October 29, 2020

Exploring Ethics at Cyber HITEC: Tips to Approach Ethical Situations at Work

Written by Claire Kenney, Cyber HITEC Guest Blogger — Contributor

Each year, the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) facilitates ongoing learning opportunities for hospitality finance and tech professionals worldwide. As part of the conference, hospitality professionals present educational sessions. Topics vary across aspects of hospitality finance, accounting and technology. This year, one of the many virtual education sessions offered included a session on ethics.

Dr. Judy Holcombs (CHAE+) educational HITEC presentation entitled Understanding the Ambiguity of Ethics explored frameworks for evaluating ethical decisions through various scenarios.

Did you miss the ethics session at Cyber HITEC? It will soon be available on-demand! Registered attendees can revisit this educational sessions and others on the Cyber HITEC platform through November 25.

Technology certainly brings many opportunities for evaluating ethical decision-making. It is a vital tool that can facilitate a lot of good. Nevertheless, despite pure intent, technology can be used for illegal or harmful activity. As such, hospitality professionals and others must regularly discern the best ways to leverage it.

In particular, emerging technologies create opportunities for reevaluating ethical questions or pose entirely new ethical questions. Many times, these ethical scenarios are marked by ambiguity. Depending on the lens used to evaluate the situation, one might come to a different conclusion on what the most ethical action should be.

For example, AI is a valuable tool. It can be leveraged for safety and security. However, in certain scenarios, the original intent to protect might be clouded by privacy infringement.

Dr. Holcomb’s research found the best avenue to deal with ethical situations involves three steps:

  • First, avoid overconfidence. Do not overlook potential threats to good intent.

  • Second, consciously avoid incrementalism. Many times major ethical wrongdoings begin with minor ethical misjudgments or actions.

  • Third, acknowledge that there may be an ethical issue. Too much focus on how the good outweighs the bad may lead to the disregard for ethical questions. Think about the situation from multiple angles to help yourself come to the most ethical conclusions.

Holcomb suggests asking the following questions when evaluating a situation that involves ethical discernment:

1. Who are the stakeholders involved?

2. Who do you owe a duty to?

3. What are the important facts?

4. What additional information is required?

Together, these steps and questions help one come to the best ethical conclusions. Ethical issues confront hospitality finance, accounting and technical professionals frequently. Learning from the research and experiences of fellow financial and tech colleagues holds the overall industry accountable.

Ethical calibration ultimately leads to brand and consumer confidence. A firm ethical foundation for hospitality and other professionals is personally and professionally important.

As Holcomb reminded her audience, the good always wins out. The truth will eventually surface. It might be an old saying, but it is definitely a timeless ethical compass.

Claire Kenney is the marketing communications manager at Evention LLC in Chicago, Illinois. She is an official event guest blogger for Cyber HITEC 2020, taking place live October 27-29 and on-demand through November 25....Check back on HFTP Connect for more of Claire’s experiences at HITEC this year.

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