This lesson was inspired by an article in "Fortune" magazine, "Why Companies Fail," May 27,2002. Its focus is on the relationship of business ethics to business bankruptcy or near failure. Students participate in a simulation by assuming the roles of either members of an inquirery board or by assuming the roles of the chief executive officers of a selected corporation. Internet research is required as students discover some of the causes of corporate failure.
“The verdict is in: California’s experiment with energy deregulation is not just a mess; it’s a certifiable failure, according to everyone from the state governor to the very utilities that initially backed the scheme.” This is how Charles Feildman, CNN Correspondent, began his article on January 4, 2001, entitled “The California Power Quagmire”. Has this happened with any other industry? How and why did this happen in California and can it happen in other states? To understand what happened one must look at some simple and basic concepts in economics.
While precise numbers are not known, it is believed the number of boycotts has grown markedly in the past fifty years. Consumers seem to be besieged by requests from special interest groups to refrain from buying certain goods and services. In this lesson, students study how boycotts have been used throughout U.S. history to help promote economic, social and political change. After researching current boycott targets, students create promotional flyers providing a glimpse at the goals people today hope to achieve through this consumer market action. Students also consider what economic and non economic factors are likely to influence the effectiveness of a boycott.