Thursday, April 2, 2009

Is Outsourcing IT Ethical?

I was one of the presenters for the outsourcing group in this weeks presentation. Having done the research, mostly for the side that supports IT, I realized that I had a bias towards that side and found it hard to see it any other way. The presentation focused a lot on whether or not outsourcing IT was ethical or not, but it was hard to figure out what the majority of people thought. The main points from the pro-outsourcing side touched on a companies responsibility to their main stakeholders; ie. the shareholders, customers, and employees. While the anti-outsourcing side discussed the practical aspects of outsourcing including the effects on local communities and the loss of knowledge that might come as a result of outsourcing a particular sector.

We also spent a lot of time talking about the ethics of outsourcing, and whether or not it is unethical to outsource or unethical not to outsource. The first ethical theory that we discussed was act utilitarianism and how it is difficult to choose a standpoint because of the number of situations and the complexity of the variables that go into each. The next two theories were rule utilitarianism and Kantianism which provided a good debate as to how each would address the situation of outsourcing.

First of all, I want to ask what you think a companies main responsibility is? Is it to maximize profits for their stakeholders, or is it to serve the people of the community in which they operate? Also, do you think the benefits of not outsourcing outweigh the benefits of outsourcing to America as well the World as a whole? And finally, do you think the issue of outsourcing can be reduced to fit into an ethical theory, and if so which one and which way do you lean?

3 comments:

  1. I think that a companies main responsibility is to maximize its profits to their stakeholders. I also believe however that a company should keep in mind the community in which they operate while doing so. A good company should be able to support its community and in doing so encourage its own growth. I am no fan of Starbucks, but they are a great example of a company that tries to benefit underdeveloped countries and using this to try to encourage coffee drinkers to drink their coffee. People are encouraged to buy the coffee and feel as if they did some good for disadvantaged people by doing so. With the right marketing benefiting the community can become a marketing scheme that can encourage the growth of the company and the economy of an underdeveloped country as well. I think that outsourcing does benefit america and the world as a whole. Encouraging wealth in other nations through outsourcing will give their economy a chance to flourish and compete in the global market while giving the nation a chance for their other sectors to flourish as well. I don't believe that outsourcing can fit into one particular theory, because their are so many complex aspects, but I would like to thing that Act Utilitarianism is the best theory candidate. I think that since outsourcing is producing, at least from my point of view, more happiness than unhappiness, than outsourcing is ethical. I do however believe that more regulation should be encouraged in the WTO to make sure that child labor and other negative issues involved with outsourcing be exposed and dealt with appropriately.

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  2. What are your views on our own UNC outsourcing some of its IT resources? What if we decided to outsource to GMail? What if we outsourced to a company overseas?

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  3. Good chapter on ethical outsourcing at http://bit.ly/dmMiID

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