Learning Activity #1: The Pressure to Overstate Stock Valuation
You have been the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for a large manufacturing company for 15 years. The
Company’s yearend is March 31 and you are finishing the year end accounts.
You have recently been advised by the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of a significant level of slow
moving stock. The stock in question is now more than nine months old and would normally have been
written down some months previously.
The shareholders are trying to sell the Company and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who is also the
majority shareholder, has told you that it is not necessary to write down the stock in the year end
accounts. You are sure that the CEO wants the financial statements to carry an inflated stock valuation
because he has found a prospective buyer for the Company. The CEO has mentioned to you that if the
proposed deal is successful, all employees will keep their jobs and you will receive a substantial pay
What are the ethical implications of this scenario and how would you resolve them? Are there any ethical
theories that might support your answer?
Learning Activity #2: Corporate Social Responsibility: What’s the Big Deal?
One of the most contentious debates among scholars has centered on the proper role for a corporation in
the pursuit of its business. In large measure the debate has crystallized around two points of view. On the
one hand, some believe that a corporation’s chief responsibility role is to make and maximize profit. This
belief has often been referred to as the Friedman Approach in homage to the economist, Milton
Friedman. Friedman espoused the view that as long as a corporation stayed within the rules, its only
responsibility was to return the maximum profit to its shareholders. On the other hand, other scholars
have asserted that the social responsibility for a corporation extends beyond just making a profit and
includes a responsibility to act in a manner that promotes and supports the welfare of society at large.
What do you think about this so called “Shareholder vs. Stakeholder” debate? Do you have any personal
experiences where you have observed the effects of this debate in terms of corporate actions? On which
side of the argument do you come down on and why?