How could a ‘model’ employee outsource his software job to China

Description: Bob was his company’s best software developer, got glowing performance reviews and earned more than $250,000 a year.

Source: www.theglobeandmail.com

Date: Jan 17, 2013

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Bob was paying a Chinese firm about $50,000 a year to do his work, then spent the day surfing the web, watching cat videos and updating his Facebook page.

“This particular case was pretty unique,” computer security investigator Andrew Valentine, who helped uncover Bob’s scheme, said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail. “We thought it was actually pretty clever.”

Mr. Valentine made Bob’s tale public in a blog post on Monday and it has since been the talk of tech websites.    Read Rest of Story 

 Questions for discussion:

1. Is there an ethical dilemma in what Bob was doing at his place of work?  Why or Why Not??

2.  What benefits can you see with outsourcing as a company?

3.  What pitfalls can you see a company risking by outsourcing?

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30 thoughts on “How could a ‘model’ employee outsource his software job to China

  1. Mark(Xiangyuan Ma)

    I’m a Chinese, so I am not surprise of this situation. The size of Canada and China are almost same. However,the population of China is1.4 billion but the population of Canada is about 30 million. Therefore, the competition in China is much more intense than Canada. That gives the boss more leverage to bargain the salary in China. He can simply say that “There are hundreds of people waiting for this job, if you don’t want to do it, you can leave.” Since the company find out about what he did, the company might just hire that Chinese work for them and fire Bob. The company can save 20,000 a year. The benefits of outsourcing as a company is that the company can focus one one thing that they are good at instead of do everything by themself. In this way, they can save a some expesne and time to do other things which makes the company more competitive.The risk of outsourcing is that when the “outsource” got a problem, the whole company might be paralysised. Just like a human body, it can’t work unless all the part is working well. However, as a country, it may not be a good idea by outsourcing too much because the unemployeement of its own citizens will drop. Eventually, the country will rely on outsourcing and loss the leverage to bargain.

    Reply
  2. Hayden Rintoul

    There is obviously an ethical dilemma here between what people perceive to be right and wrong. The ethical issue is that Bob took credit for work that he was not actually doing. People believed he was the best worker at the company and he took credit for it. Bob did complete his jobs, which were asked of him by the company, but he may have also put the company in a potential risk for intrusion with outsourcing his work to another firm by himself. The potential benefits from outsourcing are seen in this article as you can contract out work to other people for cheap instead of hiring someone who you would have to pay much more. I feel like it would be much easier to do than interview and eventually pick your best person to do the job. The negative side of outsourcing is you don’t have someone within your company doing the work where they are connected to what is being done and is apart of it so they will put more time and effort into it where as a contracting it out they may just do the bare minimum of what is asked and be done with it.

    Reply
  3. Nothando Ngwenya

    There is, very obviously, an ethical dilemma in what Bob was doing. He spent so much of his time doing absolutely no work and receiving all the credit there was for it. When one woks for a company, it goes without saying that the one who received the job offer is the one who is expected to do the job and also to be paid for doing that particular job. Bob, was quite frankly, letting the company misallocate its funds by paying him for work that he did not do. What he needed to do was quit his job, if it was tiring him, and suggest for the company to employee his Chinese counterpart who was part of this ethical dilemma. Bob also posed risks to the company-those of either having more employees doing this and getting paid for nothing, essentially, or those of company information leaking to outside sources because of his transactions. The fact that he and his counterpart were able to take part in such a questionable activity does lead one to believe that he is probably capable of doing so much more, for example ,leaking private company information to adversaries or competitors for personal gain. Outsourcing, in itself, is an acceptable process that provides a number of advantages. With it, a company that is unable to find any candidate who is equipped with the skills needed for a certain job in its homeland is able to employ someone from another country and only have to worry about the electronic payments they need to make to this employee. In this age of telecommuting and advanced technology with most transactions taking place on the Internet, outsourcing is a very possible option that just needs to be used with much care. The problem with outsourcing, though, is the fact that an employer never gets to meet their employee physically. This poses many threats especially ones such as the fact that the employee they see when on a video conference, for example, may not be the actual person doing the work, but just a face that is used to represent the person doing the work, for whatever reason they may have to hide. It could also lead to the company’s information not being a secure as it would be if the company is based in just one country. The Intranet of that particular company would be spread across continents,even, making it more open to hacking by criminals or any person who would have any want for the companies information.
    Although Bob took part in an activity of questionable ethics, the act of outsourcing could be used and even advantageously, but it must be used carefully to avoid the risks which carry much weight.

