This case set is part of the Giving Voice to Values (GVV) curriculum. To see other material in the GVV curriculum, please visit http://store.darden.virginia.edu/giving-voice-to-values. Isabel is a young, recently graduated finance professional who works for ABC Group, a small investment bank. Due in part to high staff turnover, she has recently been promoted to senior financial analyst, and her first important independent project is a business valuation for a five-star hotel out of town; ABC Group would intermediate the hotel’s sale. At a business trip where she gets to know the hotel and gathers all the data necessary to do the valuation, she also discovers that the hotel sale might be connected to money-laundering activities. Back in her office, right after finishing the valuation, she receives a call from her boss asking her to manipulate the figures to obtain a much higher offer price. This request goes against Isabel’s personal and professional values of honesty, truthfulness, and fairness, and it seems to confirm her suspicions of money laundering. The A case asks students to step into Isabel’s shoes and figure out a feasible action plan that is consistent with her values. This B case presents students with Isabel’s actual response and her more recent reflections on how she could have solved the value conflict differently. This case set is targeted at undergraduate students taking finance, leadership, or ethics courses.
This case set should help students do the following: (1) recognize individual- and organizational-level factors that might enable or hinder ethical action in a business-related value conflict; (2) identify the stakes, interests, and potential rationalizations of the various actors involved in or affected by a business-related value conflict; (3) prepare strong counterarguments against common rationalizations; (4) practice developing action plans aimed at improving the chances of effectively solving a business-related value conflict; and (5) practice giving feedback to other people regarding their own ethical action plans.