Behind closed doors: the DC-10 and the demise of McDonnell Douglas


This case has three primary objectives. First, it allows students to think through a conceptual cost and benefit analysis associated with the decision-making process in line with basic economic thinking. Students will revisit core concepts of marginal benefit vs marginal cost, the notion of opportunity costs and the role of sunk costs in this type of analysis, while also highlighting the nature of market structure, oligopolies and competition across firms in an industry. The second goal of this case is to consider the role of business ethics in the DC-10 case: specifically, to consider the potential influence of moral awareness and moral disengagement in unethical decisions made by McDonnell Douglas. Students will develop an understanding of these concepts and solidify their learning by applying them to the case and engaging in active discussion. Finally, the third goal of the case allows students to explore organizational culture and specifically offer recommendations for organizations thinking about the link between decision-making, the role of ethics and culture.

The Case Journal, Vol. 15 No. 6, pp. 648-668.