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A Discussion of the Ethics and Decision Made by the News of the World Newspaper and Parent Company, News Corporation, in the 2007 Phone Hacking Scandal

In: Business and Management

Submitted By boasty
Words 2910
Pages 12
We will be discussing business ethics and social responsibility in our presentation today, and relating these theories specifically to the News of the World phone hacking scandal that broke in 2007. This scandal involved journalists and editors of the publication, News of the World illegally hacking into people's phones in order to access information that would not have been available to them otherwise. Though exact numbers are not known, lists of phones were confiscated listing thousands of mobile numbers, including the numbers of members of the royal family, some celebrities and the families of soldiers, terror and murder victims (BBC News UK, 2013). The scandal was further complicated when members of the London Metropolitan police engaged in behaviour that covered up or misrepresented the legality of the actions undertaken by the paper (BBC News UK, 2013). So to start, what are business ethics and social responsibility?
Ethics are not easy to define. They represent a social contract between individuals of a given community, and define what a person ought, and conversely ought not, to do, (Andre & Velasques 1987). However, ethics are not defined by individuals, but rather represent the values of the largest majority. This means that the things an individual values may not be congruent with acting ethically as is defined by the community. This conflict is representative of an ethical dilema. This occurs when an individuals values contradict the behaviour that the code of ethics they belong to dictates they should uphold. A good example of an ethical dilema can be seen in the question: is it right to steal a loaf of bread to feed a starving child?
Everyone will come across an ethical dilema at some point in their lives. It becomes very difficult however when we face these dilemas in the business world. In the example given above, the impacts of choosing whether or…...

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