Ethics Case Study- 14

Case Study 14:

Atul runs a security devices shop that converts into a trustworthy company for all security solution like security cameras, CCTVs and other security devices.

DCP Akshay learns that every time after a theft or robbery takes place, Police Inspector Arun advices the victim and bystanders to install security devices from Atul’s company to make their home and shops secure from criminals. Arun even tells them when they go to Atul’s office, tell him that Arun have sent them then they will get some special discount.

Akshay confronts Arun about this matter but, Arun justifies his action by saying that Yes he take money for Atul to endorse his security products for homes and offices but he is not doing anything unethical because he  use this money to pay his informers and keep a check on criminal elements. He doesn’t spend this money on himself or his family. Even municipal buses and railway-wagons have advertisements, then why is an endorsement by a city official unethical or illegal? Besides, Atul’s security devices are very effective at preventing burglary.

Should Akshay permit Arun to continue this endorsement activity? Yes/No/Why?

Answer:

  1. Advertisement on bus / railway wagon is not same as a public official promoting a brand. Because those bus/railway ads don’t interfere with vehicle’s primary function of transporting persons from one place to another. But when a public official promotes a brand, he is spending part of his office time and energy for private gain rather than serving the citizen.
  2. If Akshay permits Arun, then other staff members will also start similar marketing. Thus part of the office-time will diverted to selling products rather than solving crime
  3. Might even lead to internal rivalries about who is earning more commissions.
  4. Citizens may feel informal pressure to buy such products fearing their file / matter will not be cleared by the public officials otherwise.
  5. Endorsements of commercial products by public officials can easily result in an unethical situation: sharing financial gain through bribes, kickbacks, or postemployment opportunities for government officials.

In short, it will open a Pandora’s Box. Therefore, Akshay should order Arun to stop this activity at once.

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