Ethics and E-Business: An Oxymoron?

Ethics and E-Business: An Oxymoron?

Dianne Waddell (Edith Cowan University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-138-4.ch015


This chapter attempts to give an outline of some of the contemporary ethical issues related to technological innovation associated with e-business, in particular the notion that e-business and ethics is an oxymoron (‘a figure of speech … seeming self-contradiction’). The question is, has innovation in e-business resulted in unethical behaviour because of the new media and technology and the fact that businesses are embarking on something new therefore the old rules do not apply? Is it easier to behave unethically over the net? The author reviews the various methods used for dealing with on-line security and investigates the notion of trust which is implied in on-line transactions and business dealings. Also typical e-business ethical dilemmas are proffered as a catalyst for further debate. The author concludes that as e-businesses deal with intangible products and services over the Internet, the potential for ethical dilemmas and shonky practices to develop is far higher than a bricks-and-mortar business. The challenge is for e-businesses to establish trust based on consistent good ethical practice and an industry approach to abusers of the system. Ethics and innovation are not mutually exclusive and will continue to challenge e-businesses.

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