Ethics in the bank internet encounter: an explorative study

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    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss some ethical issues in the internet encounter between customer and bank. Empirical data related to the difficulties that customers have when they deal with the bank through internet technology and electronic banking. The authors discuss the difficulties that customers expressed from an ethical standpoint.

    Design/methodology/approach – The key problem of the paper is “how does research handle the user's lack of competence in a web-based commercial environment?” The authors illustrate this ethical dilemma with data from a Danish Bank collected in 2002. The data have been structured by an advanced text analytic method, Pertex (by generation of intentionality of verbal actors from text).

    Findings – The authors can conclude that the experience of lack of competency in internet banking implies a severe damage on the experience of the ethics of the good life and of the respect for the basic ethical principles of customer autonomy, dignity, integrity and vulnerability. However, increased experience of competency may imply experience of increased feeling of ethical superiority and of the good life among customers.

    Research limitations/implications – The important implication for managerial research of this study would be for banks to focus on customer competency with an ethical concern instead of only being concerned with technical solutions for effective internet operations.

    Practical implications – Since more and more businesses are digitally based, the authors can foresee a potential generic problem of lack of competence for certain age groups and also of people from different social groups.

    Originality/value – The paper provides an analysis of the ethics of on-line banking on the basis of Pertex methodology and with the use of basic ethical principles of autonomy, dignity, integrity and vulnerability.
    TidsskriftJournal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society
    Udgave nummer1
    Sider (fra-til)36-51
    StatusUdgivet - 2012

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