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Prize Winning Ethics Cases

All case abstracts were borrowed from Case Centre at www.thecasecentre.org

1) MANFOLD TOY COMPANY: CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AND ETHICS FOR DIRECTORS AND PROFESSIONALS

Authors:

Goo, S.; van den Berg, J.

Published by:

Asia Case Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong (2008)

Length:

20 pages

Abstract:

This case was written for the ‘Ethics – The Core Value of Leadership’ forum (2007) organised by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission against Corruption. Attended by over 200 directors of listed companies, the forum aimed to educate directors of listed companies on issues of ethics and corporate governance. Set on the eve of a friendly takeover, the Manfold case introduces a wide variety of ethical and corporate governance issues faced by the (independent) directors, accountant, company secretary and management of the company.

Prizes won: 2010 – ecch best selling case

2) BP’S CONTINUING SAFETY PROBLEMS: THE GULF OF MEXICO CRISIS

Authors:

Purkayastha, D.; Syeda Qumer, M.

Published by: IBS Center for Management Research (2010)

Length: 20 pages

Abstract: This case is about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the continuing safety problems at BP, one of the largest oil and gas producers in the world. The British oil giant with a history of repeated safety violations was held responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill was caused by an explosion aboard an offshore drilling rig leased by BP. Eleven workers were feared dead and fifteen injured in the explosion. After the explosion, the rig sank 5,000 feet to the ocean floor and since then at least 210,000 gallons of oil a day have been leaking into the Gulf. The case describes in detail the consequences of the oil spill, considered to be the worst ever environmental catastrophe in US history caused by an industrial disaster. According to experts, the oil spill would adversely impact the environment as well as human and marine life in the Gulf region. The case highlights the ethical issues involved in the disaster and examines BP’s response to it. Though the company accepted responsibility for the explosion and was making efforts to manage the oil spill, it remained largely unsuccessful in plugging the leak. As efforts to contain the spill continued, critics alleged that BP had put profits before safety and developed an ‘unhealthy corporate culture’ where cost-cutting was given more priority than the safety of the workers. The case will help the students: (1) study the factors that led to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill; (2) analyze the responsibilities of BP in the event of the spill; (3) understand the importance of the safety culture and process safety management; (4) understand the effects of the oil spill on the company in particular and the oil industry in general; and (5) examine the approach adopted by BP in managing the spill. This case is meant for MBA/MS students as part of the business ethics curriculum. It can also be used in the operations management curriculum.

Prizes won: 2011 – ecch best selling case

3) SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AT PEPSICO

Authors:

Purkayastha, D.; Rao, A.

Published by:

IBS Center for Management Research (2012)

Length: 18 pages

Abstract: This prize-winning case study is about the sustainable development initiatives of one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, PepsiCo. Faced with various criticisms on the social and environmental fronts, PepsiCo adopted the ‘Performance with Purpose’ strategy in 2009 under the leadership of its CEO Indra Nooyi. This strategy was based upon the philosophy that the company’s financial performance should go hand in hand with its responsibilities toward society and the environment. The new sustainable development program contained 47 commitments that PepsiCo made toward society and these were divided into four broad areas: Performance, Human Sustainability, Environmental Sustainability, and Talent Sustainability. Despite some progress made by the company in these fronts, since mid-2011, Nooyi had come under fire from key stakeholders such as shareholders and bottlers who contended that her focus on ‘Performance with Purpose’ had come at the cost of positioning of the company’s products and had hurt sales. They felt that its archrival, the Coca Cola Company had gained the upper hand during Nooyi’s tenure. This case is meant for MBA/MS-level students as part of the Business Ethics/Corporate Social Responsibility curriculum. It can also be used in a core strategy curriculum. This case is designed to enable students to: 1) Understand the main issues and challenges related to corporate social responsibility for a global company; 2) Study the sustainable development strategy adopted by PepsiCo; 3) Understand the various challenges faced by organizations regarding the impact of their operations on the society and environment; 4) Appreciate the importance of a company’s top management in guiding the company to implement key strategies like sustainable development; 5) Understand the reasons for the criticism of Nooyi and her ‘Performance with Purpose’ strategy; 6) Explore the strategies which can be adopted by PepsiCo to improve its sustainability record.

