This report has been prepared on the topic Professional Practice and Ethics in which discussion will be done regarding the ethical implications faced by Telstra. Telstra has moved from a conservative engineering based company to a fast-paced digital company. Discussion will be made regarding the decision support systems or business analytics used by Telstra and use of the analysis tools for the purpose of gaining a competitive advantage over the others in the industry. A framework for the analysis of the ethical issues, the impact of the ethical issues and options for dealing with the ethical issues will be discussed in this report so as to analyze the ethical implications of the company. This framework will discuss different aspects related to the ethical implications. An ethical theory will be applied so as to assess the ethical consequences. Recommendations will be provided with a motive to suggest strategies for coping with the ethical issues faced by Telstra.
Telstra is a Telecom Australia based public company which is operating in the Australian Market. Telstra was founded in the year 1975 and it’s headquarter is located in Melbourne, Australia. It is offering fixed line and mobile telephony, internet and data services, network services and Pay TV. According to the data collected in the year 2015, Telstra has an employee base of 36,165 employees. Telstra is one of the largest telecommunications company in Australia. Previously, Telstra was operating as a conservative engineering based company and it has moved from a conservative engineering based company to a fast-paced digital company. Telecommunication industry has played a major role to make changes in the business and create a sustainable growth in Australia (Telstra, 2018).
Values and purpose of Telstra are to care, collaborate, trust, simplicity and courage. For the purpose of enhancing the satisfaction level of the customers and enhancing the customer base of the company, Telstra has adopted effective strategies acting as its pillars. These strategies include delivering a quality experience to the customers, driving values and growth from the core and building growth. The key strategic enablers of Telstra are networks for the future, digitalization and culture and capabilities. The vision of Telstra is to be world class Technology Company which enhances the connectivity among the people (Telstra, 2018).
Framework for analysis “Doing the ethic”
- What’s going on?: Telstra has adopted an ethical behaviour framework so as to guide the decision making process and behaviour of the employees. These key integrity policies include anti-bribery and anti-corruption, conflicts of interest and outside activities, gifts, prizes and hospitality and fraud and criminal conduct. Employees of Telstra are expected to behave as per the standards set for their behavior. Values of Telstra are to show care, better together, trusting each other, finding the courage and making the complex tasks simple (Market Culture, 2010). Telstra make the employees follow the pr?cised standards of business and personal ethics by taking initiatives such as promotion of the ethical behaviour in the environment of the organization. Face-to-face ethical behaviour training is provided to the 1700 employees for promoting ethical behaviour. For ensuring the safety of the customers, Telstra is promoting transparency in the operations of the organization. The governance framework of Telstra is based on few key elements and these key elements are health and safety, discrimination and bullying, privacy, diversity, anti-bribery, conflicts of interest, whistleblowing, securities trading market disclosure, corruption, sustainability and social media (Coleman, 2017).
- What are the facts?: Telstra has been positioned as the leading provider of cyber security systems and services so as managing the data of the customers safely and securely. Market strength of the company has increased in the past few years. Telstra has reduced the excess data charges and introduced international travel passes. Stakeholders of Telstra have gained from investing in Telstra. There has been a rise in the share price of Telstra by 98 % in the last five years (Somasundaram, 2017). Telstra has played the role of a leader in the exciting new areas of growth. A large number of sports and teams are being sponsored by Telstra along with the endorsement of the arts through the groups. Privatization of Telstra took place in the year 1997. The focus of Telstra is on considering the safety of the different stakeholders of the company. Audit and risk committee has been set by Telstra so as to ensure that ethical behaviour is adopted in the environment of the company. Ethical behaviour policies have been formulated with a motive to conduct the operations in an ethical manner (Telstra, 2016).
- What are the issues?: While shifting the nature of the business, various issues have been faced by Telstra. These issues have the potential to create an impact on the existence of the business. Telstra has faced various ethical issues while moving from conservative engineering based company to a fast-paced digital. These ethical issues include misleading NBN speed, accused of tracking the next G internet use, legal claim faced due to the suicide of the employee, impact of fire which took place in Telstra, material sustainability issues, bugs in the software affecting the interest of the users, lack of transparency which promotes chances of frauds in the company, corruption and lack of control on the ethical practices in the environment of the business (Smolaks, 2017). All these issues have adversely affected the interest of the different stakeholders as well as of the company. These ethical issues have affected the performance and sales of the company. Another issue faced by Telstra due to the ethical issues is mobile revenue. These ethical issues have resulted in fall in the revenue from the mobile business of Telstra (Market Culture, 2010).
