Assignment #1 - Case Study: Corporate Social Responsibility
Grading Structure: The case study must address all nine areas as per the format in great detail. Marks will be deducted for spelling and grammar. Use of reference materials and quoting their sources is required.
Instructions: Research and write a brief case study (1-1.5 pages) on the topic below.
Choose any manufactured item in your life (an article of clothing, a vehicle, an electronic device, etc.) made in a country other than Canada. Using the utilitarian view, analyze the ethics of importing the item to Canada and purchasing and using the item.
- Impact on the workers who made the item
- Impact on workers in Canada
- Impact on social goods
- Impact on the environment world-wide
Format for your Case Study:
1. Problem definition
2. Background information
3. Concerns of key stakeholders
4. Strategic/ultimate goal
7. Alternatives/Action Steps
8. Evaluation of Alternatives
9. Recommended Action Plan
Example of case study:
MGMT3021Preparing a Case Study
What is a Case Study? What is a Case Study?
A case is usually a real, or semifictional depiction of a situation which requires some type of decision making. A case describes what the participants did and said as well as describing their opinions, judgements, values and perceptions about the situation.
By analyzing a specific case, you learn specific answers relevant to your broader topic. Searching for the "right" solution is not so important as the process and reasoning used to arrive at a recommended course of action.
Case studies involve four basic types of problems: individual problems, isolated incidents, organizational problems and a combination of any of the above.
Use the section headings below in writing your case study.
1. Read the assignment and make sure you understand the problem. Clarify unknown words, check the numbers, and ask questions.
2. Define the problem in your own words. If you are working in a group make sure that the entire group understands the problem and can agree on a similar problem definition
3. Do your research. Gather facts, check your numbers, interview experts do whatever you need to make sure you have the right information and that you have covered all of the necessary points.
4. Consider alternative perspectives of key stakeholder groups that is, the main groups of people who are affected by the issues in your case study. Select a proposed solution which meets the needs of one or more key stakeholder groups, and a way to achieve that solution. This is a working hypothesis not a final conclusion. What research do you need to do to solve the problem? What kind of data do you need? How will you complete your tasks?
5. Outline this proposed solution.
Preparing the report Preparing the report Preparing the report Preparing the report Preparing the report
Your report should not be a narrative (story) about how you came up with your solution. Instead it should jump directly to the issues of the case and present your proposed solution(s) and your recommendations.
1. Problem Statement. What are the background conditions, the history, and the important issues that define the problem.
2. Current Conditions. List the current conditions. These are the present issues that demonstrate the problem. For example, stock value, analysts ratings, lawsuits, customer
complaints, reputation issues, etc. The current conditions section could also include
different perspectives on the problem based on stakeholders viewpoints.
3. Strategic Goal. State your ultimate goal what you hope to achieve in the big picture. For
example, manufacture sneakers without using child labour, secure the privacy of all web
site users, create a more productive work force.Ã¢â‚¬â€¢
4. Objectives. The objectives are measurable results you want to achieve that will get you to
your goal. A good report will show readers clear connections from the objectives to the
goal. For example, increase company's stock value by 50 points in 2 quarters, increase
sales by $4 million while protecting the environment, achieve readershp of five thousand
5. Analysis. This section details the analysis you conducted to solve the problem and reach
your strategic goal. The analysis section will ordinarily include several, even potentially
6. Alternatives (Action Steps). List several competing alternatives that could solve your
7. Evaluate Alternatives. In a separate section, evaluate each alternative. Use a
credible methodology for your evaluation.
8. Recommended Action. List your recommended action plan.
Adapted from a Clarkson University document
EXAMPLE OF A CASE STUDY
The Case of Uninformed Choice
Molly* is a 68 year-old woman, who lives at home with her 72-year old husband John. Both are
sitting on the couch one day, John is watching TV, and Molly is leafing through a Seniors
Today magazine. She comes across an ad for Gingkomem, a product whose ad states: Ginkgo
has been shown to help in cases of impaired mental performance including short-term memory
loss, headache, and depression. Molly thinks to herself that she's been a bit forgetful lately, and
she also has been feeling a bit down. This advertised product sounds great, its all natural, an
herb, so it must be safe. Molly reads the ad to her husband and asks for his advice. John is not
sure about these types of products and suggests she go to the doctor instead. He sees that it is
still on her mind so he suggests she go to the pharmacy to ask about the products.