    Reply
  4. Ekow Botwe

    Clearly there is an ethical dilemma in this instance. Receiving credits for what you haven’t worked for is an issue. Bob was smart enough to hire someone to do his work. This wouldn’t have been an issue if he was self employed. The company was also at risk security wise because he Chinese firm had access to codes and other private credentials within the company. It is unfair for the company to be paying this amount of wage so someone who isn’t doing the actual job. I feel the Bob was cheating the company. This could have been ethical if he informed the authorities about outsourcing the job. Similarly, Bob was also taking advantage of the Chinese firm he hired to do the work. The difference between his wage and what he was paying the firm was nothing to write home about.
    Outsourcing has many benefits to firms in a sense that it is cheap, especially in China. As a result of cheap labor, companies are able to cut down the wage bill in other to expand and undertake other beneficial activities. In today’s global economy, attaining a competitive advantage as well as productivity is vital with many companies having to compete on price and cutting down the cost of labor and operations.Also by outsourcing jobs to non employees, the firm is not obliges to pay consistent wages However, there are also disadvantages associated with outsourcing such as loss of expertise. Knowledge and skills that may prove critical to your long term competitiveness may be lost. Also a company might lose control over costs when outsourcing. There can also be legal issues when outsourcing. However i believe the disadvantages of outsourcing is more than the advantages.

    Reply
  5. Britney Anderson

    I think that Bob’s outsourcing of his own job presents an ethical dilemma. Bob allowed an outside user to access his employer’s network, which can present some serious threats to the company. Companies control access to their networks to protect their physical and intellectual assets. By sharing his personal PINs/passwords, Bob put the company at risk. The company’s trade secrets and sources of competitive advantage could have been stolen and shared with competitors and other outside parties. Also, Bob was taking credit for someone else’s work, and representing it as if it was his own. Similarly, in the academic world, students could purchase an essay from a third party, instead of writing it themselves. However, this presents a huge ethical dilemma, and many other stakeholders can be affected by the negative consequences of the decision.

    One of the benefits to outsourcing is that it allows the company to outsource often menial or repetitive tasks, so that the company can focus its efforts on areas in which it has a competitive advantage. Outsourcing specific tasks can result in a win-win situation for all parties involved, especially in the case of specialization. Often outsourcing also provides cost savings in the form of cheaper labor, especially in the manufacturing industry. However, a company should still keep corporate social responsibility principles in mind when choosing a company or country to outsource to.

    One of the major pitfalls with outsourcing is that a company must give up some degree of control over the outsourced activity. Outsourcing activities to their parties can also present risk to the company and can compromise the current level of security. Another downfall of outsourcing is that sensitive or private information could be leaked to unauthorized users.

    Reply
  6. sophia burgess

    Yes there is a ethical dilemma in what Bob was doing at his workplace because he was claiming that he did the work while it was someone else’s doing. Claiming the work was his is unethical because he does not own the work nor did he create it. He was also being unethical to his job. In the workplace there should be a ethical sense that the employees will and should not claim others work as their own. Also,making the company believe that he was one of the best workers does not seems ethical.
 There are various benefits with outsources. Number one, it is very cheap to do. There are numerous people around the world willing to do job and it may not cost as much as having to hire somebody. It is relatively fast to find someone. You do not need to go through the process of interviewing, hiring etc.
 One pitfall in out sourcing is that is less reliable. These workers are often not on contracts which could lead to them leaving a project at any given time. Another pitfall is that although its great that its cheaper this may lead to the labour being less credible in comparison to a professional doing the job. Lastly, it is hard to collaborate between workers.

