"Calling passengers" - an ethical problem in the design of self-service websites amongst low-cost airlines in Ireland.
Torres, Ann M.
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Barry, C. and Torres, A. (2007) ¿Calling passengers¿ - an ethical problem in the design of self-service websites amongst low-cost airlines in Ireland. In Barry, C., Lang, M., Conboy, K., Wojtkowski, G., Wojtkowski, W., vols 1 & 2, (eds) (2007) Information Systems Development: Challenges in Practice, Theory and Education. Springer: New York.
Ethics on the Internet has been a widely debated topic in recent years covering issues that range from privacy to security to fraud. Little, however, has been written on more subtle ethical questions such as the exploitation of Web technologies to inhibit or avoid customer service. Increasingly, it would appear, some firms are using Websites to create distance between them and their customer base in specific areas of their operations, while simultaneously developing excellence in sales transaction completion via self-service. This paper takes a magnifying glass with an ethical lens to just one sector ¿ the low-cost, Web-based selfservice airline industry, specifically in Ireland. The paper notes the teaching of information systems development (ISD) and, for the most part, its practice assumes ethicality. Similarly, marketing courses focus on satisfying customer needs more effectively and efficiently within the confines of an acceptable ethos. This paper observes that while these business disciplines are central to the success of self-service Websites, there seems to be a disconnect between the normative view and the actuality of practice. What follows begins with an analysis of the normative approach to information systems (IS) design and marketing. A review of questionable ethical practices used by low-cost carriers (LCCs) is then conducted, followed by a discussion on the phenomena. The paper concludes with a look at the implications for research, teaching and practice.