In 2018, Amazon was criticized for selling its facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies. The debates which arose contributed to the discussion of changes in the relationships between technology companies and government entities (Condliffe, 2018). Amazon was asked to terminate the deal by more than two dozen civil rights organizations and some shareholders (Condliffe, 2018). It raised the question of the company’s responsibility for their strategic decisions before their employees, shareholders, and the general public.
When making a decision to market its technologies to law enforcement agencies, Amazon was more concerned with the strategic success of this initiative rather than its deeper implications and consequences. Strategic decisions are usually analyzed using a number of indicators. The main characteristics of a successful project are a good project plan, clear objectives, customer involvement, sufficient funds, and effective management (Khadem R. & Khadem L., 2017). Commitment and alignment are considered to be critical success factors for any strategic initiative (Gittens, 2012). The applied metrics and analyzed characteristics do not include evaluating the potentially harmful outcomes of the project and negative public reaction to it.
From an employer’s perspective, the decision to sell facial recognition technologies to the police had to be carefully analyzed, and the benefits and negative consequences of the project had to be determined. Now, the company needs to reevaluate the initiative and determine how it advances the company’s vision and strategic goals, taking into consideration the reaction that it provoked (Eppel, 2021). From an employee perspective, it is the right of each individual worker to decide whether it is ethically acceptable for them to work for the company which makes such potentially harmful decisions.
Condliffe, J. (2018). Amazon urged not to sell facial recognition technology to police. The New York Times. Web.
Eppel, R. (2021). Strategic initiatives are vital to strategic execution. Web.
Githens, G. (2012). Strategic initiatives | What are the metrics that matter? Web.
Khadem, R., & Khadem, L. (2017). How to effectively measure strategic initiatives. Web.