Prizes won: 2012 – oikos Case Writing Competition – runner up

4) HUNGHOM PENINSULA IN HONG KONG: A REALISTIC CALL FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES (A)

Authors:

Tsai, T.; Shubo, L.

Published by:

China Europe International Business School (2010)

Length:

18 pages

Abstract: This is the first of a three-case series (710-046-1 to 710-048-1). Case (A) describes the backgrounds of Hunghom Peninsular Project and its developers, describes Hong Kong’s business environment and introduces the three options faced by decision makers. Case (B) reveals NWD and SHKP’s choice of the options and the opposition voices against their initial choice. In Case (C) developers give in to pressures from protestors and change their initial decision, in favor of a more environmental option. Case (C) brings the story to a close.

Prizes won: 2010 – oikos Case Writing Competition – runner up

5) HUNGHOM PENINSULA IN HONG KONG: A REALISTIC CALL FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES (B)

Authors:

Tsai, T.; Shubo, L.

Published by:

China Europe International Business School (2010)

Length:

15 pages

Abstract:

This is the second of a three-case series (710-046-1 to 710-048-1). Case (A) describes the backgrounds of Hunghom Peninsular Project and its developers, describes Hong Kong’s business environment and introduces the three options faced by decision makers. Case (B) reveals NWD and SHKP’s choice of the options and the opposition voices against their initial choice. In Case (C) developers give in to pressures from protestors and change their initial decision, in favor of a more environmental option. Case (C) brings the story to a close.

Prizes won:

2010 – oikos Case Writing Competition – runner up

6) HUNGHOM PENINSULA HONG KONG: A REALISTIC CALL FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES (C)

Authors:

Tsai, T.; Shubo, L.

Published by:

China Europe International Business School (2010)

Length:

12 pages

Abstract:

This is the third of a three-case series (710-046-1 to 710-048-1). Case (A) describes the backgrounds of Hunghom Peninsular Project and its developers, describes Hong Kong’s business environment and introduces the three options faced by decision makers. Case (B) reveals NWD and SHKP’s choice of the options and the opposition voices against their initial choice. In Case (C) developers give in to pressures from protestors and change their initial decision, in favor of a more environmental option. Case (C) brings the story to a close.

Prizes won:

2010 – oikos Case Writing Competition – runner up

7) CORRUPTION AT SIEMENS (A)

Authors:

Hamilton, S.; Eckardt, A.

Published by:

IMD (2008)

Version:

08.04.2011

Length:

18 pages

Abstract:

This is part of a case series. In November 2006, 200 German policemen and prosecutors raided 30 offices and homes of Siemens managers to investigate allegations of embezzlement at Siemens’ fixed-line phone unit. In the wake of internal investigations started at the end of 2006, Siemens finally admitted to having identified dubious payments amounting to 1.3 billion euros from the years 1999 to 2006. As a result, Siemens replaced all but one of its managing board members. At the end of July 2008, a former sales manager at Siemens’ telecoms division, was convicted for his role in setting up the slush funds used to win contracts. The same day, the supervisory board approved the recommendations a well-known law firm to sue almost all executive committee members in charge between 2003 and 2006.

Prizes won:

2010 – EFMD Case Writing Competition – category winner

8) VOLTIUM, INC

Authors:

Stein, G.; Pin, J.; Vazquez-Dodero, J.; del Potro, E.

Published by:

IESE Business School (2011)

Version:

September 2011

Length:

12 pages

Abstract:

The manager at Voltium, a European company that was installing electricity in various parts of an African country, pondered whether it was justifiable to yield to the extortion of a local public official of the Dambo region, just as the company was about finalize the project for the electrification of the area. This case was recognized by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) as the best publication in the 2012 Case Writing Competition in the category of ‘Responsible Leadership.’

Prizes won:

2012 – EFMD Case Writing Competition – category winner

9) MARKS & SPENCER: THE BUSINESS CASE FOR PLAN A

Authors:

Spitzeck, H.

