English 101


Consider a decision that faced the board of directors of Hershey Foods,

headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Hershey had $4.4 billion in sales in 2004, and had as its majority shareholder the $5.4 billion Milton Hershey Trust.

The Trust in 2002 decided that it wanted to put Hershey up for sale in order to diversify its assets. The residents of Hershey were extremely concerned as they envisioned job loss, reduced support of the community through fewer taxes and other financial impacts, and a weakened tourism industry, especially if the company were sold to a foreign investor. Since the board did not represent the stakeholders who would be impacted by this decision, an ethical decision that considered all stakeholder perspectives was less likely (though not impossible). Contrary to some Western European countries, the United States does not require stakeholder representation, such as employees or local citizenry, on corporate boards.

What do you think the board should have done?

What are the key facts relevant to your decision regarding the sale of Hershey?

What is the ethical issue involved in the sale and the decision process?

Who are the stakeholders?

What alternatives do you have in situations such as the one above?

How do the alternatives compare, and how do the alternatives affect the


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