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An Issue of Ethics

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Ethical Case Analysis: Case of Apple Inc. Company
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Apple Inc. Ethical Case Analysis
Introduction
Apple Inc. is a multinational corporation which holds millions of private customers’ record. The company has an obligation first to serve the interest of its customers including information privacy. It is paramount to engage in business relations in an ethical manner especially in handling customers’ information. The privacy of customer information involves an ethical observation by the corporation to preserve and protect all personal information against third party usage (Goel & Ramanathan, 2014). Apple Inc. provides for the policy against sharing or disclosure of clients’ information to third parties. The central focus of this essay is to critically analyze an ethical concern scenario involving the sale of private information to a third party by Apple Inc. company.
Ethical Scenario Analysis
Apple Inc. engages in a business that necessitates the acquisition and safe custody of the customers’ personal information. The information enables the corporation to keep a close watch over customer activities allowing them to meet the market expectation. The disclosure of such personal information to a third party is principally a violation of the contract terms between the customer and the company (Beets, Lewis & Brower, 2016). The company is thus obligated to maintain the privacy of their customer database to protect them from privacy invasion by third parties.

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In this case, Apple Inc. contemplates on increasing their sales revenue through the sale of customer information to a third party. The ethical concern of Apple Inc. issue can be analysed using conventional ethics frameworks including utilitarian principle, generalization principle and virtue ethics.
Utilitarian Ethical Framework
The utilitarian principle provides for the choice of an action that maximizes the utility or benefits of the parties involved. A business must choose to execute a decision that would equally benefit the customers as well. The choice is considered ethical so long as the business and other affected parties are in a position to receive optimal benefits (Norman, 2012). In the case of Apple Inc. company, the decision to sell data to a third-party only result to revenue generation for the company. The benefit is realized one way in favour of Apple Inc. company. It is thus unethical for the company to sell the data whereas the customers would be affected yet they stand to gain nothing at the expense of the company.
The selling of personal information to a third party without the consent of customers would result in a violation of the terms of engagement. The benefits accrued to the sale of customer information goes to the customer while the customer’s privacy is exposed to third parties (Schwartz, 2007). Apple Inc. takes a selfish approach to risk the privacy of their customers at the expense of financial gain. Furthermore, the engagement in unethical business practice would also put the future of the company at risk.
Generalization Ethical Framework
Under this ethic framework, the justification of an ethical act is based on the universal acceptability for the course of action. A business would thus make a decision that would universally apply under the same reasons or scenario. The generalization principle provides that ethical choices are ideal and acceptable to everyone in the same situation. In the case of Apple Inc., the decision is unethical since it would not be fair to any other party. Apple Inc. engages in a violation of customer policy and business terms to protect customer information from access by a third party (Schwartz, 2007). It is unacceptable for Apple Inc. company to engage in unethical business activities for financial gain while risking the privacy of the customers.
The decision by Apple Inc. to sell off private data to a third party would affect millions of customers. The decision represents a cause of action that of single business interest of revenue generation against the privacy interest of millions of customers. The generalization ethics frameworks would not support the business decision of Apple Inc. as it is universally unacceptable and unethical.
Virtue Ethics Framework
The virtue ethics framework considers the choice of a cause of action which is consistent with a set of virtues as far as humanity is concerned. Virtue ethics put into consideration acts that are virtuous and fundamentally in support of humanity. The provision of virtue ethics relates to the adherence to a set of virtues which includes honesty, trustworthiness, and transparency among others. In the case of Apple Inc., the decision is against the essential virtues and values whereby the company would be overlooking the privacy of their customers. The non-adherence to business virtues renders the decision to be unethical. Apple Inc. company would be in violation of the fundamental virtues and values in favour of revenue generation while sacrificing an absolute humanity responsibility.
Conclusion
To sum it up, the company engages in unethical practice to bolster their revenue generation capabilities. With reference to the different ethical frameworks, Apple Inc. Company oversteps some fundamental ethical limits which is a risk to the future of the business. The unethical engagement of the company would prove to be an immense disaster for the company. The consequences of unethical business practices could significantly impact the reputation as well as the performance of the company both in the short run and long term.

References
Beets, S. D., Lewis, B. R., & Brower, H. H. (2016). The quality of business ethics journals: An assessment based on application. Business & Society, 55(2), 188-213.
Goel, M., & Ramanathan, M. P. E. (2014). Business ethics and corporate social responsibility–is there a dividing line? Procedia Economics and Finance, 11, 49-59.
Norman, W. (2012). Whither Business Ethics? In Les Ateliers de l’éthique/The Ethics Forum (Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 31-40). Centre de Recherche en éthique de l’Université de Montréal.
Schwartz, M. (2007). The “business ethics” of management theory. Journal of Management History, 13(1), 43-54.

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