The Pug Predicament: Ethical Decision-Making in an Online Marketplace: Abstract
This case presents an ethical quandary faced by Rob Edwards, director of trust and safety of a large New Zealand-based C2C (customer-to-customer) online marketplace. Following a review of its animal welfare policy, Rob is considering regulating the marketplace’s trade in pugs, English bulldogs, and French bulldogs, breeds that suffer from a condition called brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). Via a dialogue between Rob and his team, the case explores several options for resolving the problem. The case highlights the complexity of moderating digital platforms in a way that balances openness with trust and safety.
- Advanced undergraduate business courses that address ethical reasoning and the stakeholder perspective on corporate social responsibility
- Understand how socio-political and legislative contexts influence the content moderation and trust and safety policies of digital platforms.
- Analyze how trust and safety mechanisms can be used to mitigate market failures that can harm platform participants.
- Reflect on the role of animal welfare in managerial decision-making and how it should be considered in business ethics.
- Recognize and understand the moral conflict inherent in right-versus-right ethical dilemmas.
- Apply an ethical decision-making framework to develop a morally sound solution to an ethical dilemma in the context of platform regulation and moderation.
Teachers’ notes are available for university teachers only. Please contact the HEC Montréal Case Centre.