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  7. Chelsea Minor

    In this situation there is definitely an ethical dilemma with what Bob did. He submitted work that he did not do as his own which impacted the type of employee he was viewed as and which probably had some influence on his pay that he received. however I do not think that paying his outsourcer for his job was completely unethical. There can be a lot of benefits for a company from outsourcing jobs. Cost is a major factor. Like in this article the company paid Bob 250,000 for a job that was done by someone else for 50,000. By outsourcing it can create good relationships with people outside of the company and they can hire people who specialize in that job to complete the work faster then possibly having to train someone internally. With the use of outsourcing jobs the company can complete work more effectively and efficiently. Although there are benefits to outsourcing there are also pitfalls. A big issue with outsourcing is the spread of internal information that is meant to be kept within the organization. Selling of these documents to competitors could be a major concern. By outsourcing it could also lead to unemployment in the domestic country if they are outsourcing job to people in other countries. I think for outsourcing to be beneficial there would have to be a good balance between internal and external employees completing the work.

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  8. Bayo

    The is obviously an ethical dilemma in what Bob was doing ,but I believe the unethical aspect is not the fact that Bob was out sourcing the job but the break in company policy by given a non-staff access into the company’s system which would result to leaking some company’s confidential informations.
    There are lot of benefits in outsourcing one of which is given specific segments of the company’s job to professionals that are better in handling it.
    A major risk is the outsourcing company taking over the company idea and becoming a better competition and could also result to the death of the company that outsourced the job due the fact that the company it was outsourced to would have a very good architecture of the product.

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  9. Karleen Clark

    There is a clear ethical dilemma – he is taking responsibility for work that is not his as well as allowing an outside party to access information that should be confidential. While he was fooling the company into believing the were paying “Bob” to do a great job, they were actually paying an unknown source.
    His actions show a benefit though – he was charging the Chinese company less than what he as an American demanded. The work was up to standards, if not better, of what the company expected. Looking outside your company or even your country can help you discover more capable people. Efficiency can increase because you have selected people more suitable for the job. Bob was also free to do other things with his time – which he could have used productively (rather than watching cat videos).
    A pitfall could be the possible breach of classified information. Using a third party always poses a risk to security. Internal securities cannot be as effective to detect any sort of bad behavior, and the more people who know how to gain access the more risk involved.

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  10. Devin Gerstenbuhler

    Absolutely there is an ethical dilemma. He was taking complete credit for the work that someone else was doing. Though he was paying the foreign firm to do the work, he was still receiving such credit as “best developer in the building,” as well as reaping the financial benefits for doing nothing but watch cat videos. On the other hand, I do not think that paying for his own job delegation is completely unethical. It is really no different than what his boss is doing by hiring employees. Realistically, I think if people had have been as clever as ‘bob’ and had thought of this, I bet a lot of people would be willing to take the risk for the payoff of free time. If a company decided to outsource they could potentially get the same result for 200,000$ cheaper. If they had have known that ‘Bob,’ who was getting paid a very modest salary of 250,000$ a year, was doing the work worth 50,000$ according to the supplied content, then why wouldn’t they want to consider outsourcing, solely based on financial concerns. Some of the pitfalls that may arise could be potential theft and/or competition. If there is a foreign company that is creating a superior software for someone else to redistribute and make way more profit, I can only imagine they would want to sell the product directly. By giving them the means and the money to create a sellable and in demand product, would be potentially feeding their own competitor

    Reply
  11. DongkaiZhang

    I am not sure about the first question. The answer should depends on weather the company which Bob works for pay for Bob’s work process or the work result. In fact, Bob just did the same thing what his company did: hire some people to work for them. So I will tend to think that there is not an ethical dilemma in what Bob was doing at his place of work.

    A lots benefit will be created if the company work with outsourcing. First of all, the company could find other people or other company that could do better than themselves at one or some process of the work. That will help the company to reduce the cost and create more money. Secondly, the outsourcing will increase the quality of the product. Thirdly, with the outsourcing, the company could fire some employees which will reduce lots cost.

    However, if the company pay too much attentions on the outsourcing, the company my lost their core competitiveness. This is the biggest risk work with outsourcing. Another risk is information reveal. Other company will have chances to get some core information when they work for the company with outsourcing. At this time, other company may get the new technology that are going to be created in the future or some important people who work at a very important level and keep some important secret information. Even the company could make a huge benefit with outsourcing, this will make the company fall in the coming future.

