Ethical considerations within businesses are largely over-looked within marketing management research (Bell & Bryman, 2007). Business ethics research inherently focuses on sensitive and controversial issues (Miyazaki & Taylor, 2008). Consequently, most business ethics research is susceptible to interaction biases (Miyazaki & Taylor, 2008).
There is a growing concern from consumers that their privacy and personal information is being digitized and sold without their permission (Foxman & Kilcoyne, 1993). The concern is that credit cards, billing details, and other private data is bought and sold across the marketing industry between businesses and organizations to use as soliciting tools. Consumers agree that the lack of organizational ethics when collecting the information is morally wrong (Foxman & Kilcoyne, 1993). The debate amongst consumers and businesses is that both parties feel they own the information submitted. Businesses believe that they have the right to use the information any way they choose to help better their organizational goals and to produce better marketing services (Foxman & Kilcoyne, 1993). Additionally, the organizations that purchase the user information feel they own the data because they purchased it.
If the results show that a company is being unethical by confusing or misinforming consumers on how their private information is used, management should work diligently to resolve the confusion by making privacy details clear. In formulating a research-oriented approach that would benefit the practice in regards to the issue presented, I recommend utilizing a qualitative format similar to the constructivist format. I would begin by outlining the problems being addressed and then focus on presenting existing literature regarding the problem and the significance of the study (Creswell, 2009). Next, I would present procedures including a qualitative research strategy for collecting the necessary data. Finally, I would focus on validating my finding using various forms of interview questions, observational forms, timelines, and proposed budgets (Creswell, 2009).
Bell, E., & Bryman, A. (2007). The ethics of management research: An exploratory content analysis. British Journal of Management, 18(1), 63–77. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8551.2006.00487.x
Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Foxman, E. R., & Kilcoyne, P. (1993). Information technology, marketing practice, and consumer privacy: Ethical issues. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 12(1), 106-119. doi: 10.1007/s10660-007-9000-y
Miyazaki , A. D., & Taylor, K. A. (2008). Researcher interaction biases and business ethics research: Respondent reactions to researcher characteristics. Journal of Business Ethics, 81(4), 779–795. doi:10.1007/s10551-007-9547-5
Dr. Elijah Clark (November 1, 2016). Privacy and Ethical Concerns [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://elijahclark.com/privacy-and-ethical-concerns/