Sunday, 23 May 2010

Two Men and some Tweets

Two men in a meeting. Having a discussion. One has his Blueberry in hand and takes it up from time to use it. The other notices but presumes his actions are ok. It later traspires that the account of the meeting as deduced by the first man is actually being braodcast on Twitter.

These two men are in the news at the moment. The man with the Blackberry is Derek Simpson leader of UNITE union who are in dispute with BA (The world's favourite airline). The other is Willie Walsh, CEO of the airline.

"I was shocked and angry when I found out that Derek was doing that. Sending out his version of events to the wider audience, that really did undermine my confidence in his desire to resolve this situation. It is a really serious issue," Walsh said.

Simpson reported, "I am not afraid of saying what is really going on .....".

How clear cut are the ethics?

Was there full and informed consent to tweet? Well clearly not, or else Mr Walsh would not have been so annoyed. But is that unethical? Have BA dealt ethically with their employees? Do the employees have a right to know what top management are communicating to their union leader. On the other hand, should information be released during the course of negotiations as opposed to at the end? This is a fine example of how ethics can be unclear unless the full information and knowledge is to hand. And the entire process of negotiation does involve withholding of information / knowledge as a bargaining tool. Other aspects to consider ethically are ....

Was any harm done to participants at the meeting?
Was any harm done to parties outside the meeting?

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