Case | HBS Case Collection | October 1993 (Revised March 2006)

Conflict on a Trading Floor (A)

by Joseph L. Badaracco Jr. and Jerry Useem


A junior salesperson on FirstAmerica Bank's trading floor is assisting a top salesperson, Linda, on a deal to finance the construction of a new cruise ship for Poseidon Cruise Lines. While the terms of the deal are being worked out, he realizes Linda has taken advantage of the Poseidon executives' unfamiliarity with complex financial structures to build an outrageously high profit margin into the deal. When the executives become suspicious of the prices FirstAmerica is quoting, Linda asks the protoganist to send them an intentionally misleading fax so that the deal will not be held up. Holding the personal belief that "before a blind man you shall not put a stumpling block," he does not know if he can bring himself to send the information.

Keywords: Cost vs Benefits; Ethics; Values and Beliefs; Profit; Knowledge Use and Leverage;


Badaracco, Joseph L., Jr., and Jerry Useem. "Conflict on a Trading Floor (A)." Harvard Business School Case 394-060, October 1993. (Revised March 2006.)