“If we don’t do it, another company will and we will have suffered because of our stance.”
Time pressure because of pirates’ deadline.
Sunk costs and the draw to recover them.
We can fix this; we always have in the past.
List Those Affected By Your Decision
Did a fairly good job as part of numbers (see above).
Creditors for Transnational and the ability to raise capital.
Transnational’s employees – both those on the boat and otherwise.
Other shipping companies because decision here affects their ability to stop piracy, depending on
what Transnational does.
Employees who work international shipping company boats.
U.S. government’s foreign policy and diplomacy.
Military forces as decisions are made about deployment and use of force.
Insurers for company, cargo, and employees.
Effect on insurance industry.
Decide Your Role And The Role Of Business
Utilitarians – do the most good for the most people – losing 25 lives now could save millions.
Natural law – human life is paramount and policies on bribes take a back seat to preserving human
Rights – there are the rights of the employees, but there are also the rights that exist in commerce.
Rand and self-interest – in whose self-interest is the death of the employees? In whose self-interest
is the preservation of their lives? There is great depth to be found in just exploring this issue.
Everybody knows the high seas are tough territory – all part of the game – and we bought into it,
employees, companies, etc. (Albert Carr).
There is a slip into the either/or conundrum here – either we pay the bribe or we lose the lives.
Is there “wiggle room” here?
How does Transnational define itself? Is the no-bribes policy part of its credo? What about human
The issue is framed only one way, “To pay or not to pay,” and that framing costs us the perspective of
Flaws in the “to pay or not to pay” are that you can’t really trust the people you cheat with; they will
throw you under the bus. These are pirates – even with payment you may not attain the release of
Reframe to think of country assistance, military options, possibility of the release of some in exchange
for partial payment, a way to reduce the likelihood of employee injury if you do fire upon.
The headline test is awful no matter what (and the fact that you knew does not help either way).
You could discuss consequences here (WSJ).
Blanchard and Peale – the element of conscience – even with logic on your side, the loss of
employees will be tough to live with – see our discussion of Andrew Carnegie and his response to the
Homestead rebellion when the suppression of union activities cost employees their lives.
If I were one of the employees, how would I want this issue resolved?
Can I see alternatives or have I fallen into the either/or conundrum?
Classic Laura Nash – how did we get in this situation in the first place?