What happens when personal values and beliefs conflict with business decisions? This case, suitable for MBA, undergraduate, and executive learners, prompts engaging discussion of this issue. Oliver Sparling was a highly successful senior analyst at AFI International, a top consulting firm in Chicago with an open and tolerant workplace. He was also a gay man who had lived happily with his partner for over 10 years. Sparling encounters trouble, however, when one of the firm’s clients, Bible Books, Inc., takes exception to his “inappropriate” openness about his sexuality (including wearing his commitment band). Sparling’s boss calls him into the office and asks him to tone it down when he’s at Bible Books, Inc. “These are not easy economic times,” said the boss. “And this project is a big one for us. Basically, you’re doing the company a favor if you lay low, and once the project is finished, it will be like it never happened. Besides, you know that you don’t have anything to hide while you’re at home here in Chicago. This is just for when you are in Birmingham.” Sparling must decide what course of action to take.
Darden Business Publishing – University of Virginia