46th Annual Society for Case Research & Global Jesuit Case Series Summer Workshop 2024

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
John Ross, Quinn W. Cunningham, and Leon Faifman

Blurred Lines: Communication and Ethics in the Making of Miami Vice (2006)

This critical incident (CI) focuses on employees’ susceptibility to making ethically questionable decisions when dealing with the feeling of being starstruck. Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents were offered the opportunity to act as extras in the 2006 film “Miami Vice” and became a bit too close and forthcoming with the film’s two main stars, Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell. Foxx and Farrell were interested in researching their characters’ (two Metro-Dade Police Department undercover detectives) motivations and thus interacted a lot with the HSI agents on set as movie extras. The stars engaged so much with the HSI agents that they were eventually brought to an HSI top-secret outpost used for drug enforcement operations, which was equipped with millions of dollars of technology and staffed by undercover personnel. By bringing Foxx and Farrell to the outpost, the HSI agents compromised the location’s secrecy and cost the government a substantial amount of money to have to relocate the outpost. This CI is relevant to undergraduate students in Introductory Management, Organizational Behavior, Human Resource Management, and Ethics courses. It requires students to address the ethical decision-making process (and how it can be compromised), as well as organizational culture, and dysfunctional communication.