Case Study Marries Simulation: A Perfect Match For Teaching Business Ethics
Capsim Management Simulations has introduced the first interactive business simulation with ‘plug-in’ case studies to provide students with ethical decision-making experience in a competitive business context.
Unlike case studies, which examine situations after the fact, Capsim’s Ethics Plug-in lets students experience decision-making as it is done in the real world, without the benefit of hindsight. According to Capsim’s CEO Craig Watters, “daily business decisions are never made in hindsight, they are made in the moment, right now. It’s reasonable to assume that if Kenneth Lay or Andrew Fastow had the benefit of hindsight, they would not have allowed half the illegal and unethical decisions made at Enron a decade ago.”
Case studies, however, remain a primary tool in business education. According to Capsim’s Managing Director Gerhard Plaschka, “when I teach a course on strategy at DePaul University, I’ll use war stories or some kind of case study. History tends to repeat itself, and Capsim was well aware of both this fact and the notion that many other educators still rely on the case method. With the new Ethics Plug-in, cases become part of the business simulation experience as real-time scenarios for students.”
In a simulation-plus-case study program, students experience joining the senior executive team of a company that has undergone a complete restructuring. The shakeup was intense, and now in addition to repairing the company’s sales, production and financial operations there’s another issue. In one example, a voice within is recommending a marketing strategy that is ethically problematic: a controversial phenomenon known as “greenwashing.” There are several courses of action to choose from and each has short and long term financial effects on the company.
The Ethics Plug-in comes equipped with six original vignettes or mini-cases, that literally “plug-in” to the business simulations Capstone (for teaching advanced business concepts) or Foundation (basics of business). These vignettes are based on real-world examples from the recent past. In a given vignette, students will be presented with a series of emails, faxes or memos detailing a problem that is brewing in their organization. What seems like a good idea at the time could eventually have disastrous effects.
The Plug-in was designed for professors who want to combine the simulation with cases in their course. It was also designed to help professors and administrators meet requirements for additional ethics content within existing course-work time frames.