Using the official position for private or personal gains is often considered as an abuse of power. Such abuse can result from disloyalty.
Insider trading occurs when an employee has access to company information that’s usually unavailable to the public and can have an impact on the stock prices. For example, some employees may come to know that their company is going to be bankrupt before general public and they can sell all their stock. People who tend to buy the stocks will be deceived. It is also a kind of insider trading to encourage near ones to sell their stock having such “insider information.”
Companies can often have “trade secrets” which they don’t want to share with other organizations, and few employees may divulge such information to the benefit of competing organizations which is unethical.
Three major arguments why trade secrets should be protected by the law are −
● These are intellectual property.
● Trade secrets theft is wrong.
● Stealing trade secrets is a violation of the confidentiality terms.
Sharing trade secrets and obeying confidentiality information is a difficult moral issue. People have the right to seek and advance employment and it is not easy to separate proprietary information from a worker’s own skills and technical knowledge.
Bribery is aimed to letting someone to act against their duties. Bribes can be very serious when it can injure people. Kickbacks are also a form of bribery that involves a person to uses his/her position to benefit a party or someone.
Bribing foreign officials for favors could harm people. However, instances of bribing are numerous and they include both large and small organizations.
Lockheed Aircraft Corporation had the culture of bribing foreign officials and it paid $22 million to get aircraft contracts with foreign governments. These bribes harm governments as they have to pay too much for aircrafts, and the harm can propagate to citizens who pay taxes. In this case, the knowledge of the bribery caused a political crisis in the Japanese government.
Gifts and entertainment may be used to reward and encourage certain behavior from employees. This can result in a conflict of interest. Entertainment isn’t as likely to be morally wrong if allowed to be used according to ethical standards.
The following considerations may be considered while judging the ethics of gifting −
● The Price of the Gift − Gifts of huge prices are more likely a bribe.
● The Purpose of the Gift − Gift can be used to encourage, for advertising, or as a bribe.
● The Circumstances − A gift given at a special occasion is different than a gift on non-special occasions, and a gift given openly is more ethical.
● The Position of the Person Receiving the Gift − A person in a position to reciprocate is more likely to be taking a bribe.
● The Accepted Practices − Gifts as “tips” for a waiter or waitress is norm, but to a CEO; it is clearly unethical.
● The Company’s Policy − Some companies may have stricter rules about gifts than others.
● The Law − Gifts against the law are usually unacceptable.