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Hiring a Hacker: Ethical Issue and Solution


We are faced with ethical issues in our interactions as human beings. Ethics can loosely be defined as a system of moral principles by which social conduct is judged as either “right” or “wrong”. As relates to business, ethics are moral principles which prescribe legitimate behavior in varied business dealings (Chryssides & Kaler, 1993). An interesting concept with regard to ethics is that there is no standardized approach to dealing with ethical dilemmas as they all spring from very unique legal, political, social and economic backgrounds.

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This makes the task of dealing with ethical dilemmas especially challenging for managers. This paper will review a particular scenario that a senior manager faces as she seeks to hire staff. The particular ethical theory that may be applied to deal with the situation will be given and the rationale behind the decisions made extrapolated. All this shall be in a bid to elaborate that a good theoretical knowledge in ethics greatly assists deal with ethical issues

Ethical Issue and Solution

In the particular scenario, the senior manager is interviewing a young man who has the technical capacity to handle the job making him well suited for it. However, the potential employee has a record of engaging in illegal activities therefore shedding doubt as to his trustworthiness. Inevitably, the hacking background of the individual will have significant bearing as to the interviewee’s prospects with the company since the organization has highly sensitive datasets of personal information. At the bare minimal, the fact that the young man knowingly engaged in illegal activity highlights the fact that he has little regard for rules and regulations. While it might be argued that the moral standing of an individual does not have any implications as to his capability in the work setting, the organization stands being a victim of the employee’s misdeeds.

The ethical theory that the manager could use in coming up with her decision is utilitarianism which is considered to be the most influential ethical theory. This principle dictates that the collective welfare of the people overrides the individual’s right and as such, the theory advocates the maximization of happiness for the greatest number of people (Johnston, 2009). In this approach, the net benefit is calculated and the net consequences evaluated.

The initial perception of the manager as to the applicant’s personality is that of a qualified, mature and sociable person. To top it off, the applicant comes clean concerning his previous hacking activity thereby accentuating his honest nature. However, by applying the utilitarian theory, the HR manager must disregard this personal and professional attributes as she contemplates the effect that employing someone with a tarnished record can have on the company. The individual’s actions may have a negative impact on the company. Fredrick (2002) asserts that companies may be held criminally liable for the behavior of their employees despite the employees having acted on their own volition. As such, the prudent thing for Jenny to do would be to avoid hiring the young man despite his impressive résumé.


This paper set out to address the ethical issues that a manager charged with hiring staff faces when hiring a person with a record for illegal activities. From the discussions presented in this paper, it is clear that there are a number of factors that have to be taken into consideration when coming up with a solution. The Application of one of the ethical theories has been seen to assist in coming up with a sound solution to the issue. From this paper, it can authoritatively be stated that graceful resolution of the ethical issues faced in a business setting requires an in-depth knowledge of ethical theories.


Chryssides, D. G. & Kaler, H. J. (1993). An Introduction to Business Ethics. Cengage Learning EMEA.

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Frederick, R. (2002). A Companion to Business Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.

Johnston, G. (2009). An Introduction to Ethics, for Training Colleges. BiblioBazaar, LLC.

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