Impact on Society

Previously we have taken a simple example of an individual and suggested that the impact on the individual directly affects, or at least should affect, how the business that they are employed within operates. Not only that, the impact on the business can then have an impact on the general operation of society.

If businesses as a whole gravitated toward its staff being knowledgeable and current this potentially would result in a society in which businesses as a whole gravitated toward informed workers and as such those same, now informed, individuals that work for the businesses that are also, simultaneously, members of society generally would be much more informed, resulting in a more informed society.

This individually more informed society, at least from a very simplistic theoretical point of view, might then result in greater changes in the operation of society as a whole, such as the move to a shorter working week or to the production of a more moral and ethical society overall both in and out of the workplace.

The impacts on individuals, businesses and society of membership to professional bodies can be many and in this section we have only touched on one simple change that might occur and the power that one change potentially has to radically alter the businesses that we work within and the world that we live within.

Whenever we explore issues such as this we will find that the impacts often become quite abstract very quickly, but at its heart the changes are quite simple. Staff might require to read more, or to take in to account the privacy of data supplied by or about customers and this awareness might come from being a member of a PB.

Extending the privacy-of-data issue, an employer might ask an employee to take home a usb-stick with 100,000 customer-records contained on it; but with reference to the Data Protection Act 1998 if this usb-stick was not encrypted and the employer could not guarantee that the employee’s home computer setup was free from physical observation or remote technical observation then their request, or instruction, and the employee’s participation, could potentially be both reckless and punishable by the courts if a breach of data occurred.

Thus, the issues made aware to the professional should also, at worst via the professional, be known of by the business and this in turn leads to the business, at least theoretically, operating in a more considered, moral and ethical way which in turn may lead to the people in society being more trusting of the businesses that they may deal with either directly or indirectly.

Next: Codes of Conduct and Ethical Standards