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Case Studies in Organizational Communication

Case Studies in Organizational Communication
Ethical Perspectives and Practices

Second Edition
Edited by:
  • Steve May - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

January 2012 | 384 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
This updated edition integrates ethical theory and practice to help strengthen readers' awareness, judgment, and action in organizations by exploring ethical dilemmas in a diverse range of well-known business cases. This volume explores a range of complex issues in today's organizations, addresses ethical concerns, and investigates the fundamentals that enable organizations to be simultaneously productive and ethical. Compiled with a variety of important examples of organizational communication ethics of today, case studies include the discussion of ethical dilemmas faced by Walmart, Toyota, Enron, Mitsubishi, BP, Arthur Andersen, Google, college athletics, and the pharmaceutical industry, among others. Through these case studies, students are able to directly assess ethical and unethical decision making in a rich, diverse, and complex manner that moves beyond simple explanations of ethics. This book is an invaluable resource for students and those interested in organizational communication ethics.

List of Tables and Figures
Steve May
Introduction: Ethical Perspectives and Practices
Part I: Alignment
Katherine Russell, Megan Dortch, Rachel Gordon, and Charles Conrad
Case Study 1. Ethical Dilemmas in the Financial Industry
Caryn E. Medved and David R. Novak
Case Study 2. The Ethics of the "Family Friendly" Organization: The Challenge of Policy Inclusiveness
Edward C. Brewer
Case Study 3. Managing the Ethical Implications of the Big Box: The Walmart Effect
Michelle Amazeen
Case Study 4. Just Window Dressing? The Gap (RED) Campaign
Part II: Dialogic Communication
Anna Turnage and Joann Keyton
Case Study 5. Ethical Contradictions and E-Mail Communication at Enron Corporation
Rebecca J. Meisenbach and Sarah B. Feldner
Case Study 6. Toyota - Oh, What a Feeling, or Oh, What a Mess? Ethics at the Intersection of Industry, Government, and Publics
Shari R. Veil and Aimei Yang
Case Study 7. Sanlu's Milk Contamination Crisis: Organizational Communication in Conflicting Cultural, Economic, and Ethical Context
Rahul Mitra
Case Study 8. What About the People in the "People's Car"? Tata Motors Limited and the Nano Controversy
Part III. Participation
Dean E. Mundy
Case Study 9: Resistance and Belonging: The Chicago Blackhawks and the 2010 Chicago Annual Pride Parade
Jeanette Wenig Drake
Case Study 10: Is Agriculture Spinning Out of Control? A Case Study of Factory Farms in Ohio: Environmental Communication, News Frames, and Social Justice
Joann Keyton, Paula Cano, Teresa L. Clounch, Carl E. Fischer, Catherine Howard, and Sarah S. Topp
Case Study 11: Ethical Storm or Model Workplace?
Natalie Nelson-Marsh
Case Study 12: Gaming the System: Ethical Challenges in Innovative Organizations
Part IV: Transparency
John Llewellyn
Case Study 13. Reward, Identity and Autonomy: Ethical Issues in College Athletics
Alexander Lyon and Mark Ricci
Case Study 14. The Case of Wyeth, DesignWrite, and Premarin: The Ethics of Ghostwriting Medical Journal Articles
Loril M. Gossett
Case Study 15. Fired Over Facebook: Issues of Employee Monitoring and Personal Privacy on Social Media Websites.
Roxana Maiorescu
Case Study 16. Daimler's Bribery Case
Part V: Accountability
Elaine M. Brown
Case Study 17. The Deepwater Horizon Disaster: Challenges in Ethical Decision Making
Hamilton Bean
Case Study 18. Outsourcing U.S. Intelligence
Alyssa Grace Millner and Timothy L. Sellnow
Case Study 19. Silence in the Turmoil of Crisis: Peanut Corporation of America's Response to Its Sweeping Slamonella Outbreak
Kendra Dyanne Rivera and Sarah J. Tracy
Case Study 20. Patrolling the Ethical Borders of Compassion and Enforcement
Part VI: Courage
Jane Stuart Baker and Lu Tang
Case Study 21. Google?s Dilemma in China
Ryan S. Bisel and Joann Keyton
Case Study 22. Speaking Up Is Not an Easy Choice: Boatrocking as Ethical Dilemma
Elizabeth A. Williams
Case Study 23. The Aftermath of Scandal: Picking Up the Pieces of a Shattered Identity
George Cheney
Afterword - Casework and Communication About Ethics: Toward a Broader Perspective on Our Lives, Our Careers, Our Happiness, and Our Common Future
Author Index
Subject Index
About the Editor
About the Contributors

The course including ethical decision-making has to be reshuffled for now, but in the future I will definitely use the book as a source for supporting material.

Dr Amélie Gourdon
Kingston Business School, Kingston University
October 3, 2013

Excellent supplement to text I'm using. Offers in depth case studies and addresses evaluation using critical thinking.

Is there any instructor material available?

Mrs Mary Jo Nead
Speech Communication Dept, Thomas More College
April 11, 2013

This book provides an effective way to engage students into theory. The cases presented can also be further analysed using a plethora of approaches, which makes it a useful teaching tool.

Ms Chrysavgi Sklaveniti
Dept of Management (Grad Sch of Bus), Strathclyde University
April 10, 2013

This book will be particularly helpful for students who have an interest in communication. I will also use it to supplement my lectures with examples in class. The book is very well laid out, engaging in its detail with signposting to further material for those students who wish to read more.

Ms Victoria Pagan
Business School, Newcastle University
March 26, 2013

Matched with course design- practical and applied pedagogy for studying ethical issues and communication in everyday life.

Dr Kendra Rivera
Department of Communication, California State University - San Marcos
October 10, 2012
Key features


  • The Second Edition includes expanded coverage of the recent economic meltdown, globalization, new technologies, and corporate social responsibility.
  • Eighteen new case studies on current workplace issues include companies such as BP, Google, Toyota, Gap, Wyeth, and Enron.


  • Emerging issues in the workplace, explored in several case studies, include work/family balance, sexual harassment, outsourcing, personal privacy, bribery, new technologies, social networking, corporate social responsibility, and other issues.
  • International case studies examine the ethical behavior of non-American organizations, providing a more thorough understanding of ethics in a global business environment.
  • The consistent case study structure allows instructors and students greater opportunity to compare and contrast cases on comparable terms.

Sample Materials & Chapters


Case Study 1

Case Study 3


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