Published by:

Cranfield School of Management (2009)

Length:

12 pages

Abstract:

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is one of the UK’s leading retailers, with over 21 million people visiting M&S stores around the country every week. On the 15th of January 2007 The Independent published an article titled ‘M&S to go carbon neutral in £200 million green initiative’ announcing the now famous M&S Plan A. This initiative is an ambitious environmental strategy incorporating 100 commitments in five key areas: (1) climate change; (2) waste management; (3) sustainable raw materials; (4) fairness; and (5) health. Plan A includes aims for M&S to become carbon neutral, send no waste to landfill, be a fair trading partner and help customers to live healthier lifestyles. The Plan A strategy announced in January 2007, envisaged that all these 100 targets would be realised by 2012, and would require an investment of £200 million. This strategy goes to the core of M&S’s identity. As the economic downturn impacts on retail business, Richard Gillies, head of Plan A, is asked to create a business case for the different initiatives forming Plan A to move forward. Students are asked to analyse Plan A initiatives on their business value and to present their findings.

Prizes won:

  • 2012 – ecch best selling case
  • 2011 – ecch best selling case
  • 2010 – ecch best selling case
  • 2012 – ecch Case Awards – category winner

10) BLUE MONDAY

Authors:

de Bettignies, H.; Butler, C.

Published by:

China Europe International Business School and INSEAD (2009)

Length:

5 pages

Abstract:

Alex, an expatriate sales director for the new Chinese subsidiary of a multinational pharmaceutical company is concerned about the poor sales figures. Frustrated with his sales team he tries to understand why. One of the sales reps, Anita, speaks openly about the cause of the company’s failing market share and explains that local competitors pay doctors financial kickbacks and that there is no way around to do business in that industry in China. Alex knows that this is against the code of conduct and he has to take a position to motivate his team.

Prizes won:

  • 2011 – ecch best selling case
  • 2010 – ecch best selling case
  • 2013 – ecch Case Awards – category winner

11) PAVING THE ROAD TO HEALTHY HIGHWAYS: A PARTNERSHIP TO SCALE UP HIV & AIDS CLINICS IN AFRICA

Authors:

Van Wassenhove, L.; Gatignon, A.

Published by:

INSEAD (2008)

Version:

05.2010

Length:

21 pages

Abstract:

The North Star Foundation brings together partners with a shared strategic interest in combating HIV / AIDS in truck drivers. It has identified a successful model for roadside health clinics which, to be effective, needs to be applied on a country-wide scale, due to the mobile nature of trucking. This case examines challenges and best practices in scaling up innovative ideas. The case study highlight the main issues to be considered when scaling up a pilot project in the humanitarian sector. A particular emphasis will be given to logistics management, disease modelling, public-private partnerships, organisational growth, diffusion of innovation and the ethical issues posed by the model.

Prizes won:

2009 – EFMD Case Writing Competition – special category winner

12) HAYLEYS PLC (A): FOCUSING ON CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY

Authors:

Hunter, M.; Van Wassenhove, L.

Published by:

INSEAD (2009)

Version:

05.2010

Length:

13 pages

Abstract:

This is the first of a five-case series. In 2004, Hayleys PLC, a leading Sri Lanka multinational with operations in diverse sectors, decided to unite all its separate environmental and social initiatives into a single corporate responsibility effort. The programme built on strong corporate values and in certain sectors was immediately successful, enabling the firm to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders (unions and customers). Nonetheless, the question of the long-term economic viability of the effort remained. How can one use company values to federate disparate initiatives into a single, strong corporate responsibility programme at the heart of corporate strategy? How can managers determine the economic viability of a successful CSR programme? What are the reputational implications of success or failure, and their effects on corporate strategy?

Prizes won:

2009 – EFMD Case Writing Competition – category winner

13) SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES AT BHP BILLITON

Authors:

Chakraborty, B.; Govind, S.

