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Ethical Moment

Case summary

Nokia is a Finnish Company. Before it sold off its handset-making division, the company was involved in a controversy concerning its marketing strategies. In 2012, the company marketed its new flagship Smartphone, the Lumia 920. A video was used to promote the 920’s optical image stabilization technology. The video footage implied they were taken from the phone. However, The Verge Blog questioned the authenticity of the shots (Ewing, 2014). On close observation of the video, a cameraman and lighting equipment are seen. The organization denied any nefarious intents, and ordered an internal investigation. However, this ethical issue has lost face for Nokia its credibility.

Discussion

Organizations are often confronted with the issue of misleading marketing. The ethical controversy that affected Nokia is attributed to a lack of disclaimer in the marketing mix. This ignored factor prompted the public to perceive the pictures as shot from the phone itself. The company released a short documentary as well as stills for marketing. The organization was right to produce material that markets its technical capabilities (Johnson, 2012). However, it was wrong to establish boundaries for its message. The marketing officer should have established a clear message on what the phone did, and what it did not do in the advertisement (Johnson, 2012) . Despite wanting to reach out to as many consumers as possible, it is unethical for corporations to lie maintain ignorance over content produced (Johnson, 2012). However, the company has made clear steps by acknowledging the problem. It offered a press statement highlighting its mistake by ‘forgetting’ to list a disclaimer alongside the marketing video and stills. The major issues in this discussion are the lack of scrutiny over the material and the position of company staff on ethical matters (Johnson, 2012).

This issue may be explored through the individual and collective levels (Johnson, 2012). The organization’s workers were firmly aware of the phone and its abilities. This creates cause for ethical concern within the company. Firstly, Individuals involved in the project did not conduct satisfactory oversight into the materials used for promotion (Johnson, 2012). Despite the outsourcing of services to a third party, the organization’s marketing officer was required to ensure that the video highlighted the company’s clear wishes to the market (Johnson, 2012). She should have gone through it before it was published in the media. This would have assisted in identifying possible areas of ethical question.

Secondly, individuals in charge of the project should have published a disclaimer (Johnson, 2012). This would offset potential issues concerning the product and its technology. At the organizational level, company employees were each tasked with ensuring compliance with ethical standards. Any one of them should have spoken out about the marketing if they had reasonable doubt about it (Johnson, 2012). However, nobody did. This puts to question the organization’s internal transparency, as well as its communication channels (Johnson, 2012).

Recommendations and Conclusion

The company may implement various policies following this ethics matter. Firstly, it should develop an ethical framework for its marketing arm and other departments. This will create a system where staffs such as the marketing officer identify their roles and fulfill them (Johnson, 2012). This framework should consist of measures that hedge against unethical procedures such as the misplaced disclaimer. The framework should be developed alongside external partners such that the collaborations result in ethical results (Johnson, 2012). Secondly, the organization needs carry out staff training courses on ethical procedures. If not, it should provide refresher courses. This will inform staff on their roles in ensuring ethics within the company (Johnson, 2012). The organization is in a great position to effect these changes. It has already confirmed the issue and is working towards it. The proposed changes will be useful in ensuring a repeat does not take place.

References

Ewing, A. (2012). Nokia to Conduct Ethics Review Into Misleading Ad Video. Businessweek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014, from http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-09-10/nokia-to-conduct-ethics-review-about-misleading-ads

Johnson, C. (2012). Organizational ethics (1st ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications.

 

 

 

 

 

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