the FatAway Inc. has launched a product line that is so far trusting with respect to the product specifications and the claims that it says. And to market it, manager believes that the best idea is to select the fattest people in Australia and use them as spokespersons or as reference persons in their ads. For this manager needs to probe into the databases of companies that maintain statistics related to the fat people in Australia. In this situation we can say that the manager's company is the sponsoring client (or the user of the data) and the companies maintaining databases are the researchers.
Now, manager sees that the data probably might be easily available about the heavy weighted people; but the problem lies in the intrusion of someone else's personal life and the respondent probably has given his personal profile for some other purpose, and to use it for a third purpose might not be liked by him. And even if the respondents agree to the proposal of acting as sales person then too they might not be aware of the future emotional consequences that might occur to them and then they would not have any option.
As the technology emerges it brings with it new and creative ways of information sharing. Companies have also shifted their business orientation from production to provision of knowledge. And hence we see growing number of companies maintaining databases, and also government organizations maintain data with respect to the population demographics etc. This data is collected for specific purposes. But as we move forward issues concerning intrusion of privacy are enhanced; since individuals are too cautious about their personal lives and the style with which they live. Accordingly, no one has any right to say or dig into the reason why someone is fat, since he or she has no concern. This case explores the same idea.
Ethical issue or dilemma in the case
Firstly, manager (user of the data) sees that obtaining data about weight and height of client is intrusion of privacy and since in the western countries especially collecting and giving out of data is considered serious violation of privacy.
Next, the data might be available with a third party (the researcher) and the researcher is ready to sell the data but data might have been collected for some other purpose and thus using it for some other reason might not be right.
Third, the subjects i.e. the fat people might agree to participate and act as the spokesperson and participate in the advertising campaign for the company. But this may embarrass them in the future and bound them to work for the company even if they later realize that they don't like working in the ad or made public about their weakness i.e. being fat. Prevailing community or the societal attitudes of the person may not allow him to such a behaviour.
Solutions to the case
Moreover, to avoid any future embarrassment and humiliation for the potential spokesperson they should be