Molly goes to her drugstore and is faced with a wall full of different herbals products. Feeling a
bit overwhelmed, Molly asks the pharmacy assistant for her advice about the different herbals,
but the assistant only shows her where the products are and recommends taking some brochures
At home, Molly looks over the brochures, and each one says that Gingko is good for memory
loss, improving cognitive function, but doesn't really talk about depression. She looks at the ad
again, and wants to know more about that particular product. She looks in the phone book, and
fortunately there is an Herbal Charms outlet, the store that was advertising the product. Molly
goes to the store and a staff member asks Molly if she can help her find anything. Molly asks her about the product in the ad. The staff member says its a good product, and that studies have been done to show that it works. Molly buys the product.
Several weeks later, as she is cutting up some tomatoes for lunch, Molly accidentally cuts her finger and it starts to bleed. The wound won't stop bleeding so her husband takes her to the hospital. The ER doctor looks at the cut, and seeing that it is bleeding more than usual, asks her if she is taking any other medication than the coumadin listed on her chart. Molly says nothing else except antacids once in a while. But then her husband mentions the Ginkgo biloba product. The doctor told them that was the problem, that Ginkgo also acts like a blood thinner, just as the coumadin does, so that is why she is bleeding too much. Molly says she didn't think to mention it, because it was not a drug, but an herbal natural product that was supposed to be safe to take.
* Names of people, product, magazine and business are fictitious.
The misinformed choice of a natural health product.
Current Conditions Current Conditions Current Conditions Current Conditions Current Conditions
While the above case is fiction, it illustrates some of the many problems consumers are faced with in the area of natural health products (NHPs). Misleading marketing, unsubstantiated health claims, lack of consumer information, uninformed sales staff, lack of regulations, consumer reluctance to consult physicians, and the incorrect assumption that natural products are safe are examples of these problems.
The natural health products industry is increasing, and is here to stay. Not only does the consumer want to use these products, but also the financial rewards of this industry to the manufacturers and distributors of these products are just too enormous for them to stop.
In May 2000, a survey found that 2 out of 3 people in Canada had used a natural health product in the last month. In that same year, Canadians spent about $1.8 billion on herbs and supplements (1).
Consumers are faced with a glut of information, a lot of it from promotional material from the manufacturers of the products.
Unfortunately the staff of health food stores, and manufactures of NHPs that have their own outlet stores like in the scenario above, and the staff of these stores, along with the staff of health food stores, are not adequately trained on NHPs, but are first and foremost sales staff, concerned with selling the products. According to a report in The Consumer Marketplace, CanadianÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s primary source for information on supplements is magazines or newspapers. Other sources were pharmacists, drugstore staff, word of mouth, and books (2).
The goal is to prevent situations like the above case from occurring. The implementation of the new Natural Health Products Regulations, published in Canada Gazette, Part II, June 18, 2003 will come into force January 1, 2004. These regulations have come about as a result of consumers asking for labeling of all ingredients, for warnings to be clear and understandable, and for assurances of quality and safety. With these regulations, Canadians will be better able to make informed decisions about the NHPs they use (3).
According to Building Together: NHPD Public Consultation March 2001, it was stated that at a later stage, the NHPD will be developing a national public education program on the safe use of natural health products and a public awareness program on the new regulations. The initial 53 recommendations set out by the Standing Committee on Health in 1999 addressed the need for education with Recommendation #46: Health Canada undertake, through its various established avenues, the dissemination of the resulting information to health care professionals and consumers (4).
Recommended Action Recommended Action Recommended Action Recommended Action Recommended Action
There is going to be a need for individuals to implement this national public education program, and this may be an area where technical writers with a background in natural health products may be needed.
1. Tzu Chi Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Natural DoesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Mean Safe. Canadian Health Network.
2. The Consumer Marketplace. Vitamins, Minerals and Herbal Supplements. March/April 2000; 15(2): 24-30.
3. News Release. Minister McLellan announces the adoption of new regulations for natural health products. Health Canada Online. June 18, 2003.
4. Health Canada. Building Together: Phase II in Developing a Proposed Regulatory Framework for Natural Health Products, NHPD Public Consultation March 2001.
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