Background Note | HBS Case Collection | July 1991 (Revised June 1993)

Conflicting Responsibilities

by Joseph L. Badaracco


Presents a framework for resolving issues in which managers' responsibilities--to shareholders, employees, other stakeholder groups, and to their own values and commitments in life--conflict with each other. The framework analyzes these issues in terms of duties, consequences, personal values, and practicality. Provides an analytic framework for a course or module on business ethics, that brings together basic considerations in moral philosophy with practical pressures, perspectives, and concerns of business executives.

Keywords: Ethics; Employees; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; Management Practices and Processes; Organizational Structure; Personal Development and Career; Business and Shareholder Relations; Business and Stakeholder Relations;


Badaracco, Joseph L. "Conflicting Responsibilities." Harvard Business School Background Note 392-002, July 1991. (Revised June 1993.)