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Conflict Minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Part of the Pentalemma Series on Managing Global Dilemmas

Dylan Scudder

Against the backdrop of an increasingly globalized business environment, this book provides readers with a pragmatic approach to international 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, Conflict Minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the ultimate test of finding business solutions in extremely volatile situations. Based on firsthand experience and years of rigorous research, this book leverages a real-world case of a global tech company grappling with the dilemma of whether to continue sourcing a vital mineral in the conflict-affected region of the Democratic Republic of Congo at the risk of ruining its reputation or to suffer the immediate financial consequences of pulling out. Putting readers in the role of consultants to a client operating in the area lets them experience defining moments of managing with limited information, time pressure and a dwindling budget. 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 Conflict Minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo equips business leaders of today and tomorrow with valuable know-how they can apply to the uncertainties of everyday business in an international context.

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1. Defining the Problem


Chapter One

Defining the Problem

You are a manager at a company called Pentalemma Inc., which specializes in stakeholder management. The company took its name from the Greek penta (five) and lemma (assumption), the forgotten wisdom of identifying five solutions embedded within a problem and then choosing the best one.1 Pentalemma’s headquarters are near Geneva, Switzerland, with several hundred employees around the world. The most frequent problem that Pentalemma’s clients have is that their stakeholders disagree with each other. Pentalemma’s competitors are often limited in their ability to help clients find creative solutions because they tend not to think beyond dilemmas, which offer only two options.

Pentalemma managers offer a better service because they can see five solutions to stakeholder problems. They find the client’s most difficult problem, usually a disagreement between their stakeholders, and then create five options for them to choose from. Clients try to choose the best “win-win” option for themselves and their stakeholders.

As a Pentalemma manager, you help your clients improve their business performance by working with them to resolve as many ←1 | 2→stakeholder dilemmas as possible. Most of Pentalemma’s clients are big companies with offices in many countries around the world. Some of these offices are in unstable or dangerous places. Your client is California-based Speedy Devices Inc. (SD), a global producer of consumer electronics (see Figure 1.1 below). SD now has a problem at one of its suppliers in Africa, in the Democratic Republic...

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