    Reply
  12. Onyinyechi Dikeocha

    Subcontracting is not a crime. It actually makes cost cheaper and work easier as companies can concentrate on other vital concern it may have. It is evident that it is a lot cheaper to subcontract, however, in the case of “Bob” I think it was a smart one he pulled on his company and it was very unethical especially if the company had laid down policies on such activities being unethical. If he had brought it to the knowledge of management on how cheap it could be, then an exception may be considered, and it probably wouldn’t be unethical to some extent. I say to some extent because this is confidential information being exposed to unknown parties without the company being aware of it.
    The benefit as I stated above is that it can potentially be a lot cheaper. Look at the difference in payments. $250,000 compared to what Bob was paying the Chinese company, a $200,000 difference, now that’s huge. It was also stated that he did a phenomenon job, it clearly shows that an outsider can perform such a task at a cheaper rate while having the best results. This should be something the company should look into. I think I read somewhere that they did in fact use the Chinese firm. Not too sure if it is the same story I read.
    Its pitfall is that it could add to the unemployment rate in the country which can be seen in the manufacturing sector. Establishing facilities in international countries in order to have cheaper labour has greatly contributed to unemployment in so many countries. Security concerns also have to be considered. These are individuals they would probably never meet. Are their documents and data safe in their hands? Could they sell confidential information to their competitors or actually switch gear and work for those competitors. This will be detrimental to their business.

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  13. Loraine MenicocheMoses

    Bob was being paid by his employer to do his job but he did not do the work that he was paid for so he was being dishonest with his employer and that is unethical behavior in the workplace. Bob did meet his job requirements but he got the job done by paying a contractor to do the work, without the consent of his employer which is an ethical dilemma. At the same time, he was pursuing his own interests while on company time, which is another unethical act. Outsourcing can have savings for a company, using this example where the company was paying Bob $250,000 and Bob was paying the contractor $50,000 to do the same job so if the company outsource the work then the company would save money. Also, outsourcing can be beneficial to a company because there is many highly skilled technical support out in the world and a company is not limited to contracting the work only in the area that they are located. A skilled contractor can work from anywhere in the work, using the latest technology.
    The pitfalls of outsourcing are that the company is not guaranteed that the company secrets can be kept safe and only for use of the company, and this is a security risk that a company takes when it outsources. There is the risk of loss of control on how the company information is used, once it is in a contractors hand.

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  14. Jessica Bermel

    Bob was never told not to do outsource his job, but doing so was unethical as he was not doing the job he was hired and entrusted to do, especially at a $250 K salary. The business could have just as easily outsourced his job to the same firm in China, but had made the decision to use a domestic worker and he was hired on the terms/assumptions that he would do the work with his credentials, not pass them off to a third party,

    For outsourcing as a company, you can often cut costs ie paying a separate firm $500 to maintain a webpage for a year instead of hiring a full time IT guy), or even waive social responsibility of a company (ie Apple, who outsources production to Foxconn and is not responsible for the wages or conditions of the workers at the firm). However, by outsourcing part of a businesses duties to a separate firm (ie web design), a business is agreeing to give control, and in some cases restricted access, of certain parts of their business over to an outside source which can have detrimental effects. By outsourcing to another country, a company is decreasing the amount of domestic jobs available to the unemployed in their domestic country. Though it is up to the companies to decide who and where they want to hire from, there may be issues in hiring internationally as the workers from another country may not have the same cultural values as the companies and things may be lost in translation or affected due to misunderstandings.

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  15. shane grant

    There was definitely an ethical dilemma at what Bob was doing at his work place but at the same time very clever. He was taking credit for work he did not do and in the processes earning a ridiculous salary that he truly earned for watching cat videos and surfing reddit. He also put the security of his company in jeopardy by sending the access codes to the outsourcing company so they could gain access to the network.
    The benefits I see with outsourcing is that you get a second hand look if you’re company is doing well or not, like a second opinion. The money the company could also save could be huge, as they were paying Bob $250,000 a year while he was only paying the company $50,000 to do his job for him.
    The pitfalls of outsourcing could be a security risk as other people can have access to personal and private information. The other faults with outsourcing is that it takes away jobs from the company itself and could end up even impacting the local economy.

