ETHICAL ISSUES RELATED TO E-COMMERCE: CASE OF DISCOUNT E-SHOPPING SITE IN LITHUANIA
Keywords:e-commerce, e-shopping site, ethical issues, business ethics, ethical decision making
Technological development proposed very broad possibilities in various spheres. One of them is e-commerce. The retailing possibilities became absolutely different and reached the new level. Marketing specialists directed their research and actions to digital environment and its uniqueness because traditional approaches and methods were not suitable any more. Web environment proposed a lot of various possibilities for entrepreneurs. But the customer-seller relationship remains one of the most important objects of research in marketing. The complexity and intangibility of digital environment produced some specific problems encountering ethical. As the amount of e-transactions is growing the amount of ethical problems rises as well. There is almost no research in Lithuania focusing on ethical problems in e-commerce despite that IT specialists and technologies in Lithuanian market develop very fast and are of very high quality. There are about 33 acting discount e-shopping sites in Lithuania and the number is growing. Accordingly e-shopping intensity and amount is growing. From the other side customers suffer from unfairness, security problems, falsifications, delays an etc.
The research problem of this article is related to solving and further developing such questions as is e-commerce ethics really something different from traditional business ethics and what are the most important ethical issues related to e-commerce; does and how traditional business ethics and ethical decision making propose appropriate solutions in morally unacceptable and unethical situations in e-commerce.
The research aim of the article is to analyse the case of selling fake products in one of Lithuanian discount e-shopping site using different theories of ethical decision making. The research object is ethical issues related to e-commerce. In the article theoretical background of the most important ethical issues related to e-commerce is analysed. The situation in Lithuanian discount e-shopping sites’ market is shortly described as well. The case of fake Ariel sold in discount e-shopping site in Lithuania was analysed in the article as unethical behavior in business case.
The novelty of the article is based on the researching theoretical ethical issues of e-commerce and implying these ethical issues in the case analysis of Lithuanian discount e-shopping site. The main findings of the article are related with such issues as distinguishing the main ethical issues actual to e-commerce. The case analysis of discount e-shopping site was fulfilled with traditional ethical decision making’ instruments: utilitarian, justice ethics’, and deontological approaches. The (un)ethical case analysis revealed that moral problems of business world are complex and it would be difficult to solve them in accordance with only one provision or position, however, the elementary ethical principles remain in e-commerce and Web environment.