The Humane Society and SeaWorld: Orca Obstacle
(7 pages of text)
In 2016, the respective heads of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. (SeaWorld) were trying to reach a mutually beneficial resolution to their dispute over orca whale breeding. The HSUS opposed SeaWorld's practice of breeding captive orcas and each leader was facing challenges. SeaWorld was experiencing growing negative publicity and a decline in park attendance and revenues, while the HSUS was in the process of publishing a book encouraging business leaders to join the animal protection movement and incorporate HSUS values into their strategic plans. After a decades-long antagonistic relationship, how could SeaWorld and the HSUS find common ground? Could SeaWorld continue operating in a way that was financially beneficial for the parks and entertaining to guests, while also being respectful of the welfare of the orca whales in their care? Could they meet the HSUS’s goals of animal protection?
This case can be used at the undergraduate or MBA level in courses related to negotiation, business law, business and society, and social and legal environment of business in order to teach collaboration, dispute resolution, and mediation. It can also be used in courses related to business ethics or strategic management, to teach issues of ethical decision making, corporate social responsibility, stakeholder management, crisis management, corporate culture, leadership, and the categorical imperative. After completion of this case, students will be able to
- learn the benefits of reaching a “win–win” resolution;
- recommend points of compromise between opposing companies;
- understand the varied affects decisions can have on a variety of stakeholders; and
- formulate alternative actions that organizations can take to arrive at a solution.
Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Recreation
United States, Large, 2016
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