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Business Ethics and Espionage

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SYNOPSIS
In 2001, John Pepper, the then Chairman of the Board at Procter and Gamble ( P& G), discovered that contractors for his company had been spying on a competitor, Unilever. They had been digging through trash bins outside Unilever's Chicago offices in hope of find-ing memos that revealed the company's marketing strategy. They took some 80 documents related to hair care products. Pepper was outraged by the practice and fired the contractors. He confessed the action to Unilever, returned the documents, and pledged not to use the information in them. Although P& G's spying was not criminal behavior, Unilever responded by playing hardball. It demanded $ 20 million in damages, reassignment of some P& G hair care managers, and restrictions on the marketing of some of its hair care products. It further demanded that P& G submit to a third- party audi-tor who would ensure that the company did not act on the information in the documents. Reporters asked a spokesman for The Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals about the ethics of P& G's behavior. He responded that the society's Code of Ethics condones trash scavenging only when the trash bins are on public property.
THE ISSUE
Suppose that when John Pepper discovered the espionage, he also discovered that very similar information appeared in the business media the day before the trash bins were raided. Develop a power point presentation that presents your results in applying the generalist test, utilitarian test and the virtue ethics test.

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Solution Preview

I need help understanding the three ethical perspectives so that I can put them in a power point presentation. The three perspectives are generalization test, utilitarian test and virtue ethics test. Attached is the case. Thanks.

The first point of view is the generalization test. Generalization says, the reason for your action should match the assumption that everyone who has the same rational will act the same way. It means that everyone who has the same reason will act the same way. Think about the given example, Pepper found that his contractors had rummaged the garbage of Unilever and pulled out 80 documents that revealed Unilever's strategy. He fired the contractors. According to the generalization test, would other CEOs who ...

Solution Summary

This response presents a brilliant discussion on Business Ethics

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Information Gathering Approaches for Business Ethics

Evaluate each of the following approaches that a business firm could use to gather information about competition. For each approach, mark your feeling about its appropriateness using the following scale:

1. definitely not appropriate, 2. probably not appropriate, 3. undecided, 4. probably appropriate, and 5. definitely appropriate

The business firm should try to get useful information about competitors by:

_____ Careful study of trade journals

_____ Wiretapping the telephones of competitors

_____ Posing as a potential customer to competitors

_____ Getting loyal customers to put out a phone "request for proposal" soliciting competitors' bids

_____ Buying competitors' products and taking them apart

_____ Hiring management consultants who have worked for competitors

_____ Rewarding competitors' employees for useful "tips"

_____ Questioning competitors' customers and/or suppliers

_____ Buying and analyzing competitors' garbage

_____ Advertising and interviewing for nonexistent jobs

_____ Taking public tours of competitors' facilities

_____ Releasing false information about the company in order to confuse competitors.

_____ Questioning competitors' technical people at trade shows and conferences

_____ Hiring key people away from competitors

_____ Analyzing competitors' labor union contracts

_____ Having employees date persons who work for competitors

_____ Studying aerial photographs of competitors' facilities

After marking each of the preceding approaches, indicate for any 5, 4, 2, or 1, why you thought these acts were either appropriate or inappropriate.

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