Society for Case Research MBAA 2023

Experience level: 
Intermediate
Intended Audience: 
Faculty
Authors: 
J. Ricky Fergurson, Joyce A. Young

Selling at all Costs?

This critical incident describes an ethical dilemma faced by AT&T sales representatives. In 2016, AT&T had launched DirecTV Now as their live TV and on demand streaming service. The launch was hailed as a key part of AT&T’s pivot to entertainment. The company reported its DirecTV Now’s subscriber base grew to a hefty 1.86 million by the end of the third quarter in 2018 (Brodkin, 2019). But were the numbers what they really appeared to be? Some former employees claimed that many of the accounts were fake. Other employees spoke of the pressure placed upon them to sell DirecTV Now subscriptions at all costs or face termination. Even when customers stated they did not want the product, some sales representatives would add it to the account anyways. Students are asked to place themselves in the AT&T sales representative role and examine how they may or may not justify their participation in questionable selling behaviors.