Published by:

IBS Center for Management Research (2008)

Length:

31 pages

Abstract:

BHP Billiton Limited and Plc was the world’s largest diversified natural resources company. The case discusses the sustainable development policy of the company. It also discusses the health, safety, environment and community (HSEC) management standards and guide to business conduct that the company developed to implement its sustainable development policy. The case details some of the initiatives taken by BHP Billiton to address issues concerning HSEC at its operations. The case also mentions some of the criticisms against the company regarding HSEC issues. The teaching objectives of this case are: (1) to understand the concept of the HSEC management standards; and (2) to learn about HSEC management initiatives in practice, by analysing BHP Billiton’s initiatives in this area. This case is meant for MBA / PGDBM students and is designed to be part of the business ethics / corporate social responsibility curriculum. The teaching note includes: (1) the abstract; (2) teaching objectives and methodology; (3) assignment questions; and (4) feedback of case discussion. It does not contain an analysis of the case.

Prizes won:

2010 – ecch best selling case

14) NOIR / ILLUMINATI II (A): DEFINING SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE AFFORDABLE LUXURY CLOTHING

Authors:

Leleux, B.; Scheel Agersnap, B.

Published by:

IMD (2008)

Version:

01.09.2009

Length:

17 pages

Abstract:

This is the first of a two-case series (IMD-3-1909 and IMD-3-1910). Peter looked out of his window. His window. He liked the sound of that. It had taken him 15 years of discipline and hard work to reach this point. And 2007 was going to be the year of Noir / Illuminati II. So far, after nine months, it looked very promising. Peter Ingwersen founded the companies in February 2005. The two entities were like Siamese twins; Noir designed and produced luxury clothing for women, while Illuminati II was set up to produce high quality cotton fabrics both for Noir and other leading fashion brands. Together, they provided the basis for a totally new concept in fashion. Over the years, Peter had attended many fashion shows all over world and had become both aware and very concerned by the total lack of ‘social substance’ of many of the major fashion companies. Was fashion just the ultimate personalisation of some of the worst aspects of human behaviour? Was it all about egocentrism and showing off? Could something be done to bring back meaning and substance to the world of fashion? Corporate social responsibility (CSR) was making its way into most other industries: why could it not infiltrate fashion? Was there any way to improve the ‘feel good’ factor of beautiful clothes with a clear social responsibility message? Could egocentrism rhyme with eco-friendliness? Conceptually it was very clear: Noir / Illuminati II would define socially responsible affordable luxury clothing. Putting the concept into operation was the real challenge. Building a brand on social awareness, or the guilt of conspicuous consumption, could clearly be a two-edged sword. Would customers buy the story? Even more pressing, would investors follow him in this venture? Learning objectives: developing a brand; building CSR into an offering; fair-trade concepts; certified organic productions; managing growth in the fashion business; corporate communication; financing fast growth; product positioning.

Prizes won:

2010 – oikos Case Writing Competition – runner up

15) NOIR / ILLUMINATI II (B): GREENWASH AND ANOREXIC MODELS

Authors:

Leleux, B.; Scheel Agersnap, B.

Published by:

IMD (2008)

Version:

01.09.2009

Length:

11 pages

Abstract:

This is the second of a two-case series (IMD-3-1909 and IMD-3-1910). Peter could not believe his eyes. He was just sifting through comments posted on the Inhabitat website following the London and New York Fashion Weeks. While the articles themselves were very supportive of his strategy and Rikke Wienmann’s collections, the postings on the website’s readers’ comments were direct attacks on his sustainability rationale, basically labelling it ‘greenwash,’ and very critical of his choice of models, too skinny by today’s standards and concerns for anorexia. With the violent heartburn receding, he tried to understand what the implications of such rash customer perceptions could be for the brand and its positioning. Maybe this was just an isolated incident from disgruntled British and American customers, overexposed to the issues and hence over-sensitive to them. But maybe it also reflected a turning point in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement. Were people really starting to feel that way? Were they starting to question these CSR labels and how much they really did for people in Africa? Was this the beginning of the dreaded backlash against the new green political correctness? Was CSR now also spreading to issues such as people’s weights? The responses from the fashion editor and other readers were encouraging, but it was time maybe to prepare for similar questioning of the underlying philosophy of the company. It was time for sure to shed more light on Illuminati II’s contributions to Ugandan’s farmers? Learning objectives: developing a brand; building CSR into an offering; fair-trade concepts; certified organic productions; managing growth in the fashion business; corporate communication; financing fast growth; product positioning; managing a communication crisis.

