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To Pull the Bottles or Not? Short-term Financial Pain versus Long-term Uncertainty

Amy LaCombe, Ethan Sullivan
January 1, 2018
North America
Ethics & Social Justice, Human Resources & Organizational Behavior
10 pages
ethics, moral courage, moral leadership, leadership, corporate culture, financial decision-making
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.74)
Average rating: 

In April 2008, small particles of glass were discovered during a quality control check at Boston Beer Company’s Cincinnati brewery. This problem was traced to defective glass in bottles which came from a supplier that provided Boston Beer Company with about one quarter of its bottles. It was unknown if the glass was large enough to cause any health or safety issues, but the leaders of Boston Beer were nonetheless concerned. Hence, the company faced one of its biggest management challenges. The glass in the bottles dilemma required the CEO to consider numerous viable options that were consistent with management concerns about public safety, the financial sustainability of the company, the company culture, and his own ethical values in his final decision.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Understand the financial pressures of public companies and how that might affect their decision-making.
  2. Evaluate the possible alternatives that Jim Koch could have decided.
  3. Discuss and identify the trade-offs of the potential impact of those decisions.
  4. Determine the decision that would show the most moral courage despite many fears.
  5. Reflect upon the leader’s decision and how culture positively supported the founder in his most challenging business decision.