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Ethics and Corruption at News International - Essay Example

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This paper 'Ethics and Corruption at News International" focuses on the fact that between 2005-2007 investigations were conducted into News International, a subsidiary of News Corporation, into alleged phone hacking practices by tabloid papers falling under their auspices. …
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Ethics and Corruption at News International
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Download file to see previous pages In considering the scandal nature it’s clear that the practices demonstrated large-scale institutional corruption, yet the breach of ethics outside of regular social legitimacy may not be as dramatic as they seem on the surface. The most overarching concern in terms of corruption at News International is the organizational breaching of ethical conduct. In this context of understanding it’s clear that one of the major contributing factors was organizational leadership. Stakeholder theory is a major conceptual model that investigates notions of organizational leadership. Essentially, stakeholder theory is an approach to business ethics that attempts to investigate what really counts in organizations (Phillips, 2003).
While there are varying models in this area of analysis, in terms of News International, one considers the failure of leadership to emphasize ethical responsibility and journalistic integrity. I believe that greatly contributing to the pivotal breakdown that leads to organizational corruption is the very nature of the subject matter that was covered.
Tied in with notions of journalism are notions of contributing to the public good. Indeed, journalism has popularly been referred to as the fourth estate, as it can function almost as another aspect of government (Smith 2011). Following organizational stakeholder theory, ethical responsibility of the fourth estate is such that the ‘why’ of the organization is directly in-line with publically accepted means of information gathering and dissemination. This can be contrasted with many of the News International publications, most notably News of the World, which eschewed traditional journalistic content for an investigation of gossip that can only marginally be argued to constitute news. I believe, following the stakeholder approach to organizational ethics, that in this shift away from operating as the fourth estate, News International also shifted away from any coupling with ethical approaches to information gathering.
In these regards, it follows that intrinsic to the very nature of gossip-based journalism are organizational propensities towards corruption. One considers then that in addition to banning these forms of information gathering the government should consider banning the forms of gossip reporting that News International produces. Although it is easy and appropriate to fault News International for gross ethical misconduct, I believe the more pressing considerations are those that consider organizational elements that allowed for such practices to occur.
One of the most pervasive theoretical models that one considers in relation to the events at News International is institutional theory. Institutional theory is an approach to organizations that argues despite individual backgrounds, including education and ethical tendencies, the force of the institution is such that individuals will tend towards a uniform paradigm (Scott 2004). I believe that in great part the most staggering element of the News International scandal is that it wasn’t simply an isolated incident. In these regards, the phone hacking spanned a number of years and involved a wide array of individuals employed by the organization.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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