Prizes won:

2010 – oikos Case Writing Competition – runner up

16) VERAGUA RAINFOREST: BIO INNOVATION AND RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP

Authors:

Barahona, J. (INCAE Business School); Elizondo Solano, A. (INCAE Business School)

Published in:

2011

Length:

15 pages

Abstract:

Veragua Rainforest & Adventure Park was the first project, in Costa Rica, developed by Costa Ricans that combined eco-tourism, adventure and scientific research. The concept comes from the idea to use 1300 hectares of tropical rainforest that had been used for logging and converting them into an eco-tourism project targeting tourists from cruise ships. The son of one of the owners of the logging company, had the vision to transform the company’s business from natural resource extraction to conservation. He, together with two childhood friends, began to build a business plan that goes from an initial estimate of US$250 thousand dollars, to a final investment of US $5.75 million dollars. At that time, all three partners were under the age of 35. The project’s complexity made the partners create a network of strategic allies, both at the national and international levels. These alliances helped them professionalize their relationships with investors and venture capitalists, as well as incorporate biodiversity research as their differentiating characteristic with INBio as a scientific partner.

Prizes won:

2010 – EFMD Case Writing Competition – category winner

17) ESSILOR’S ‘BASE OF THE PYRAMID’ STRATEGY IN INDIA

Authors:

Garrette, B. (HEC Paris); Benkirane, K. (HEC Paris); Roger-Machart, C. (HEC Paris)

Published in:

2008

Length:

17 pages

Abstract:

The case focuses on BOP (base of the pyramid) strategies. Such strategies are supposed to alleviate poverty profitably by selling cheap products to the poorest. The case presents a BOP project that Essilor, the world leader in ophthalmic lenses with 3 billion euros sales, has been implementing in India. Essilor mobile optical shops visit poor villages in rural India, in order to prescribe and sell corrective spectacles at very low prices (around 175 rupees or 3 euros) to people suffering from visual disorders. Essilor does not view this project as a charity but as a potentially profitable business. Prices, as low as they are, must cover both production and distribution costs. In the longer term, Essilor also aims at capturing a strong position in a potentially huge market which, up to now, has been deemed insolvent. The objective of the case discussion is to make students formulate recommendations to Essilor on whether and how to grow its Indian BOP initiative into a fully-fledged business. All relevant facts and figures are provided in the case, which also includes a company video and an Excel financial model which can be downloaded FOC.

Prizes won:

2009 – EFMD Case Writing Competition – special category winner

18) DEFINING THE PURPOSE FOR BORUSSIA DORTMUND GMBH & CO KGAA

Authors:

Mueller, U.; Linnhoff, U.; Pellens, B.

Published by:

ESMT European School of Management and Technology (2013)

Version:

19 February 2013

Length:

14 pages

Abstract:

In its 100th year of existence in 2009, Borussia Dortmund (BVB) was the only German soccer club listed on the stock exchange. With three days to go before the annual shareholders’ meeting on November 24 of that year, the club’s managing directors, Thomas Treb and Hans-Joachim Watzke, went through the year-end figures one more time. Although the situation had improved since 2005 when the club was on the brink of insolvency, the closing accounts once again showed a negative net income. After nine years as a publicly traded company, the BVB had to report its fifth loss, this time for 5.9 million euros, which added up to a cumulative loss of more than 145 million euros. After the passing of a century, many stakeholders were concerned about the way forward. What was the organization’s purpose? What was more important, finally making a profit and meeting shareholders’ expectations, or playing for the fans and the club’s honor? What could the managing directors offer to their shareholders, who had seen the value of their shares drop from 11 euros at the IPO to less than 1 euro in November 2009?

Prizes won:

2013 – ecch Case Awards – case writing competition hot topic category winner