Caterpillar Inc.: Is the Corporation Responsible for End-User Actions?
Bradna, T., Clark, A., Sponsel, A., and O’Rourke, J.S. (Editor)
February 15, 2018
Strategy & General Management, Ethics & Social Justice
human rights, human rights abuse, shareholders, military sales operation, negative publicity
Since 1967, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have used modified Caterpillar bulldozers to destroy thousands of Palestinian homes, injuring and even killing scores of individuals in the process, including American peace activist Rachel Corrie. Rights groups have sent over 50,000 letters to Caterpillar executives, decrying the use of Caterpillar bulldozers to carry out human rights abuses, and an activist group of shareholders has proposed an investigation into the company’s military sales operation. Given the negative publicity and accusations, how should Caterpillar respond to decrease the threats of activist divestiture and rebuild its damaged brand reputation?
- To discuss a company’s actions to alleviate negative, yet indirect, conflict involvement;
- To illustrate the importance of indirect constituents in the management of corporate reputation;
- To discuss the balance of a company’s core competencies with the special interests of its shareholders.