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Case Studies by J. Neil Bearden

10 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 30 Jul 2018

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations

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Abstract:
A participant in an executive education leadership course decides the material is irrelevant and repeatedly disrupts the classes during the week-long programme. Other participants become somewhat resigned, cease to engage and effectively “check out”. While they criticize him behind his back, they do nothing to make a positive change in the classroom. The case illustrates a common situation in which people fail to show leadership and thus allow themselves and others to be harmed. It also raises questions about the ethical obligations of a critic.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case illustrates a common type of situation in which people fail to show leadership and thus let themselves and others be harmed. It also raises questions about the ethical obligations of a critic. The main objective is to make plain that leadership failures occur in everyday social situations.

Keywords:
Leadership, Ethics, Group Dynamics

published: 25 Jun 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
A manager finds out that a new member of his team has a mental disability: she cannot function well under tight deadlines. HR knew of the disability, but did not inform the manager. Should HR disclose critical performance-related background information when it relates to a disability? How should one manage teams in which some members have disabilities that affect others?

Pedagogical Objectives:
Illustrate ethical challenges that arise in the modern workplace, notably those related to mental disabilities.

Keywords:
Ethics, Disability, Hr, Human Resources, Mental Health

published: 25 Jun 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
A manager rejects a consultant’s request for a location transfer because he voted for Donald Trump. She does not want to bring a Trump supporter into her office. Is this discrimination ethical?

Pedagogical Objectives:
Provide the basis for a discussion of discriminiation. Are there legitimate reasons for discrimination? Is it ethical to discriminate based on voting behavior?

Keywords:
Ethics, Discrimination, Politics, Donald Trump

published: 25 Jun 2018

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations

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Abstract:
This exercise can be used to illustrate challenges in implementing evidence-based hiring practices. Should screening procedures that are self-evidently valid be subjected to empirical scrutiny? What obstacles exist to challenging longstanding procedures? What is the cost of experimenting? What is the (opportunity) cost of not experimenting?

Pedagogical Objectives:
Illustrate the challenges of testing ideas that seem self-evident.

Keywords:
Evidence-Based, Experimentation, Consulting

published: 25 Jun 2018

  • Topic: Economics & Finance
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
This exercise demonstrates one difficulty in distinguishing between luck and skill. Participants individually roll dice to simulate the performance of fund managers. Some fund managers have a greater chance of success than others, but the lower performers are more plentiful. The chance element in observed performance makes it challenging to determine a given manager’s type (a genius or a dart-throwing monkey).

Pedagogical Objectives:
Illustrate in a hands-on way the challenge of distinguishing between skill and luck. Encourage greater skepticism when evaluating the basis for performance.

Keywords:
Chance, Luck, Bias, Skill, Probability

published: 25 Jun 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Venture
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
A start-up founder raises money from unsophisticated angel investors, and offers them the right to invest in future funding rounds (pro rata rights). Later, under pressure from a venture capitalist to minimize dilution, the founder deliberately does not remind the original angels of their opportunity to invest in the new funding round. She is not breaking any laws. However, she may have violated the angels’ trust.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Illustrate an ethical dilemma in start-up financing. What non-contractual obligations do founders have to their investors?

Keywords:
Start-Up, Angel Investing, Founder, Ethics, Venture Capital

published: 25 Jun 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
A single mother working in investment banking puts in fewer hours than her colleagues. When she is up for promotion, her boss says she is putting in the hours. He believes she will be fired unless he lies.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Illustrate a management dilemma: Is dishonesty warranted in the workplace? Is it ever “ethical” to be “unethical”? Would a good leader lie on behalf of an employee?

Keywords:
Lie, Work-Life Balance, Dishonest, Investment Banking, Ethics, Deontology, Single Mother

published: 25 Jun 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Africa

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Abstract:
An employee of an American company with a zero-tolerance bribery policy bribes a border official in Nigeria. He does so because he fears for his own safety. Later, he tells his boss about the incident, and the boss instructs him to report the incident to the company. The employee fears that if he does so, his job will be terminated.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Illustrate an ethical dilemma that can arise in management. Is it unethical not to report ethical violations? Is reporting any ethical violation good leadership?

Keywords:
Ethics, Leadership, Bribery, Management, Africa

published: 28 May 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
A male employee is accused of making and inappropriate remark to a female colleague. She withdraws her complaint when she learns it was based on a misunderstanding. The company nonetheless takes action against the male employee.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Illustrate the impact of misundertandings in the workplace. Provide a basis for discussing the ethics of accusation.

Keywords:
Ethics, Discrimination, Sexual Discrimination, Gender, Misconduct

published: 28 May 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
A gay employee wants to go on an assignment in a country where his sexuality, it is believed, could be risky for himself and his firm. The employee wants to go. The firm does not send him.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Illustrate ethical challenges involved in reconciling conflicting values.

Keywords:
Ethics, Discrimination, Gay, Misconduct

by Publication Date


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