|Samsung Electronics logo|
Unfortunately, this was not the case for the two bloggers from India who was winners of a contest to go to the IFA conference as a Mob!ler.The two blogger's had chosen to report the conference, mainly because they did not want to be stuck behind a desk showing off products. They had made it very clear that they were independent and had no intention of acting as brand ambassadors for the company. After the twelve hour flight to Berlin, the blogger's were handed Samsung shirts and told that they had to be standing in uniform at the booths showing products everyday. After finding this out they had reiterated the fact that they had chosen to be reporters and not promoters. They met with a PR person for Samsung, and moments later while at a coffee shop, they received a call from Samsung India. The company informed the blogger's that if they did not attend the conference and wear the uniform, that their tickets and expenses would not be paid for. This call followed another which informed them that their flights had been canceled. The blogger's attended one day of the conference, wearing the shirts but not demonstrating phones. As soon as they could find a way, they were shuttled home with help from friends at the conference.
|Samsung Mob!lers logo|
The stakeholders who are involved and affected by this controversy are from both ends of the situation. On one end Samsung Electronics, Samsung employees, and the blogger's are being affected. On the other end, the airline company, potential customers, and the hotel company are also being affected. Samsung Electronics is getting a bad reputation with all of the stakeholders according to how they handled the situation. Most of the stakeholders will not want to be involved with the Samsung Company anymore because of the poor service and dishonesty they provided.
According to the Individualism Theory, a business must maximize their profits while still being lawful. Although the Mob!lers program would have done such a thing if the company was lawful. The company was obviously having a problem during the conference, which was most likely apparent. This could have caused them to lose business and potential customers. Because the company had promised many things, which they clearly knew were not going to happen, they were taking advantage of the blogger's. This was the company's false advertising to the blogger's which lead to them being stranded. At no point is this lawful so this case would be considered unethical according to an Individualist.
The Utilitarian Theory is about maximizing happiness for all people involved. The blogger's and also the Samsung Company would have been happy if everything had gone how was originally planned. They would have gotten a great experience, and the company would have gotten great publicity and connections. The bloggers were not happy during the conference and even after. When being stranded in a foreign country, and not allowed to do what you were told, not many people would be happy. The Samsung Company is also not very happy with all of the complications that occurred. To a Utilitarian, this case would be unethical.
|Samsung Headquarters in Seoul, South Korea|
The Kantian Theory deals with respecting individuals and their choices, also helping them to make rational decisions. This was neglected from the beginning of the situation. The company had manipulated the blogger's to believe that they would be able to do what they had chosen. The company had used false advertisement to do such a thing. Samsung is also taking advantage of the fact that they give these opportunities to people from low-income countries. If they offer this opportunity to these people, they are most likely to agree because of the situation they are in. This causes them to not be making their decision rationally which goes against this theory, therefore, would be considered unethical.
Virtue TheoryThe Virtue Theory has one major value which is that character trait that promotes wellness or flourishing of individuals within a society very beneficial. The theory is mainly about embodying good characteristics to avoid bad ones. The way in which Samsung was willing to, at first, pay for the expenses is acting very virtuously. Although the company had good intentions, they were not honest with the blogger's throughout the entire situation. Samsung had lied about what tasks the bloggers would be performing, and also that they would pay for the expenses. Even if the bloggers did decide they wanted to leave the conference, the company should have paid for them to get home. This would have ensured their safety and demonstrated the good characteristics, but sadly this did not happen. Looking from the Virtue Theory perspective this was unethical.
-Salazar, Heather. The Business Ethics Case Manual: The Authoritative Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding and Improving the Ethics of Any Business. Print.
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