- Who is affected?: impact of these ethical issues faced by Telstra has been seen on the different stakeholders of Telstra. These stakeholders include employees, investors, customers or users of the services, society, managers and owners. The fire which took place in the Telstra exchange has resulted in disrupting more than 30 % of the overall Telstra traffic. This disruption in the overall Telstra traffic has resulted in a delay in the flights and train journeys. Power equipment of Telstra got damaged due to the fire which took place in the exchange (Kotterman, 2015). Impact of this fire was on users and employees of the Telstra. Lack of transparency has affected the satisfaction level of the employees and customers of Telstra. Impact of these ethical issues has affected the interest of the investors of Telstra. Telstra has been accused of tracking the use of Next G internet by the users. Websites visited by the users were tracked by a server in the US which has affected the satisfaction level of the users of the next G internet in Australia. Privacy concerns were raised by the users on which Telstra stated that the data was being collected and sent overseas so as to develop the new product. This new product will permit the parents to let the children access the websites (McArthur, 2015).
- What are the ethical issues and implications?: Telstra has faced few ethical issues which have affected the interest of different stakeholders as well as performance and sales of Telstra. Impact of these ethical issues can be seen on the satisfaction level of the users, employees, managers, investors and government. Privacy concerns were raised by the users of next G internet as the websites accessed by these users were being tracked. This privacy issue has affected the confidentiality of the users and decreased the trust among the users of Next G internet (Taylor, 2011). Fire in the Telstra exchange has affected the traffic and resulted in a delay in the flights and train journeys. Lack of control has increased the chances of fraud in the company which has affected the performance of the company. Another issue is lack of transparency which has resulted in an impact on the employee base and users. Software bug was another ethical issue which has knocked out the 10 % of the consumers’ offline of Telstra. Although that bug was fixed overnight still 15000 people were not able to connect to the network in that week. It was identified that during the fire in the exchange, text messages sent during that period delivered to the incorrect recipients who have affected the privacy of the users (Simpson, 2014).
- What can be done about it? for overcoming these ethical issues, Telstra has to adopt effective strategies or options. For effectively moving the business from a conservative engineering based company to a fast-paced digital company, Telstra need to take initiatives. For coping with these ethical issues, initiatives have been taken by Telstra. For dealing with the software bug, Telstra resolved the issue overnight. Impact of this software bug has been seen on almost 10 % of the internet customers (around 370,000 people) of Telstra (Telstra, 2012). For coping with the fire incident, SMS platform was closed by Telstra for a short period so as to ensure that the messages are not getting delivered to the wrong address. The reputation of Telstra got affected due to the tracking next G internet. For coping with this ethical issue, Telstra has stopped the collection of website address and data. Another effective approach has been considered by Telstra which is the approach to sustainability. The sustainability approach of Telstra includes a review of the current and potential sustainability issues, identification of the concern of the stakeholders, collecting feedbacks and presentation of the findings and reporting of the issues to the Sustainability Council of Telstra (Telstra, 2015).
- What are the options? Different options are available to Telstra for coping with the ethical issues faced by it. These options include the formation of a committee for keeping a check on the unethical practices, promoting whistleblowing, promoting transparency, keeping the customers informed, compliance training and promoting ethical behaviour. Check on the unethical practices will ensure that the employees and organization are performing in an ethical manner without creating any harm to the interest of different stakeholders. Whistleblowing approach can be promoted so as to develop loyalty among the employees (Ockenden, 2012). This can be done by motivating the employees for disclosing the unethical practices taking place in the business environment. Transparency can be promoted so as to make the operations of the organization clear to the different stakeholders who have a substantial interest in the operations of the business. Compliance training can be provided to the employees so as to ensure that they are complying with the ethical practices adopted by Telstra. The focus of Telstra is on conducting the operations in an ethical manner. Ethical behaviour is a key aspect and Telstra is promoting ethical behaviour and different policies (AEST, 2017).
- Which option is best-and why? Numerous options are available which can be analyzed by Telstra for dealing with the unethical practices and promoting ethical behaviour. These options include whistleblowing, ethical behaviour, compliance training and a committee. These alternatives can be selected by Telstra so as to overcome the ethical issues faced by the company. Whistleblowing will motivate the employees for identifying the unethical practices and reporting the unethical practices taking place in the company. We can uplift the ethical behaviour of the employee in a company by boosting their morale and ensuring their right behaviour (McDonald, 2013). Compliance training will guide the employees in taking the right decision and performing the operations of the organization in an ethical manner. The training program is considered as an integral part which helps in making the employees aware of the legal, regulatory and compliance responsibilities. A committee can be set up which will ensure that the operations of the organization are being performed as per the ethical principles adopted by the organization (Carter, 2016).
