As I looked back on this semester in Ethics and Issues in Mass Communication I realized how much I have learned and enjoyed this class. It was a challenging class but that made it much more enjoyable.
Before taking this class I had no idea that there was a process that you could use to make ethical decisions. I honestly thought that there was either a right decision or a wrong decision. The Potter Box enlightened me on a whole new way to get a perspective on making ethical decisions. It made me realize that there are multiple decisions that are “right” but there are things about those decisions that could cause harm. It has also taught me that making ethical decisions is not black and white like I thought.
The first step in the Potter Box is to define the situation/case. Then you move to the values section and define the values you see as important in the situation. Third, you state what ethical principles apply to the case. Finally, you state your loyalties that you have in regards to the case.
I think going through this process is important because it protects you from making rash and uneducated decisions that you could regret. Going through this process allows you to take time to think through things and make the best decision possible.
In whatever profession I choose, whether it be copywriting, public relations or anything in those departments, I think it is important to go through this process. Going through this process allows you to make the most ethical decision for you and those you are representing. It can help you handle a crisis situation in the best way possible and help keep a good reputation.
I will for sure use this method and what I have learned in this class in my career and day to day life. I think what I have learned is extremely important and that everyone should take a class that teaches them about this process.
I really enjoyed this class and I am glad that I took it!
United Airlines’ recent actions have created a social media uproar. In mid-April, a man was forcefully removed from a United Airlines by the police. The flight was overbooked and no one would volunteer to give up their seat. The airline had a lottery and a man was chosen to be removed from the flight. This man refused to leave the plan and the police were called. They proceeded to drag this man off of the flight against his will.
The ethical principles that apply to this are; Judeo Christian Persons as Ends, Kant’s Categorical Imperative and Islam’s Divine Command. I believe that Judeo Christian and Islam’s Divine Command conflict with parts of Kant’s Categorical Imperative.
According to Kan’t Categorical Imperative, United Airlines has a duty to their organization to make sure that the flights have the correct number of people on them. When they removed the man from the flight they were acting in regards to that duty. However, the way they acted was in violation of Islam’s Divine Command and the Judeo Christian Persons as Ends.
Islam’s Divine Command emphasizes respecting human dignity and forcefully dragging a man off of the flight was in no way respects his dignity. Judeo Christian Persons as Ends emphasizes treating others the way you would want to be treated and loving others like God loves you. United Airlines did not treat this man with the respect he deserves and did not act in a way that shows the love God has for us.
I do believe that the idea of having people taken off the flight so everyone fit in the plane was right, I do not think that United Airlines’ actions were right or can be justified. They acted in an unprofessional way. I think they can improve on the way they treat people, making sure they do not overbook flights when people buy tickets and make sure they are respectful when asking people to get off the airplane.
This tweet from United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Munoz is a perfect example of what other companies can take from this situation.
Other companies should read this and learn that they do not want to take any actions that would require an apology for being unprofessional. They should strive to maintain the highest degree of professionalism. Coming from a public relations standpoint, companies need to think about how their actions come across to customers and how one lapse of judgment can destroy their reputation, sometimes (like United Airlines) actions can destroy reputation to the point that it will be next to impossible to repair their image.
It is important for companies to maintain good relationships with the media and their clients. The way United Airlines acted shows other companies how to not act if they want to maintain that good relationship. PR professionals can only do so much for their companies and it is up to the company itself to not make the PR professionals’ job impossible to do.
If I was on staff at Data-Time Inc. and one of my employee’s company issued laptops was stolen I would have to take my following action into serious consideration to make sure I act professionally and ethically. I would come up with a few options of things I could do then make a pros and cons list for each to decipher which is my best option. Some of my options will clearly not be the one to choose, but in order to fairly choose my decision I feel that all options need to be stated.
My first option would be to blatantly ignore what happened and continue business as normal. This would not be a top choice because it is not professional to ignore a theft that could potentially ruin these people’s lives even more.
My second option would be to work hard to contact those whose personal information is on the laptops. I would let them know that there has been a security issue and their personal information could potentially be used against them. I would make it seem like a panicked situation and make sure they are terrified. This would not work because striking fear in people is not the professional means to handle a situation. The people whose identities are potentially about to be stolen are most likely to be panicked so there is no reason to strike more panic and fear in them.
My third option and the one I choose would be to question all my employees. I would especially question the one whose laptop was stolen to make sure it was truly stolen by someone outside of my company and not taken by the employee for personal gain. After establishing that it was stolen by someone outside of the company I would use a laptop that was not stolen to find out as much information as I can to contact the homeless people whose information is on the laptops. Because of how much personal information is on the laptops there has to be a way to get in touch with the individuals. Then I would find these individuals and warn them about what has happened.
After doing this I would work on changing my system to a password based system that you have to log into to access the information. I think that giving laptops to your employees that automatically has the information about people on it is too high risk of an incident like the one in this case. Having a means to keep it even more private will protect people more.
Like I said, I would recommend a change in the system. Possibly a new password based system where the password would change weekly to keep it more protected. Something that would make a stolen laptop not as big of a deal.
I would also recommend sending out a formal and sincere apology somehow to these people. Since they are homeless maybe having a casual dinner reception to tell them what has happened and explain how you plan to fix the issue.