Apply critical thinking skills to analyze business situations.

Mary Smith is the Manager of Market Intelligence for Acme Automotive Accessories (AAA) Corporation, a $500 million manufacturing company traded on the NYSE.

As she boarded a plane with one of her subordinates, for a return trip from Chicago to the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, she was reviewing possible reasons why AAA was experiencing a shrinking share of their market. Mary tried to relax for her return trip, and reached for the in-flight magazine located in the seat-back pocket in front of her.

As she reached for the magazine, Mary discovered a document marked “Confidential-Restricted Circulation” with AAA’s main competitor’s logo on the front cover. A brief scan of the document revealed that it contained new product announcements scheduled over the next two years as well as preliminary pricing information and market share estimates. The report also contained answers to many of the key questions included in a request-for-proposal (RFP) she recently sent to three consulting firms. Since a research contract had not been awarded yet, she could avoid spending AAA’s budgeted funds by using the information in this document and canceling the research project.

Mary also recalled that her company had hired a new corporate ethicist two months ago who had drafted a revision to AAA’s “Guidelines to Business Conduct” policy. Among the numerous guidelines was a provision requiring employees who possessed competitive information that was obtained in an unauthorized manner to return the information or face dismissal. To the best of her knowledge, however, these guidelines had not been formally approved. Another issue was the potential impact of potential US legislation regarding disclosure/transparency of the activities of publicly-traded firms. In addition, during her last performance evaluation, Mary’s boss told her that if the results of her research project were satisfactory and were delivered on schedule and below budget, she would be eligible for a performance bonus, salary increase and possible promotion.

Mary had the next hour before the plane landed to decide if and how she should return the document or if she should just slip it into her briefcase.

QUESTION: What would you recommend to Mary Smith, and why?

NOTE: In your analysis, you should consider the following issues:

– Possible biases that may exist

– Emotions that should be addressed

– Fairness to all entities involved (AAA, the competition, etc.)

– Need for reflective versus expedient decision-making

– Critical thinking factors (deductive/inductive reasoning, fallacies, etc.).

AGAIN — Be sure to include all references/information sources.

Please submit your assignment.

For assistance with your assignment, please use your text, Web resources, and all course materials.

Unit Materials

Measurable Terminal Course Objectives:

Apply the standard of APA style to all research and writing tasks.
Apply principles of quantitative and qualitative research to business cases.
Apply critical thinking skills to analyze business situations.
Appropriately use effective communication technique

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