Leadership Crisis Challenge: Polaris Cruise Lines

by: Scott DeRue, Charu Sareen, Andrew Lamkay, Anindita Pal

Publication Date: January 10, 2016
Length: 60 pages
Product ID#: 1-430-477

Core Disciplines: Accounting/Finance, Communications, Ethics, Leadership/Organizational Behavior, Marketing/Sales, Negotiations, Strategy & Management

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Teaching Note

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Polaris Cruise Lines, a subsidiary of Constellation Cargo, Inc. — a global freight, travel, and hospitality company generating $25 billion in annual revenue — faces an ecological challenge with financial and public relations ramifications. The cruise line’s flagship vessel, the Night Sky, has been implicated in a crisis involving an algae bloom in Miami’s Biscayne Bay by Nationwide News Network, other media outlets, and local activist groups. Students are asked to take on the role of company executives responding to the situation. The crisis unfolds before them with timed information releases that keep participants on the edge of their seats during the course of the two-day challenge. Students are asked to think critically regarding the best response, exercise integrity in deciding how to proceed, and show courage in standing up for those judgments under fire. The most poised team will be chosen as the winner.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Practice skills that are necessary for crisis management.
  • Assess what a company “owes” the community in which it does business.
  • Explore whether the environment be sacrificed for shareholder benefits.
  • Identify whether companies can admit wrongs in today’s aggressive legal climate.
  • Develop strategies for making judgments regarding competing constituencies and demands.