Henley Business School has achieved International recognition in research based case study learning

26 January 2016

Henley Business School has achieved International recognition in research based case study learning

Henley Business School has just achieved an international recognition in research based case study learning. The case reference is:  Akrivou, Kleio & Hunter, Ian (2011), BP and the Gulf Oil Disaster Making Tough Choices; European Case Clearing House - ECCH (section: Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility), 711-005-8.

Henley Business School has achieved an international recognition in research based case study learning. The case reference is:  Akrivou, Kleio & Hunter, Ian (2011), BP and the Gulf Oil Disaster Making Tough Choices; European Case Clearing House - ECCH (section: Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility), 711-005-8. The European Case Clearing House has informed the first author, Dr. Akrivou (Associate Professor of Business Ethics and Organisational Behaviour at HBS), that this research based case has been in the top ten of the most popular cases internationally.  This important channel of dissemination is important to demonstrate the impact of our research to various stakeholders as cases published at ECCH are being used and cited by many different business school teachers, students and practitioners.

The BP case narrative embarks from real historic events relevant to the BP and the Gulf Oil Disaster timeline in the Gulf of Mexico. In a fictitious scenario an ethical controversy is being experienced by students.  It explores social-situational pressures especially salient in ethically weak organisational cultures that expect employees to act as spokespersons to narrowly stand for firm interests to minimize the risk of lawsuits. Once employees clearly think/feel that employer requests breach seriously personal and professional integrity there is clearly a moral dilemma. Carlos, the fictitious character in the case study, is a promising expert in the area of Environmental sustainability and responsibility; beyond his role inside the firm he maintains a few external social and civic roles and is well known and trusted in the US society for his genuine adherence to his values, professionalism and his integrity.  However, given the pressures the employer faces due to the recent oil spill, it is decided that higher up executives make a controversial moral demand from Carlos assuming he has no choice but to fully act based on his employee contract duties.   

In this Akrivou and Hunter case the ethical dilemma(s) regards the relations between large institutions/firms and a key stakeholder group being their own managers and employees.  This case examines research related questions linked to Dr Akrivou’s research on integrity and descriptive ethics/virtue such as:  How can individuals act ethically facing moral dilemmas involving loyalty to larger organisations, a concern for their co-workers and employers and their integrity?  How to resolve integrity challenges that involve a conflict of moral obligations and narrower professional roles as an employee versus broader personal social and civic roles?  How can a personal propensity for virtue and moral maturity help face such complex moral demands?  Should we assume that any institution has a legitimate claim of ownership over the employees (the human beings) it employs and what are ethical theory objections to the idea of ownership of human and other living beings?  Is it not the interest of the broader society to empower and trust persons’ acting on the basis of personal integrity and their broader professional and human values?

In terms of its research focus this scenario enables the experiential exploration of descriptive ethics whereby ethical controversies involving personal integrity and professional ethics, versus narrow business and economic valuing and related expectations of compliance, ownership and loyalty are present. The teaching is based on experiential learning and ethical debate and contemplation.