The principal of Utilitarianism is often cited for grounds in business related decision making. Business ethics is often misunderstood - for if the main purpose of business is to maximize profits, then one could argue Westjet had done nothing wrong in trying to gain an advantage in thier industry. Thankfully, ethical decision making involves criteria beyond the 'greatest good for the greatest number of people'. Its criteria are as follows - utilitarianism, rights, justce and care.
Although Westjet will claim they were acting out of the best interest of their organization, stockholders and clients, Westjet's involvement in corporate espionage has violated the ethical decision making criteria 'rights'. Although remote theft has given a new face to stealing, Mark Hill's illeagal access of confidential information is still considered theft. Air Canada, however, failed to respond properly and broke the rights of Mark Hill by trespassing on his property.
In the end, Westjet failed to consider the relationships between its coroporation and its employees. Lawsuits have not only tarnished Westjets brand, but have costed its employees who own much of their shares. Such actions in the end have affected the individuals closest to the company.
Corporate espionage is estimated to cost business up to 250 billion dollars a year. However such ethical violations are not victimless crimes. The actions of Mark Hill in end costed himself a job as well as directly affecting thousands of employee share holders at WestJet. By accessing and analyzing Air Canada's information on better selling flights he was trying to create a competitive advantage for Westjet. Personal profits may have been his motivation. However, an online survey for the American Management Association in 2005 found that the number one reason for compromosing one's ethical standards was the "pressure to meet unrealistic business objectives/deadlines". This...