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Management Case Study

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Case for critical thinking: Phone hacking, corruption and the closure of the News of the World

1. Which of the four views of ethical behaviour can best be applied to this case? Justify your answer.

The moral-rights view of ethical behaviour would be best applied to this case as the decision for the company to illegally partake in phone hacking. By this decision, the company has intruded hundreds of individual’s personal privacy which is seen as morally wrong, therefore the fundamental rights of human beings was not maintained.

2. What rationalisations for this unethical behaviour would the editors, reporters, private investigators and police have given?

Convincing everyone and also themselves that:
They were not the ones who implemented the behaviour thus they have not done anything illegal The result from the behaviour is in everyone’s interests
The behaviour is not as unethical and illegal as it seems

3. What ‘social responsibility’ strategy did NoW try to implement when the scandal first broke, and how did this change as the scandal unfolded?

They used a defensive strategy where the company did only the minimum legally required. By only admitting to hacking into the voicemails of aides to the royal family, they hoped to protect the organisation by doing the minimum legally necessary to satisfy expectations. Though this didn’t last long when leads appeared and more evidence were found.

4. How do you think whistleblowers at the newspaper and in the London Metropolitan Police might have been treated?

Fear of bad publicity, expensive litigation and loss of business can make a company hostile and defensive, usually at the expense of whistleblower’s personal or professional reputation

5. This case really demonstrates how leaders need to be ethical role models. In this regard, can you suggest how the police, politicians and newspaper leaders should have behaved?

They should have taken the responsibility in directly responding to the unethical and illegal action that was taking place.

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