Coffee and Conflict in Colombia

Part of the Pentalemma Series on Managing Global Dilemmas

by Dylan Scudder (Author)
©2020 Prompt XVI, 88 Pages


Against the backdrop of an increasingly globalized business environment, this book provides readers with a pragmatic approach to strategic management of complex issues that arise from the tension between fiduciary and ethical priorities. If the challenge of management is making decisions in situations of uncertainty, Coffee and Conflict in Colombia is the ultimate test of finding business solutions in extremely volatile situations. Based on firsthand experience on-site and years of rigorous research, this book leverages a real-world case of a global coffee consortium facing the challenge of negotiating wages for its farmworkers during a low-intensity conflict in and around Colombia. Beyond the direct consequences of the negotiation, many farmworkers are ready to join local militia if a wage deal cannot be reached, thereby fueling the cycle of local instability and violence. Putting readers in the role of consultants to a client operating in the area lets them experience defining moments of managing this high-stakes situation with limited information and considerable time pressure. Almost as if "parachuting" into an escalating conflict scenario, readers form critical relationships with characters that introduce them to management tools and techniques they need to arrive at a successful conclusion. The excitement and intensity of Coffee and Conflict in Colombia equips business leaders of today and tomorrow with valuable know-how they can apply to the uncertainties of everyday business in an international context.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • Epigraph
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Figures
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. Organizational Development
  • 2. Action Research
  • 3. Force Field Analysis
  • Conclusion
  • Other Books by this Author


Coffee and Conflict in Colombia provides readers with a hands-on approach to dealing with the complexities unique to international management. The book draws strategically on this complexity to help readers cultivate greater critical thinking. It goes beyond the usual static business decisions related to setting the right price or memorizing truisms of management, choosing instead dynamic real-world cases that require detailed deliberation and creative problem-solving. While the book has been fictionalized, it draws on firsthand fieldwork and rigorous research on actual business cases with many characteristics that readers will recognize.

Each of the three chapters in the book starts out with a brief background of the context and the company, and then confronts the reader with a formidable and escalating challenge to work through. The scenarios include a high degree of complexity that companies often face in fragile environments that are unusually uncertain, whether in developing or industrialized countries.

With a focus on cross-sector collaboration, and managing the tensions between financial, social and environmental priorities, the trilogy ←xi | xii→helps readers learn how to develop creative solutions to seemingly insurmountable dilemmas. The book contributes in this way to management skills as well as to the knowledge needed to resolve issues in economic development, peace and conflict studies, political science, international relations and related fields.

Although the topics deal with high levels of complexity, they are written in an engaging and accessible way for current and future managers interested in stakeholder management, business in developing countries, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), sustainable business, international entrepreneurship, strategic leadership and global business issues.

Coffee and Conflict in Colombia is written as a trilogy to let readers experience how a business challenge evolves over three distinct phases in one location. This design enables readers to “stack” their learning from one part of the book to another. As business issues take on an increasingly global character, the material is organized to help the next generation of business leaders prepare for a wide range of scenarios in uniquely challenging environments.


XVI, 88
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (March)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2020. XVI, 88 pp., 3 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Dylan Scudder (Author)

Dylan Scudder has worked on every continent besides the Antarctic, which is next on his list. With an MA in conflict studies, a PhD in executive decision-making, five years with the UN, and over 15 years in corporate training, he uses books as learning adventures for business leaders.


Title: Coffee and Conflict in Colombia