    Reply
  16. Carmen Wu

    Without a doubt there is an ethical dilemma in this case, even though Bob paid the Chinese subcontractor to do his work, he is lying to his company and getting paid by the company each day for things he did not do. On the other hand, this Chinese subcontractor probably did not know what he is doing for Bob, because the subcontractor might think that Bob owns the company and he was hired by Bob legally because Bob is paying this subcontractor what he deserved. In this case, the Chinese subcontractor did an excellent job writing clear code and finish his job in time. The benefit I see from outsourcing in this case is, there are lots of professional who could perform an excellent job such like this Chinese subcontractor. Companies can hire these professionals worldwide instead of just hiring local people to perform the job, as it is not necessary to sit in the office to finish the job. They can be anywhere around the world because all they need to access to the company website is user names and passwords to log on. If the company to do so in this case, they can just hire this Chinese subcontractor for $50,000 per year instead of the whole amount of salary that they are paying Bob before. Outsourcing could be very beneficial to companies on lower the cost of hiring local professionals and importing some oversea technologies in order to enhance the company’s competitive advantages in the market place.

    Reply
  17. Courtney Minor

    In this situation there definitely is an ethical dilemma in what Bob did. Although Bob paid the China Subcontractor for their work he was claiming and submitting work that he did not do himself. The ethical dilemma is that Bob is lying to his employers by paying and outsourcing his work while sitting on his computer and going on social media websites like facebook all day. The situation could have been different if Bob disclosed the fact that his was outsourcing his work, however he kept this a secret from his employer. The chinese subcontractor that Bob outsourced his work to did a good job and all the work was submitted in a timely fashion. However this situation could have turned out a lot worse. When Bob gave the chinese subcontractor his Pin and credentials there was no way of knowing that they would not be used in a malicious way, such as stealing personal or company information. Due to the fact that the company had no idea that someone from China was logging into their system there was no way the company could monitor the situation. By Bob outsourcing his work to someone in China he also risked the $50,000 that he paid them because he would have no guarantees in making sure the subcontractor completed and handed in the work. Outsourcing can be a great asset for companies to use because it can provide additional knowledge to companies and can cut costs. However when it is used in situations like this it can be illegal and unethical.

    Reply
  18. Anton Golubin

    I am quite surprised by the fact that neither “Bob” nor “outsourcing company” were not “invited” in court. On one hand it is a really clever action from “Bob” to hire somebody outside the country to do his job. He is a lucky man because it is hard to find somebody who will make a 250 000$ worth work for 50 000$ and did it with superior success. Unfortunately, “Bob” did not understand that by engaging an outsourcing company without informing his employers about this, he would create new risks for his company.
    Let’s look which ethical and legal principals Bob has broken:
    1. Unethical: company pay a salary for Bob, not for Bab and other “third party” companies thus Bob
    did not have any ethical reasons to pay somebody for doing his work.
    2. Unethical: if he wanted to engage “outsourcing company” to development he should have asked his supervisor about it.
    3. Illegal: “Bob” passed his own token to unfamiliar people in another country. Furthermore, hi did it by ordinary mail services – which is absolutely unsecure. Somebody on customs (or any other places) could steal this token and used it for access to secret information.
    4. Illegal: almost the same as p.3. “Bob” did not know outsourcing company very well and could not trust it. Passing the company his token could cause a leak of private information from Verizon.
    5. Illegal: “Bob” and outsourcing company did not sign any contact which could regulate their business relationships.
    6. Illegal: “Bob” and outsourcing company did not pay any taxes.
    As can be seen from this list – the main concern about outsercing company – it is safety of sectret data, information, processes and so forth. And it does not really mean that a leak will be cousing by outsoursing company. Usually, outsoursung companies use the Internet connection to access different resources inside company they work for. Other consern, is that standarts of storing and using information can be much lower in outsoursing company then in their “employers”. Thus, information which is safe in one company can be poor protected in other company which also increase risk of leakage.
    Major benefits are obvious and include: cost reduction ( Verizon could hire outsoursing company instead of paying salary to Bob and safe approximately 100 000 – 150 000$ ( if one count other expenses ) in a month), time reduction and enhancing support of services or applications.

