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Stanley cup riot prompts SFU students’ case study

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Five undergraduate students from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business used Vancouver’s 2011 Stanley Cup riot as a case study to examine the growing role that social media plays in society and business.

The students – Fahad Yasin, Christine Prasad, Sasha Vukovic, Moira van den Akker and Andrew McKinlay – competed in the recent Intercollegiate Business Ethics Case Competition (IBECC) in Bellevue, Wash., with a case study called Legal Implications of Social Media.

The SFU team is competing against a prestigious international field that includes Oxford University, University of Southern California, INSEAD and Boston College.

The team’s chosen ethics case concerned the aftermath of June’s Vancouver riot.

It involved a Lower Mainland construction company whose employee made favourable comments about the riot on his Facebook account.

After receiving upwards of 100 emails from an agitated public, the company’s owner had to make a difficult decision of how to react to the public relations nightmare – and how to deal with his employee.

The student team examined the situation from the perspective of the employer on the day after the riots.

“(What we were) really looking at is social media and the role it plays in our society and business,” said McKinlay. “This new phenomenon can be a useful tool, but if used incorrectly, can result in huge costs, both tangible and intangible. How to use social media most effectively is still unknown, but we do know one thing for sure – social media is blurring the line between our public and private lives.”

Sam Thiara, manager of student engagement and recruitment at the Beedie School of Business, and alumnus Pam Hernandez coached the team.

Teams in the competition researched a contemporary issue in business ethics of their own choosing and prepared a 20- to 30-minute presentation, which they presented to a panel of judges.

Teams explain the legal, financial and ethical dimensions of their problem and propose a solution that must pass on all three counts.

Judges questioned the teams for another 30 minutes, and then give the teams feedback on their performance.

The winning team was Loyola Marymount University of Los Angeles with a case study of Triclosan, a controversial antibacterial additive that is put into Colgate Toothpaste.

For more information, visit http://at.sfu.ca/xgKjTp

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