Spilka Chapter 9

I have to admit I was confused through much of Spilka chapter 9. As I read the six ethical frames Katz and Rhodes outlined I had a hard time trying to figure what some real-life ethical issues of that frame would be. Even when Katz and Rhodes gave examples I had a hard time figuring out what the ethical issue is. For example, in the means-end frame they say, “The primary ethical issue is whether the technical end justifies the technical means” (P. 234). Maybe I am stupid, but I don’t get it. I guess what they are saying is is the outcome of a new technology actually benefit the customer or does it hurt the customer? I guess because they allude that an end needs to be more then just technically advantageous, useful, or expedient.

I have an example from work that might fit into this category. A week or so ago my Vice President/Chief Information Officer decided she did not want to do her weekly e-newsletter that was sent to all of our staff anymore. Instead, she decided to start blogging and sharing information on Google+. By blogging and using Google+, my VP/CIO is saving time, but it she is hurting the rest of the organization because people are now responsible for actively seeking her announcements. In the past, they would have her announcements delivered right to them.

In addition, her newsletter always contained staff updates (e.g, who’s leaving now). Now, she wants us to post staff updates on Google+. I can see this as an ethical issue because staff updates should be private and Google+ by nature is not private because people can share posts with others.

About chrismoellering

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Posted on November 20, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I think you bring up an interesting point. Although forms of social media in the workplace can be efficient, they can also lead to grey areas involving privacy regulations as well as professionalism.

  2. Chris—

    I think your example is right on. It seems that your boss lady didn’t put too much thought into who her audience is and how important her messages are. At my work, they do stuff like this all the time. My boss sends important e-mails without a subject line or any information at the beginning of the e-mail. He expects us to read through the e-mail chain to decipher what information is important and what information isn’t important. The thing is he needs to tell us why it’s important so we can learn and not make the same mistakes that the e-mail is discussing.

  3. Heya Chris – Holy cats! Posting personnel stuff on a public forum like that? She sounds like she might run into some serious trouble with that. I think I’m kind of biased from being a writer so long, but making readers “go find” the information they need is counterintuitive. Changing things and making them harder just sets people up for failure. I suppose if I were an executive and didn’t have much time on my hands, I might try to do some stuff on social media, but making it harder for the user is going to lead to more miscommunication and it’s nasty henchman, blame.

    As for the reading, it was an interesting thought experiment, but I found myself frustrated with it, too. I felt it had little practical value. I like to have my mind bent around like a pretzel for the sake of learning, so it was interesting to read it, but I guess it was more esoteric than a lot of our more “hands-on, useful” readings. With ethics, (like Natalie and I mentioned) a lot of it has to do with human agency and not with computer features or (I hesitate to use the word) abilities. You know the old saying: “Samurai swords don’t kill people: samurais kill people.” Same with computers. Only they aren’t samurais. And they don’t kill people. 😛

  4. Ha, samurai swords–good one Heidi.

    Maybe the authors are saying that what is ethical (good) is taking care in both the ends and the means. If this is true, employers should ask themselves whether the means (like an increase in technology in the workplace) justifies the means (for instance, greater productivity). Maybe people feel more isolated with the added technology and the technology available worth it.

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