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  19. Mia Angelica Alcantara

    1. Is there an ethical dilemma in what Bob was doing at his place of work? Why or Why Not??
    Yes, I think there is. Although, he did pay the Chinese subcontractor for their work, what he is submitting as his own work is not actually done by him. If he had disclosed to his company that he is going to outsource his job, then that would be ethical because it would be clearer that he will not be doing work and that his evaluation should be based on how he manages and delegates the work to others.
    2. What benefits can you see with outsourcing as a company?
    The cost for one would be lower. There are countries that have far lower labor costs than in Canada or in the US. Just based on the story, the company was paying a guy$ 250,000 for a $50,000 worth of job in another country. If the company directly outsourced “Bob’s” job, they would have $200,000 in savings. Outsourcing can give your business a competitive advantage since you will be able to hire the best people for the job at the fraction of the cost thereby increasing productivity without sacrificing cost.
    3. What pitfalls can you see a company risking by outsourcing?
    Loss of jobs and decreased in income within the company’s country since jobs meant for within the country will be delegated to another country. Communication might be harder and language barrier might contribute to miscommunication. Risk in company security as the company might need to share process flows and their networks to other companies.

    Reply
  20. Jared Arsenault

    I think there is clearly and ethical dilemma concerning what Bob did. Any time someone takes credit for another person’s work and makes a motion that it is their own infringes on ethical boundaries. Besides being unethical Bob also put his company at risk by reveling secure login information. The actual consequences of his actions however, were not all negative. The code that was written was able to follow the necessary standards and Bob was technically doing what he was supposed to. The problem was that by outsourcing his job he put the companies security at risk. It`s interesting that this type of activity can happen on such a large scale geographically. I`m sure people have done this on a small scale before within their own city or country but its remarkable how technology has brought us to the point that Bob could actually benefit financially from this proposition. Normally if someone were to try this within their own geographical location it would be difficult to turn a profit because there would be similar costs to the company for this type of service. But when Bob outsourced to China he could get the same work done for a much lower cost, thereby actually making money for doing nothing. Clearly there are benefits for this company to outsource because the same task was getting completed but for a much lower cost. Bob just managed to figure this out before his company could. Basically he outsourced his own job before the company could do it… either way he gets let go.

    Reply
  21. raeesa jiwa

    Bob is a genius! Although I conclude that his actions were unethical they were extremely intelligent and he was taking full advantage of the fact that the ‘world is flat.’ it was unfair that he was outsourcing his work, and claiming ownership of the Chinese company’s work. I would equate Bobs actions to plagiarism as he was submitting the work under the pretext that it was his product as an employee. Another aspect of concern is that Bob left his company vulnerable to a security threat by divulging his confidential passwords and granting access to a stranger. Can you imagine if all of that information lead to a larger security threat! This article however does bring rise to the question of the values of outsourcing. Although many jobs would be deemed irrelevant and perhaps inexistent, it leads me to wonder how much money a company can save by outsourcing. In this case, the company suffered by the usage of outsourcing but it is something to consider. I would not be surprised to learn that the company actually began outsourcing a portion of its work after this situation.

    Reply
  22. Vanessa Kerychuk-Matus

    Although intelligent and extremely innovative, Bob’s activity was indeed unethical and most likely illegal. In accepting his position and duties to his employer, Bob agreed to a contractual obligation to perform work requested of his employer. As a result of hiring a third party to complete his work, it seems likely that Bob would be found to have breached his contract and would thus be liable for any loss of productivity. It seems ethical that the employer would have the right to immediately terminate Bob for outsourcing a position and duties he had contractually agreed to when having accepted his position. However, the benefits of outsourcing make this type of arrangement very appealing to employers. Outsourcing is cheaper for the employer, especially if the work is outsourced to a country where that type of work is cheaper. Outsourcing can also be an easier process for employers than going through the entire recruiting, selection and staffing processes needed to employ the right number and right quality of employees. On the other side of things, outsourcing can have many disadvantages which make a more difficult situation for employers and organizations as a whole. Outsourcing may lead to less control of the work produced by employees or independent contractors hired by the company. This loss of control can have many negative effects on a variety of strategy-related outcomes for the business. Outsourcing may also cause more work on the part of the employer in order to ensure a legal process according to international laws. I would say, all-in-all, outsourcing is a great resource if used effectively and planned for well in advance so as to identify potential issues and resolve them proactively.

