The Spread of Digital Intimate Partner Violence: Ethical Challenges for Business, Workplaces, Employers and Management

Journal of Business Ethics 187 (4):695-711 (2023)
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In recent decades, huge technological changes have opened up possibilities and potentials for new socio-technological forms of violence, violation and abuse, themselves intersectionally gendered, that form part of and extend offline intimate partner violence (IPV). Digital IPV (DIPV)—the use of digital technologies in and for IPV—takes many forms, including: cyberstalking, internet-based abuse, non-consensual intimate imagery, and reputation abuse. IPV is thus now in part digital, and digital and non-digital violence may merge and reinforce each other. At the same time, technological and other developments have wrought significant changes in the nature of work, such as the blurring of work/life boundaries and routine use of digital technologies. Building on feminist theory and research on violence, and previous research on the ethics of digitalisation, this paper examines the ethical challenges raised for business, workplaces, employers and management by digital IPV. This includes the ethical challenges arising from the complexity and variability of DIPV across work contexts, its harmful impacts on employees, productivity, and security, and the prospects for proactive ethical responses in workplace policy and practice for victim/survivors, perpetrators, colleagues, managers, and stakeholders. The paper concludes with contributions made and key issues for the future research agenda.



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