also be forced to pay damages for such illegal use.
Another option is to neglect the lawful and right thing to do and to just go with the flow. This would lead to Derek’s promotion and hence an advancement in his career. However, if the rightful owners were to become aware of the illegal use of their software Derek would be the one to blame and serious fines or even jail terms might be the consequences.
Having considered these options I think the best one is for Derek to choose the ethical and legal alternative. This means informing the smaller firm of the extended use of the software. This would avoid instigation of lawsuits on both Derek and the larger firm.
Reynolds, G. W. (2011). Ethics in Information Technology. Mason, Ohio: South-Western.
Poel, I. ., & Royakkers, L. M. M. (2011). Ethics, Technology and Engineering: An introduction.
Winston, M. E., & Edelbach, R. (2014). Society, Ethics, and Technology. Boston, MA:
Wadsworth Cengage Learning.