Ford Motor Company: Should we buy a train station?
Ford Motor Company’s unexpected purchase of the historic Michigan Central Station is a critical incident designed to evaluate a major CSR-based investment decision. The CI frames the investment decision within the historical context of Detroit’s long decline and current desired resurgence. The train station itself has an iconic history within the city of Detroit, but more recently the abandoned property has become internationally known as a symbol of Detroit’s decay and blight. The CI focuses on analyzing this decision primarily through the lens of corporate social responsibility (CSR), but also applies the theories of social and relational capital as well as shareholder perspective as secondary themes. The purchase of the Detroit train station is also unique in that it involves Ford Motor Company’s reintroduction into the city of Detroit where, over a century ago, the company once played a major role. Finally, the CI is also significant as it provides an opportunity to analyze a unique CSR investment that involves a major capital outlay of nearly one billion dollars. Students can apply multiple perspectives to analyzing this unique business scenario.
- Evaluate the role of corporate social responsibility in framing investment decisions of the type illustrated in this incident
- Identify and analyze the effects and benefits of social and relational capital required and developed by making an investment in a high-profile economic development project as found in this incident
- Evaluate the merits of investing in a CSR project from a stockholder’s perspective