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Whodunnit? Role-playing to Understand Stakeholder Perspectives through Corporate Scandals
This case presents role-playing, a well-known gameful activity, as an approach to analyzing corporate scandals, helping students understand different stakeholder perspectives and the value of critically assessing information to develop business sustainability strategies.


By: Georgina Guillen-Hanson (Tampere University)

Session type: Multiple sessions, Undergraduate/Graduate level, Medium size


  • Problem framing 

  • Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Sustainability reporting

  • Role playing

  • Communication


Introduction to the teaching example:

The purpose of this project is to help students learn about various stakeholder viewpoints and how issues are structured within frequently conflicting interests. It also enables them to learn how to gather information, but more significantly, critically assess it, sort through data, and formulate plans that are in line with various businesses' values while satisfying the needs of a diverse set of stakeholders.  


Through this exercise, students learn the importance of questioning and critical thinking while making decisions as well as how to trust their instincts when purchasing. Additionally, they develop communication plans to convey the firms' positions while facing significant sustainability difficulties.


Students complete a jigsaw puzzle that depicts the historical progression of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability reporting to start the lesson. This timeline aids in setting the interaction between businesses and various society stakeholders in context. The students view the video “The Corporation” after doing the puzzle and briefly discussing what CSR is and how it has changed. Discussions on the need for CSR and reporting techniques, the various accountability procedures, and the need for transparency follow this activity. The students are then divided into groups and given the names of five business scandals following a group debate (e.g., the Rana Plaza tragedy, Dieselgate). Students are required to investigate what the crisis was, its setting, and businesses' efforts to regain customer trust post-scandal.


Each team is expected to prepare a case from the viewpoint of the concerned firm in order to attend a stakeholder meeting the following day. To communicate the views of these stakeholders and to interrogate the corporations, the teams are given two stakeholder roles in addition to representing a company and its particular case.

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