It is the year 2020, and drones are everywhere. Alibaba quadcopters have been delivering special ginger tea to customers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou for years; Amazon’s octocopters finally deliver packages in most major cities within 30 minutes without knocking down pedestrians; and college students everywhere welcome late-night nachos from Taco Bell Taco copters. Indoor drones are still in the pioneering phase—backyard enthusiasts are building tiny versions, but no large-scale commercial efforts have been put toward indoor utility drones. That’s all about to change. You work for a multinational technology corporation on a sprawling, 25-acre headquarters campus, with offices
in 2 million square feet of interior space in one large building and four additional smaller (but still large) buildings. The official Head of Interior Spaces is your boss; you’re the leader of the Consideration of New Things team. In a meeting with your team, your boss says, “I’ve just heard
from my friend at Right To Drones Too (R2D2) that his group has perfected their inside drone. It’s small and light but can carry up to 10 pounds. It includes a camera, a speaker, and a recorder.”
Your team expresses surprise; no one even knew an inside utility drone was under development, and governments worldwide are still haggling over regulations for drones. Your boss goes on enthusiastically, “I’ve seen the little drones, and I think you’ll be impressed—not only can they scoot across the quad, but they can fetch things off tables, grab me a latté, attend meetings for me, check over your shoulders to see what you’re working on … anything! They’re really accurate, agile, and super quiet, so you’ll barely even know they’re around. My friend wants us to have the first 100 drones here for free, and he’s willing to send them over tomorrow! I figure we can hand them out randomly, although of course we’ll each have one.” Your boss sits back, smiling and expecting applause. You glance at your team members and are relieved to see doubt and hesitation on their faces. “Sounds, uh, great,” you reply. “But how about the team takes the afternoon to set the ground rules?”
1-11. How might the R2D2 drones influence employee behavior? Do you think they will cause people to
act more or less ethically? Why?
1-12. Who should get the drones initially? How can you justify your decision ethically? What restrictions for use should these people be given, and how do you think employees, both those who get drones and those who don’t, will react to this change?
1-13. How will your organization deal with sabotage or misuse of the drones? The value of an R2D2 drone is $2,500.
1-14. Many organizations already use electronic monitoring of employees, including sifting through
website usage and e-mail correspondence, often without the employees’ direct knowledge. In what
ways might drone monitoring be better or worse for employees than covert electronic monitoring of
Web or e-mail activity?