Assessment of ethical consequences (use any ethical theory)
For the assessment of the ethical consequences for Telstra, Utilitarianism ethical theory has been selected. Utilitarianism ethical theory can be defined as the consequentialism form of the ethical theory which focuses on performing the action or act in such a manner that the action results in producing the greatest good for the highest possible number of people. This theory is concerned with the morality of the outcome of the action or operation undertaken. The focus of this theory is on providing benefit to the maximum number of people by performing the action in a moral manner. This theory is based on the ability of the individual in making predictions regarding the consequences of the actions. This ethical theory ensures that the actions are performed in a fair manner by valuing justice. According to this theory, ethics is doing the greatest good for the greatest possible number of people from the actions performed (Mandle, 2013).
Telstra is facing different ethical issues due to the shift in the nature of the business. These ethical issues include misleading speed of NBN, legal claim faced by Telstra due to the suicide committed by the employee, impact of fire which took place in Telstra exchange, blame of tracking the next G internet use, material sustainability issues, software bugs adversely affected the interest of the users, lack of transparency promoting frauds chances, corruption and lack of control on the ethical practices (McGee, 2010). All these issues are unethical and have affected different stakeholders of Telstra. These stakeholders have interest in the operations of the organization. Tracking of the internet use has resulted in affecting the privacy of the customers using Next G internet. Utilitarianism ethical theory helps in analyzing this issue in a better manner which helps in maintaining the trust and loyalty among the customers by focusing on their privacy (Sandler, 2010).
According to Utilitarianism ethical theory, Telstra needs to keep a check on the outcome of the actions so as to operate in an ethical manner. Different issues are being faced by Telstra and Utilitarianism ethical theory can help Telstra in overcoming the ethical issues. Utilitarianism ethical theory will help Telstra in focusing on the outcomes of the actions of Telstra. Suicide committed by the employee has resulted in dissatisfaction among the employees of the organization. For overcoming this issue and to prevent reoccurrence of the suicide, there is a need to analyze the issues faced by the employees. This approach will help in enhancing the satisfaction level among the employees. Due to the fire in Telstra exchange, quality of the services got affected. For providing quality services to the customers during the period of fire, services can be provided from alternative locations (Tuan & Shaw, 2016).
Lack of transparency in the organization increases the chances of fraud in Telstra. Utilitarianism ethical theory can be used for analyzing the outcome of implementing transparency policy in the workplace of Telstra. Cases of fraud can be reduced by promoting transparency in Telstra. Ethical practices need to be promoted in the organization and the consequences of promotion of ethical practices can be analyzed with the use of Utilitarianism ethical theory. Software bugs can be managed by regularly keeping a check on the software of the organization (Lewin, 2014).
Telstra is facing ethical issues which have affected the performance of the organization; there is a need to analyze strategies which can be used for the purpose of dealing with the ethical issues. There are numerous strategies or approaches available which can be used by Telstra for the purpose of coping with ethical issues faced. These approaches are discussed below:
- Providing support to the process of analysis of the business opportunity in an ethical manner: Telstra needs to analyze the business opportunities in an ethical manner so as to ensure that the operations of the business are not affecting the interest of stakeholders. Business opportunities need to be selected in an ethical manner (Moore & Gino, 2013).
- IT security governance: IT security governance will help Telstra in overcoming the ethical issues related to the privacy and confidentiality of the data. IT security governance will help Telstra in keeping a check on security-related ethical issues.
- Compliance training: this training will help in developing the knowledge and skills of the employees. Employees of Telstra will be able to develop ethical behaviour which will guide their efforts in the right manner (Kouchaki & Smith, 2014).
- Ethical committee: a committee needs to be set up which will help in forming an authority which will ensure that the operations of Telstra are conducted in an ethical manner without affecting others. This committee will promote an ethical code of conduct and ensures ethical principles are being followed by the employees and organization.
- Promoting ethical behaviour: ethical behaviour needs to be promoted among the employees with a motive to reduce the chances of frauds taking place due to unethical practices (Eldred, 2012).
Thus, from the above discussion, it can be stated that ethics play a vital role in shaping the performance of the business and fulfilling the responsibility towards the different stakeholders. This report has helped in increasing the knowledge of the concept of ethics and its role in an organization. This report has also discussed the different ethical issues which have been faced by Telstra. Impact of these ethical issues on the different stakeholders of Telstra has been discussed in this report. Recommendations have been provided in this report which will help Telstra in coping with the ethical dilemmas in a better manner and promoting ethical behaviour in the culture of the organization.
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