Leadership Crisis Challenge: Pharmeck

by: Susan Ashford

Publication Date: September 9, 2008
Length: 14 pages
Product ID#: 1-428-585

Core Disciplines: Communications, Ethics, Leadership/Organizational Behavior

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Winner of the 2011 University of Michigan Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize
This role-playing simulation presents students with a hypothetical yet realistic crisis situation during which they are asked demonstrate integrity under pressure while making decisions that take into consideration the interests of multiple stakeholders. Student teams are asked to take on the roles of pharmaceutical executives who have just received news that the Indian factory that is the primary producer of their firm’s malaria drug, Maladone may be linked to mercury contamination in a local river, leading to three deaths and skin rashes, fever, and diarrhea in thousands of others. Students are asked to make a decision about how the company should move forward taking into account regulatory, ethical, and financial concerns, while maintaining Pharmeck’s reputation with consumers and investors.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Gain and practice critical leadership skills.
  • Distill facts and generate assumptions for navigating contexts that are imbued with missing information, misinformation, irrelevant information, technological limitations, and resource deficiencies.
  • Apply the communications, persuasion, and negotiation skills necessary to make and defend decisions under time constraints.
  • Demonstrate the agility and wisdom required to make both immediate and long-term impacts under pressure.
  • Illustrate integrity while making decisions impacting multiple stakeholders and balancing ethical and financial concerns.