Business Management Case Scenario
Read the Case Scenario
The W. R. Grace Company was founded by, yes, a man named W. R. Grace. He was Irish and it was a shipping enterprise he brought to New York in 1865. Energetic and ambitious, while his company grew on one side, he was getting civically involved on the other. Fifteen years after arriving, he was elected Mayor
of New York City. Five years after that, he personally accepted a gift from a delegation representing the people of France. It was the Statue of Liberty.
Grace was a legendary philanthropist. He provided massive food donations to his native Ireland to relieve famine. At home, his attention focused on his nonprofit Grace Institute, a tuition-free school for poor immigrant women. The classes offered there taught basic skills—stenography, typewriting, bookkeeping—
that helped students enter the workforce. More than one hundred thousand young women have passed through the school, which survives to this day.
In 1945, grandson J. Peter Grace took control of the now worldwide shipping company. A decade later, it became a publicly traded corporation on the New York Stock Exchange. The business began shifting from shipping to chemical production.
By the 1980s, W. R. Grace had become a chemical and materials company, and it had come to light that one of its plants had been pouring toxins into the soil and water underneath the small town of Woburn, Massachusetts. The poisons worked their way into the town’s water supply and then into the townspeople. It caused leukemia in newborns. Lawsuits in civil court, and later investigations by the Environmental Protection Agency, cost the corporation millions.
J. Peter Grace retired as CEO in 1992. After forty-eight years on the job, he’d become the longest-reigning CEO in the history of public companies. During that time, he also served as president of the Grace Institute. The nonfiction novel A Civil Action came out in 1996. The best-selling, award-winning chronicle of the
Woburn disaster soon became a Hollywood movie. The movie, starring John Travolta, continues to appear on television with some regularity.
To honor the Grace Institute, October 28 was designated “Grace Day” by New York City in 2009. On that day, the institute defined its mission this way: “In the tradition of its founding family, Grace Institute is dedicated to the development of the personal and business skills necessary for self-sufficiency, employability, and an improved quality of life.”
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Step 1: Write the Introduction
Create the introductory paragraph. The introductory paragraph is the first paragraph of the paper and tells a reader the main points covered in the paper. To help you know how to write an introduction, view this website to learn how to write an introductory paragraph: http://www.writing.ucsb.edu/faculty/donelan/intro.html
Step 2: Answer the following
In what ways does the structure of a “C” corporation protect its owners from absorbing ethical responsibility for the company’s actions?
The triple bottom line is a form of corporate social responsibility where leaders analyze bottom-line results. In addition, the company’s effects are evaluated in terms of the social realm as well as in terms of the environment. At the intersection of ethics and economics is sustainability, or the long-term maintenance of balance. In which way(s) did the W.R. Grace Company comply or violate:
a. Economic Sustainability
b. Social Sustainability
c. Environmental Sustainability
There are three approaches to Corporate Responsibility – Corporate Social Responsibility; The Triple Bottom Line; and Stakeholder Theory. What is the importance of balancing stakeholder interests and how did the implementation or lack of implementation affect the W.R. Grace Company?
Is the best method of managing Corporate Social Responsibility a governmental obligation, marketplace responsibility, or a hybrid of the two? Explain.
What are the benefits of an Environmental Impact Statement; what are opposing arguments?
Do corporations have an ethical responsibility to finance environmental protections? Did the W.R. Grace Corporation have a financial responsibility to protect the environment? Explain
How does a Cost-Benefit Analysis align with Utilitarianism? How might a cost-benefit analysis pertain to the W.R. Grace Company?
Is the creation of “Grace Day” an ethical issue? Why or why not?