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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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3. Brainstorming Solutions


Chapter Three

Brainstorming Solutions

You are now in your third and final year of the DRC project. You and your team are in the middle of a post-conflict zone. Local fighting escalated at the end of your second year but has recently stopped. Despite the bloodshed and chaos, and that fighting continues nearby, MNCs such as SD have managed to maintain their activities. Several guerrilla groups created an alliance and defeated the central government troops. They have established a new territory, and new government called the “People’s Republic of South Kivu” (PRSK). Fighting could resume at any time in the PRSK as well.

PRSK may nationalize the coltan industry. China has become increasingly influential in the area and representatives from Chinese companies have offered to buy all coltan production directly from the new government. At the same time, some villages have said that they could create a village cooperative and sell the coltan to foreign companies. SD urgently needs to decide whether to leave now or try to do business with the new regime. It is far from clear that it has legitimacy or will last; but for now, it is the “only show in town” and if SD is to ←57 | 58→continue to operate here, some form of accommodation with it must be found.

The new government is offering a modicum of security but presents itself in the radical language that is often more associated with the late 20th century...

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