Removing temptation. I’m the customer service director for Matrix Technologies, a manufacturer of design software. We’ve recently upgraded our customer service extranet service to allow our clients to download software updates (including any patches or “bug fixes”) directly from our extranet site. The initial response from the majority of our customers has been very positive—the new process is convenient, quick, and reliable—they love it. Everyone, that is, except for our large local government client. The new service doesn’t help it at all—and the reason for that really has me stumped. Earlier this year, this client made the decision to remove access to the Internet from all its desktop computers, so no access to the Internet means no access to our customer service site to download our upgrades. When I asked the IT director if he was pulling my leg, he got mad at me. Apparently its IT personnel installed some monitoring software on the system and found that employees were spending almost 40 percent of their time surfing the web— mostly to news and entertainment sites, but sometimes to places that would make you blush! Its response was swift and effective. The employees came in one morning and found that they no longer had access to the web from their desktops. Now we have to come up with a plan to mail upgrade CDs to 24 regional offices.
1. How well did Matrix’s client handle this situation?
2. What kind of message does this send to the employees of Matrix’s client?
3. What other options were available here?
4. On the assumption that the downloadable software patches can greatly improve updates for its client, does Matrix have an ethical obligation to get involved here? Explain your answer.