Taking a step back is hard to do


We like to sit in class and critique how individuals acted in certain business situations. We analyze their decisions using moral lenses (such as act utilitarianism) and wonder how someone could make such a seemingly stupid decision. However, sometimes we fail to recognize how hard it is when you are actually making these decisions to take a step back and see the bigger picture. These are just people who are trying to make a living and probably have pressure from supervisors and coworkers and peers that push them towards making certain decisions. As they put in their 9 to 5 and are just trying to make it through the day, its hard to break out of habits and cycles and really analyze the bigger context. So next time we laugh at a bad business decision from the comfort of the classroom, lets take a second and try to put ourselves in their shoes, and give the guy a break.

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This entry was posted in Business, Cases (Real World), Social Science, Society, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Taking a step back is hard to do

  1. br015 says:

    I totally agree that it sometimes may be difficult for significant figures in a company to see the bigger picture before they act. For example, if a CEO of a company is on the fence about whether or not to act a certain way because of ethical reasons, but the board of his company is pushing him to do it no matter what, then chances are that he will probably do it. After all, it is the same board that brought him in so why would he want to go against them right? Furthermore, I believe this presents another problem. When situations like this happen and it leads to the company doing poorly, people on the outside looking in would tend to blame the CEO because he is the face of the company, although it was really the board who really forced that action to happen. So this creates the opportunity for boards alike to use their CEOs as a “scapegoat”, or a person they can blame for the problem. Following this, the board could then either get rid of him or take some other action to quiet the public. So this is why I agree and think that we should all try to view both angles play before we make a call.

  2. Alyssa Haglund says:

    Putting ourselves in a CEO’s role would be extremely beneficial to our understanding of their decision, but it is near impossible to understand the various pressures. While the board who is in charge of hiring their position may be pushing one way, the community may be pushing another, and family another. This goes back to our class discussion on short-termism. All of this pressure may cause the CEO to make a decision that smooths the waters for the time being, but is not best for the company and community in the long run.

  3. kjc013 says:

    I agree with all of these posts. It is difficult to put yourself into someone else’s shoes, especially when they are in a situation as unfamiliar to students like us as running a company. This is why, although we should still look into the details of bad situations and what caused the problems being discussed, we should avoid passing judgment on those involved (unless character flaws are in question and judgment is necessary). A lot of times when discussing companies in management classes, we say “they should have done this” or “why didn’t they do that,” but often, these solutions may not have been viable options and may have been easier said than done. We definitely need to give some of the employees of these companies a break. 🙂

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