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Responsibility

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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: 31 May 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility

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Abstract:
The global population is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, of which 70% will be living in cities. Over the past 40 years, however, 30% of the world's arable land has become unproductive. Given the scarcity of land and rising demand for food, there is an urgent need for solutions that require less land and labour yet produce higher yields. Vertical farming uses three-dimensional space to achieve more than a hundred-fold increase in crop production over traditional agriculture. However, such farms involve extremely high capital and operating costs. The case study reviews the the technologies on which vertical farms depend and the conditions under which they can become economically viable.

Pedagogical Objectives:
. To discuss the challenge of feeding the fast-growing world population. . To review the technologies involved in the vertical farming ecosystem. . To assess conditions under which such technologies become viable.

Keywords:
Farming, Sustainability, Vertical Farms, Urban Farms, Agriculture

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

published: 28 May 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Technology
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
In April 2018, after it became known that Google was collaborating with the US Department of Defense on Project Maven, over 3,000 employees signed an internal memo asking CEO Sundar Pichai to (a) cancel the project immediately, and (b) enforce a policy stating that the company would never build warfare technology. Project Maven had been launched in early 2017 as part of the DoD’s efforts to integrate AI and machine learning into its defense strategies. Drones, robots and AI were increasingly deployed in intelligence gathering and combat operations in what was considered a 21stcentury “arms race.” While Google described its role as “non-offensive,” the memo argued that involvement in Project Maven might hurt its reputation and ability to attract talent at a time when public trust in technology was waning. The (A) case puts students in the shoes of a recent hire faced with the choice of signing the memo. It also invites them to consider how they would respond, as CEO, to such a petition against one of the company’s contracts. After outlining what happened in the weeks after the internal controversy was made public, the (B) case raises the question of whether Google had “done the right thing” (its new motto) in discontinuing the project.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The Google and Project Maven case series can be used with MBA and executive audiences in modules on Responsible Leadership, Ethics, and Innovation. The purpose of the case is not necessarily to debate the merits of collaborations between private and public sector, including the military, which are widespread. It aims instead to help students reflect on their roles as citizens and leaders of companies and society—on the opportunities and obligations that come with both, especially when pursuing innovation. More and more companies attract talent with the promise of work that will give them personal meaning and allow them to make a positive difference in the world. Once they do, nothing is “just business”. This brings to the surface ethical and practical dilemmas at the social, organizational, and personal level. The case offers an opportunity to explore all three levels, touching on themes related to the relationship between business and government, the responsibilities of a global organization and its leaders, and the expression, encouragement and management of debate and dissent.

Keywords:
Responsible Leadership, Ethics, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Disruption, Google, Project Maven, Drones, Public Private Partnership, Corporate Social Responsibility, Ethical Dilemma, Sundar Pichai, Us Department of Defense, Don’t Be Evil, Larry Page

Prizes won:
- Winner 2018 EFMD Case Writing Competition, Responsible Leadership

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published: 28 May 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Automotive
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
The case is a detailed ‘inside’ account of the ‘dieselgate’ scandal at Volkswagen which revealed how engineers had programmed software that enabled its cars to cheat emissions tests. It explores the origins of internal and external forces that propelled the company to market environmentally sustainable “clean diesel” cars while using engine management software to conceal on-the-road emissions of over 40 times the permitted levels. The scandal - one of the biggest of the decade – illustrates contributing factors that are common to many instances of organizational misconduct: obedience to authority, organizational culture, goal-setting, and corporate governance.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. To understand how ethical and social responsibility issues arise in business at the level of the individual, the organization, and society. 2. To identify and analyse the individual and organizational factors that give rise to organizational misconduct. 3. To consider how such factors can be mitigated, and the implications for responsible business leadership, organizational design, and corporate governance. 4. To discuss corporate hypocrisy – how an organization with a reputation for engineering excellence could market “clean diesel” cars and programme them to cheat emissions tests. 5. To explore the industry and societal consequences of organizational misconduct by a major player in the automotive industry. 6. To consider the role of rationalisations in justifying misconduct by individuals. 7. To apply the fraud triangle framework to explore risks of organizational misconduct. 8. To discuss effective crisis-management responses.

