‘Calling Passengers’ — An Ethical Problem in the Design of Self-Service Web Sites Amongst Low-Cost Airlines in Ireland

  • Chris Barry
  • Ann Torres


Ethics on the Internet has been a widely debated topic in recent years covering issues that range from privacy to security to fraud. Little, however, has been written on more subtle ethical questions such as the exploitation of Web technologies to inhibit or avoid customer service. Increasingly, it would appear, some firms are using Web sites to create distance between them and their customer base in specific areas of their operations, while simultaneously developing excellence in sales transaction completion via self-service. This chapter takes a magnifying glass with an ethical lens to just one sector — the low-cost, Web-based self-service airline industry, specifically in Ireland. The chapter notes the teaching of information systems development (ISD) and, for the most part, its practice assumes ethicality. Similarly, marketing courses focus on satisfying customer needs more effectively and efficiently within the confines of an acceptable ethos. This chapter observes that while these business disciplines are central to the success of self-service Web sites, there seems to be a disconnection between the normative view and the actuality of practice. What follows begins with an analysis of the normative approach to information systems (IS) design and marketing. A review of questionable ethical practices used by low-cost carriers (LCCs) is then conducted, followed by a discussion on the phenomena. The chapter concludes with a look at the implications for research, teaching and practice.


Information System Customer Service Customer Relationship Management Contact Detail Service Recovery 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Barry
  • Ann Torres
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MarketingNational University of IrelandGalway

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