The use of the internet and social media has revolutionized communication and relationships between different persons. The use of social media creates many compromising situations where one is forced to decide if doing certain things is ethical or not. While using social media, it is possible for one to misdirect a message to an unintended party. Social media is especially sensitive in this aspect since it involves the sharing of private photos. Incidences of people uploading private photos or videos due to their own reasons have become rather common. The question one asks is what makes some people want to defame the image of their online friends and scathe their profiles. Whatever the case, ethical considerations and dilemmas are important factors that come into play in search situations.
One of the most comprising situations is receiving a message via the company’s mail service. The email reveals that a colleague, who is also a friend, is having intimate relations with the manager. The working policy clearly stipulates that any relations between bosses and their juniors be prohibited since it automatically creates a conflict of interest. Further investigation might even reveal photos shared between the two when they were at a holiday together. The fact that the two associates are married makes the situation even more compromising. The junior who is your friend is close to your family and hence you are friends with their partner. The ethical challenge exists on whether you should expose the nature of the relationship to the relevant authorities or to your friend’s spouse.
Discussion of ethical model
Utilitarianism is the guiding principle where the conduct of an individual is determined by analysis of the effect it will have on the larger population. If a certain decision results in happiness for the greater good of a majority of the people, then it is deemed moral or ethical to choose such an option over and above any other alternatives. Consequentialism is a guiding principle in ethics that is solely based on the results or consequences of certain decisions. The analysis of the results then becomes the basis for determining if the act is moral or acceptable to an individual or group of people. Utilitarianism can be viewed as consequentialism, which is centered on the good of many people. Hedonism is another form of consequentialism that advocates choosing of alternatives that promote achievement of individual pleasure (Jenkins, 481).
In this situation, it is ethical to report the matter to the human resource department. This would solve many issues and prevent the relationship from escalating. However, the dilemma arises from the personal involvement with the junior employee. The evidence of special favors may make the situation more compromising especially if it has been rather obvious that your colleague has risen up the ranks abnormally considering her qualifications and performance at work. It seems only fair for others to enjoy work benefits and promotions based on merit, and no other extraneous factors (Kuokkanen, 963). However, the reporting of the issue may result to the firing of your friend for engaging in such a relationship and accepting undeserved benefits (Wariboko, 632).
Analysis of Problem through the Lens of Chosen Ethical Model
One may choose to use the utilitarianism approach and consider the effect the relationship may have on other people in the workplace. The friend may receive special treatment at work such as undeserved promotions and salary increments with a reduced workload. This will have a negative impact on the work morale of people who are deserving and hard working. Similarly, the family of the spouse to your friend deserves to know of the relationship, considering the health risks involved and the psychological suffering of the children, if any. This involves analysis of the greater good that the decision will have as opposed to hedonistic approach of allowing your friend to enjoy the relationship whatever the consequences that may have on the people that are affected (Painter-Morland, Mollie & Patricia, 479).
Based on the analysis above, it is recommended to report the relationship to human resource department to avert the numerous negative consequences (Poynter, 845). However, this must only be done after talking with your friend to confirm that there actually something going on and to try to talk her into ending. This may help to create reason and logic thinking by showing her the risk involved if the relationship continues to grow. Eventually, she might lose her job since the boss might pull some strings to remain in the workplace should the illegal relationship be discovered by the human resources department. If all the reasoning and talking does not bear any fruit, it is the onus of the friend to report the relationship. Any evidence in your possession as the one making the allegations ought to be forwarded, including all the relevant emails and photos that incriminate the two in the illegal relationship.
Social media has resulted in the creation of numerous complications in the work place and even in relationships (Noor, Al-Deen & Hendricks, 47). The persons caught in between such compromising situations are forced to formulate decisions based on the ethical models they consider most prudent and most befitting.
Noor, Al-Deen H. S, and John A. Hendricks. Social Media and Strategic Communications.
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Internet resource.
Poynter, Ray. The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research: Tools and Techniques for
Market Researchers. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K: Wiley, 2010. Internet resource.
Painter-Morland, Mollie, and Patricia H. Werhane. Cutting-edge Issues in Business Ethics:
Continental Challenges to Tradition and Practice. Dordrecht: Springer, 2008. Print.
Kuokkanen, Aleksi. Constructing Ethical Patterns in Times of Globalization: Hans Küng's
Global Ethic Project and Beyond. Leiden: BRILL, 2012. Internet resource.
Wariboko, Nimi. Methods of Ethical Analysis: Between Theology, History, and Literature. ,
Jenkins, Peter. Counselling, Psychotherapy and the Law. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2007. Internet