First-year students learn how to manage ethical dilemmas through live case competition | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

First-year students learn how to manage ethical dilemmas through live case competition

Posted on Thursday, December 8th, 2016

First-year students pose with the Great Ethical Dilemma Case Competition sign

More than 850 first-year Bachelor of Commerce students recently got an introduction into managing ethical dilemmas as part of a live case competition in their Introduction to Business class. Students were divided into 176 teams, each of which had 38 hours to prepare a presentation on how their assigned company should respond to a crisis.

The competition started after students received an urgent email from their public relations department at their assigned company, informing them of an ethical dilemma that needed immediate resolution. Each team’s proposal was presented in front of an executive board of directors comprised of an industry professional, one faculty member, and a fourth-year student ambassador. Top presentations were recognized with nine Best in Class honours.

Industry attendees included senior representatives from the hotel industry, Ford (General Manager, Eastern Canada), Maple Leaf Foods (Vice-President of Sustainability & Shared Values), Thomson Reuters (Head of Human Resources for North America), Club Coffee (President), Tesla (Manager), Gordon’s Food Service (President), Magna (Director of Support Manufacturing and Quality for the Americas) and Linamar (General Manager). After each presentation, teams were required to think quickly on their feet to provide thoughtful and relevant responses to questions proposed by the board.

Introduction to Business professor, Kathleen Rodenburg, explained that students have been preparing all semester through a virtual organization structured classroom, which allowed them to enhance their teamwork and collaboration skills while taking on the roles of managers within pre-determined organizations.

“The teams used the information that they gathered throughout the term pertaining to the organization as well as applying the tools and checkpoints for ethical decision making taught in class,” said Rodenburg. “It is very interesting to see how these student teams view the company through the available public information lens.”

Throughout the semester the teams conducted an exhaustive company analysis which included: a macro environmental scan of the political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal forces that potentially influenced or impacted the organization; an industry, market and competitive analysis as well as an internal assessment which included a strategic and financial overview.

“I really enjoyed participating in the case competition because analyzing a company for an entire semester and then presenting in front of company executives was a great new experience,” said student Spence Goodwin. “Specifically, I think knowing how to properly recognize and handle ethical issues in real situations is a great skill to have.”

At the end of the competition, the winning teams had the opportunity to network with the company representatives at the closing reception held in Pj’s Restaurant in the Atrium.

Congratulations to all of our winners.

Visit our Facebook page for photos of the event.

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