Research Paper about Business Ethics

Research Description

The chosen company for this paper is an international chocolate bar producer that is interested in conducting primary marketing research. During the recent analysis of the company’s quarterly sales report, senior executives have noticed a downfall in sales relating to the purchasing indexes of regular customers of one specific chocolate bar brand. As a result, the marketing department is assigned to conduct customer behavior research. The results of this research must reveal the answers as to why the customers have reduced the number of purchases of this specific chocolate bar.

 

Accuracy of information is important in this situation, and it is better to use primary data instead of secondary data. According to the specific results needed for a proper decision of the company’s executives, the main method of gathering information is a face-to-face interview with respondents. The interviews must be based on a beforehand prepared questionnaire. The sample size and its characteristics are set according to the general information about regular customers obtained through the experience of the marketing department.

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Unethical Research Practices to Avoid

In general, the ethical standards that the researcher must comply with are related to deontological ethics. According to the Webber dictionary, this type of ethics deals with the right action and the nature of duty without regard to goodness or value of motives (“Deontological Ethics”, n. d.). Any practice that is in conflict with doing the right action or nature of duty is regarded as unethical. In the chosen case, these unethical points are:

  1. Invasion of Privacy – the possibility of gathering, using and storing information relating to the company’s customers that infringes the individual’s right to privacy (Masters & Demand Media, n. d.).
  2. Deceptive Practices –any action of the company that uses lies to find out information about the customers (Masters & Demand Media, n. d.).
  3. Breaches of Confidentiality – sharing and distributing information related to customers without their approval (Masters & Demand Media, n. d.).
  4. Objectivity Issues – representing or interpreting the results of the research in such a way that does not describe all of the obtained facts or relates only to benefiting some specific expectations. In general, this is an act of distorting facts and the truth of results (Masters & Demand Media, n. d.).

What Injuries Can Occur

The parties that may be influenced in a negative way are the customers that are being interviewed, researchers or the marketing organization that is conducting the research of the third party, and the company that requires the results of the research. As mentioned before, in the case of injuries concerning customers, their personal information can be used without their permission. In addition, the customers’ rights relating to confidentiality can be breached, which can lead to problems with legal authorities. In the case of the marketing research organizations and the companies that inquire about research, both can receive fines and experience legal problems relating to the practice of conducting research.

Furthermore, the image of companies could be drastically distorted if the information about their malpractice spreads to the number of their customers. Society, in general, can obtain a greater understanding that personal information is something that cannot be trusted to others, especially the enterprises that conduct researches. Such ideas can ruin or at least distort the business practices which have been regular for a long period of time among the companies (Marketing Research Association, 2015).

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Resoling Unethical Behavior

Unethical behavior can be monitored only when there are reports from customers that are being interviewed about the malpractice of the company regarding personal information (Stewart, 2014). Only when the facts of such problems are mentioned, some measures can be exercised both by authorities of the country and specific institutions. Therefore, the first step towards eliminating unethical behavior is its identification. As a result, the company whose image has already suffered from its incorrect use of customer data is more likely to be careful later on.

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