Case 3-1 The Parable of the Sadhu

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Case 3-1
The Parable of the Sadhu
The case examines the individual versus corporate ethic.
Ethical Issues:
How does the individual stay true to her values within a corporate ethic? How can one make changes for the better within an organization?
Consider corporate values and ethics as discussed in Chapter 3 and the ethical reasoning methods discussed in Chapters 1 and 2 in answering the following questions:

Bowen H. McCoy’s friend Stephen is quoted as saying, “I feel that what happened with the sadhu is a good example of the breakdown between the individual and corporate ethic.” Explain what you think Stephen meant by this statement. What is the nature of that breakdown between the individual and corporate ethic
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Neither are the only right responses. Many students will want or state one right response, only.


What is the moral of the story of the sadhu from your perspective?

McCoy summarized the moral as “When do we take a stand?”
When Do We Take a Stand?
By Bowen McCoy

I wrote about my experiences purposely to present an ambiguous situation. I never found out if the sadhu lived or died. I can attest, though, that the sadhu lives on in his story. He lives in ethics classes I teach each year at business schools and churches. He lives in the classrooms of numerous business schools, where professors have taught the case to tens of thousands of students. He lives in several casebooks on ethics and on an educational video. And he lives in

organizations such as the American Red Cross and AT&T, which use his story in their ethics training. As I reflect on the sadhu now, 15 years after the fact, I first have to wonder, What actually happened on that Himalayan slope? When I first wrote about the event, I reported the experience in as much detail as I could remember, but I shaped it to the needs of a good classroom discussion. After years of reading my story, viewing it on video, and hearing others discuss it, I’m not sure I myself know what actually occurred on the mountainside that day!
I’ve also heard a wide variety of responses to the story. The sadhu, for example, may not
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