As an IT professional it is extremely important to make sure that you do not take advantage of your position on being able to introduce certain skewed characteristics into a computing system in order to gain unfair advantage to your company or client’s business.
This is seen as unethical and in many cases can also be illegal.
Your professional responsibilities are:
The person assigned a task is considered the responsible one (Illinois Ideals, n.d.).
The individual or organisation can be both legally responsible and/or liable to fines or damaged, if not more.
Moral responsibilities hit at the heart of our core and spell the difference in who we aim to be as humans.
As an IT professional, you have these responsibilities to yourself, your end users, your brand you are representing as well as your country that you upkeep the law in.
Often the best way to highlight a functional direction is to illustrate a real life scenario, of which in this case we could take the following.
“You work at an online e-commerce company where your manager has asked you to falsify some product reviews in order for them to gain traction and get ahead of those of the competition. This is unethical, but you are still expected to do as you have been instructed by your superior in the company. How should you take this on board and address it?”
As with most things, there are two main ways to look at this.
- Follow the instructions of your manager because that is your job and you are obligated to perform company actions in order to be paid.
- Analyse the ethical and social impact that your actions can have prior to taking any such actions.
I personally maintain and operate a highly trafficked online review website where I often have to audit reviews which clearly are clearly fake and written purely for this exact reason.
I think challenging your manager on this type of ground is something that a lot of people would struggle to do (Justin Malbon, 2013). Primarily because most people want to be helpful and be seen to be performing at a high level in the workplace. So that they can climb the company ladders, get recognised as a team player or more and perhaps even get a rate increase due to relevant high work output at the end of the day.
Personally, my reaction would be to question the intent and state my uncomfortable involvement in performing an action that I do not personally agree with. A job is merely that; performing specialist actions in return for payment in one form or another (BusinessDictionary, 2017).
I would not comply with the manager’s request and instead attempt to rectify the situation by being diplomatic and helping find an alternative way to promote the products so that they could still achieve a level of visibility through a different channel or medium.
Illinois Ideals (n.d.) ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN COMPUTING [Online] Ideals.Illinois.edu, Available at: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/12247/ecse909.pdf (Accessed on 26th August 2017)
BusinessDictionary (2017) What is a job? [Online] BusinessDictionary.com, Available at: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/job.html (Accessed on 26th August 2017)
Justin Malbon (2013) Taking Fake Online Consumer Reviews Seriously [Online] Springer.com, Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10603-012-9216-7 (Accessed on 26th August 2017)