Society for Case Research MBAA 2023

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Dr. "Dutch" Mumphord H. Kendall, IV

Speculative, or Just Manipulative?

SeatGeek is a rapidly growing company in a dynamic, complex, and controversial industry. Balancing the interests of diverse and often incompatible stakeholders against their own grand ambitions has been challenging, to say the least. The industry has been rife with fraud yet increasing scrutiny by regulators and law enforcement has been to no avail. Throw in a global pandemic, and it could be argued the company’s situation is nearly unmanageable. There are numerous variables to consider. However, against this backdrop, this critical incident invites students to consider one particular practice that presents its own unique set of problems: speculative ticket selling. After critically analyzing the practice, including the legal implications, students are asked to make a decision: If you were in SeatGeek’s shoes, what would you do? The intent of this critical incident is to present students a real-world scenario where the “right” choice is unclear, rather viewed from a strategic, ethical, or legal lens, and then challenging their critical thinking and ethical reasoning. Some students may find the very idea of this business model repulsive. Others will see value and an intriguing opportunity. Regardless, students are invited to explore the ethical grey areas and to attempt to struggle with the issues objectively. The details are complex, and students should be encouraged to do the research necessary to support their positions. Perhaps the best outcome will be when students recognize, through this example, those who are well informed and well intentioned might still disagree.