Keywords:
Environmental Responsibility, Organizational Misconduct, Vehicle Emissions, Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, Business Ethics, Organizational Culture, Leadership, Green Marketing, Volkswagen, Automotive Industry, Pollution, Fraud Triangle, Crisis Management

Prizes won:
- Second Prize in the Corporate Sustainability track of oikos Case Writing Competition 2018

published: 28 May 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: IT, Healthcare
  • Region: Middle-East

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Abstract:
Recent MBA graduate Majed finds his dream job: high-tech, entrepreneurial, senior, social – contributing to the economy of Palestine, a cause close to his heart. But the new CEO of WebTeb, an online medical information service in Arabic, finds it more challenging than expected. Recruiting IT talent in Palestine is particularly tough. Eventually, his team finds an android developer to help them launch, but then comes a fateful phone call. Majed has infringed an unwritten policy of Palestinian tech companies – never to poach each other’s employees. The rationale behind this is to keep wages low and thus boost an industry with potential to transform the local economy. The injured party, an IT outsourcing company, asks Majed to rescind the offer. If he refuses, they threaten to put WebTeb out of business by offering better salaries to his entire web-development team. Case B shows how Majed resolves the dilemma.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. To show how MBA graduates may be exposed to real-life ethical dilemmas right after business school, even in a social entrepreneurship context. 2. To demonstrate that an apparently simple ethical challenge is not as black and white as it might at first seem. 3. To explore whether “stability and order” or “economic growth” can ever justify controlling a market (especially a job market) and wage cartels, and by extension, whether “the end justifies the means”? 4. To explore the interplay between ethical principles and cultural/social/political context. 5. To discuss doing business in Palestine and developing economies in general – particularly the idea that wealth generation through business could hold the long-term solution to apparently intractable social and political problems. 6. To demonstrate the convergence between good ethical behaviour and good management.

Keywords:
Business Ethics, Palestine, Ethical Dilemma, Labour Market Controls, Wage Cartels, Web Development, Technology Skills, Free Market, Health Website, Means and Ends, Developing Economy, Mba, Social Entrepreneurship, Human Resources Management

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published: 28 May 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: IT, Healthcare
  • Region: Middle-East

Show details ...

Abstract:
Recent MBA graduate Majed finds his dream job: high-tech, entrepreneurial, senior, social – contributing to the economy of Palestine, a cause close to his heart. But the new CEO of WebTeb, an online medical information service in Arabic, finds it more challenging than expected. Recruiting IT talent in Palestine is particularly tough. Eventually, his team finds an android developer to help them launch, but then comes a fateful phone call. Majed has infringed an unwritten policy of Palestinian tech companies – never to poach each other’s employees. The rationale behind this is to keep wages low and thus boost an industry with potential to transform the local economy. The injured party, an IT outsourcing company, asks Majed to rescind the offer. If he refuses, they threaten to put WebTeb out of business by offering better salaries to his entire web-development team. Case B shows how Majed resolves the dilemma.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. To show how MBA graduates may be exposed to real-life ethical dilemmas right after business school, even in a social entrepreneurship context. 2. To demonstrate that an apparently simple ethical challenge is not as black and white as it might at first seem. 3. To explore whether “stability and order” or “economic growth” can ever justify controlling a market (especially a job market) and wage cartels, and by extension, whether “the end justifies the means”? 4. To explore the interplay between ethical principles and cultural/social/political context. 5. To discuss doing business in Palestine and developing economies in general – particularly the idea that wealth generation through business could hold the long-term solution to apparently intractable social and political problems. 6. To demonstrate the convergence between good ethical behaviour and good management.

Keywords:
Business Ethics, Palestine, Ethical Dilemma, Labour Market Controls, Wage Cartels, Web Development, Technology Skills, Free Market, Health Website, Means and Ends, Developing Economy, Mba, Social Entrepreneurship, Human Resources Management

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