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  23. Emmanuel Makoni

    There is definitely an ethical dilemma in what Bob was doing at his place of work. This is because he is getting recognition for what he wasn’t even doing. He is getting paid for sitting around, being on YouTube, and pretty much just surfing the web. Outsourcing was not part of his job description and the fact that he was willing to comfortably take credit for what he was not doing and the fact that he was hiding this away from his employer already shows that he knows what he was doing was both illegal and unethical. This is also unethical for the company he outsourced the job to because the company probably doesn’t even know that they are being paid only $50,000 for a job Bob is getting paid $250,000 for. A benefit of outsourcing the job to China is that it would be cheaper to get the job done for the company rather than paying the rate they were paying Bob. This would be a benefit if the employer had done it himself because it would be both ethical and legal, rather than Bob doing it behind his employer’s back. A disadvantage of outsourcing the job is the fact that this gives less jobs for those in the community. Although outsourcing is beneficial to the company in this case, it wouldn’t benefit the local people who have been trained to do such a job. The worst part is those people will not be willing to get paid less for something that they spent a long time learning to do.

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  24. Megan Plummer

    I believe that what Bob was doing was unethical. Taking advantage of the company is unethical and unprofessional. It was honestly a huge security risk to his employer’s simply because Bob wanted to surf the web instead of doing what he was paid to do. Allowing someone access to the companies system gave them access to private information from within the company. Not only that, but the amount of resources the company wasted during the time a downfall. Bob also took advantage of the person he hired to do his work by paying him a very small fraction of bobs own pay, he essentially used someone else’s intellectual property and tried to pass it off on his own just so he had more time to catch up on the happenings of the internet.
    Outsourcing itself has many benefits to organizations if they can make it happen. It reduces the output of resources a company uses as well as greatly diminishes the costs associated with the production of the product (labor, resources ect). The quantity of work is often greater as well due to machinery or an increased amount of laborers working at a lower wage to create the product. However there can be downsides when it comes to laws and regulations in other countries, as well as issues with the host countries values and beliefs, perhaps they are not supportive of the product being created. As well a company risks exposing trade secrets when it decided to deal within a host country. It can be a difficult process but often the profits received are worth it.

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  25. Philomen Kadima

    Bob outsourcing his job and duties to China is extremely unethical because he did not conform to his approved standards of professional behaviour in the workplace; this is why he in turn got fired. Not only was his employer not aware of what Bob was up to, but Bob also took advantage of the person he hired to work for him in China. Bob also did not even seek approval from his employer and took all the praise and the high pay that came with the job he was supposed to be doing.
    Companies benefit from outsourcing usually to get cheap labour and also to get the best trained and skilled workers in that specific country or place by transferring some of its work there. Outsourcing can also successfully benefit an organization if it can reduce certain really high cost items such as high taxes, high energy costs, excessive government regulations…etc.
    The pitfalls organizations could face with outsourcing are the control of some of its services such as management, if the outsourcing company performs those functions entirely, it may not be driven by the same standards as the actual organization. The organization could also incur additional hidden costs that it may have not been aware of early on and that are specific for that region. One other pitfall could be the bad reputation an organization could face due to its association with the outsourcing firm if that firm is viewed negatively by either its customers, partners, the general public…etc. or all of the above.

    Reply
  26. Josh MacNevin

    There was, in my opinion, some very unethical decisions made by “Bob”. He was submitting, and passing off as his own, someone else’s intellectual property. He was circumventing the companies security measures in order to allow access to this other programmer, which, I would assume would be a serious violation of the companies policies. Out sourcing is obviously more cost efficient, and can be done very easily. There was also no issues with the quality of work Bob was turning in. Really the only pitfalls that might arise would be security issues, but if the company knew what was going on they could take appropriate measures to secure sensitive information.

