Business Ethics: A case of competitive espionage
Summarize the text (what are the relevant facts?)
Kyle is a product manager at Business Equipment Corporation (BEC). His company is about to launch a fax machine with a copy quality far superior. He is very excited because if the launch is successful, he has been promised a major promotion. *
Kyle is stressed because he found out that the competitors (Hiyota) has also planned to launch an exceptionally high copy quality fax machine and other new product features. *
Kyle asked Lynn a junior employee at a marketing consulting firm, to call Hiyota and pretend to be a potential customer, in order to find information about pricing, advertising strategy... *
Lynn is not very comfortable with this assignment and consults her boss (Bob) an experienced marketer. *
Bob is not against Kyle’s request but he does worry about the image of his company. He gives Lynn a couple of reasons why it is not against ethic to pretend to be a potential customer. And also precise that is would be not correct to refuse Kyle’s request.
What are the ethical issues?
The ethical issues here are that Kyle is asking Lynn to spy the competitors by pretending to be a potential customer. Lynn doesn’t feel comfortable, since she doesn’t wants to waste the sales rep’s time. On the other hand we have the boss that isn’t against this request. He also justifies that it isn’t illegal.
What ethical course(s) of action should be taken? Explain why?
Personally we believe that Lynn should follow her boss’s advice since she has his approval. In addition everyone should have access to this information if they are interested in buying the product. So we see no harm, that she follows Kyle’s request, since the competitors might do the exact same thing.
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