    Reply
  27. Cory Hoffner

    I think that the way Bob hired a private contractor to submit his work is very unethical. Bob was taking advantage of this private contractor by paying a very low wage and receiving a quality product. In Bob’s eyes he thought that there was nothing wrong with what he was doing because the work was getting submitted on time. He was taking advantage of the subcontractor by paying a fifth of his wage to free up his time and surf the web while at work. Lower costs and quality products are benefits of outsourcing for a company. If a company can lower costs, while still maintaining their quality through outsourcing, their profit margin will increase. This is a smart way to conduct business, especially in the manufacturing industry, where labour is the highest cost to a company. The pitfalls of outsourcing can include lower quality products, loss of managerial control, and possible confidentiality threats. If a company does not research their potential outsourcing company, lower quality products may be used and it will not be beneficial to the company. By outsourcing, a company may give up managerial control that it would have if they produced the products themselves. I think that a company must thoroughly look into the pros and cons of outsourcing, as sometimes it is not beneficial to do so.

    Reply
  28. Kelly Bateman

    Bob taking advantage of the Chinese is very unethical in my eyes . I don’t think i need
    to elaborate much on why this is unethical, should be quite obvious! There are benefits
    for him such as saving, cheap labour and making more profit, but i still think he should
    be paying them a bit more, especially considering he’s just sitting on his ass watching
    videos and cruising Facebook. Outsourcing is a decent option if there are the workers
    in the foreign country looking for work, but pitfalls could definitely be confidentiality issues,
    not seeing day-to-day operations and overall could do a bad thing to his company.

    Reply
  29. Sidney Bouma

    I believe that what Bob was doing was very unethical. I think that most people would also think that this is not right. He was benefiting greatly from work that he was not doing. He was wasting company resources and time by sitting at his desk and surfing the web. He was taking credit for someone else’s work and lying to his employer. It might have been different if he had told his boss about this and they were okay with it. I doubt that this would happen since they would rather give the duties to some other qualified applicant. This whole thing was also a huge security risk to the company. They were letting some foreign worker into their system where they could steal valuable and private information. As unethical as this was, there are a few benefits that could arise from this outsourcing. The reason for any outsourcing is to lower costs since labour is usually cheaper in many countries. The costs of manufacturing products is usually lower in many countries. Different laws allow production to be increased drastically and so the parent company enjoys much larger profits. Sometimes the work done by outsourcing is of much better quality and so companies can charge a much higher price. A few drawbacks of outsourcing would be the loss of company sovereignty and risk of low quality work. Companies can sometimes become so dependant on other companies that they cant survive without them. The risk of low quality products always exists in other countries but it is a risk that lots of companies will take to increase profits.

    Reply
  30. Easton Smith

    I believe there definitely is an ethical dilemma in what Bob was doing at his place of work. It is (or should be) obvious that this type of behaviour is completely unethical. It benefitted Bob to a great extent while simultaneously hurting the private infrastructure company he worked for, as they had no knowledge that this was happening. The fact is, Bob was making $200,000/yr plus to watch videos and check Facebook. Although that would be a pretty awesome job, it’s not how the real world works, and is stealing from the company. It’s stealing from the company because although the work was getting done efficiently and effectively, Bob was getting all the credit to waste the company’s time. This behaviour is a type of plagiarism if you will. Although there was a serious ethical dilemma in this particular scenario, there are definitely benefits with outsourcing as a company. The main benefit would be cost savings. If there is cheaper labour elsewhere, and as long as the foreign workers conditions are up to standards, then outsourcing is a valid option. Overhead costs can be reduced, while employee flexibility can be increased when a company outsources. Some pitfalls a company may risk while outsourcing work may include loss of managerial control, reduced quality of work, and possible threats to company security and confidentiality. Although in this case the quality of work was up to par, Bob really left the company vulnerable to security threats and letting confidential information fall into the hands of people who could impose harm upon his company. For the company as a whole, the pitfalls definitely outweighed the benefits in this scenario.

    Reply

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