Jess Smith and the Design Firm

2 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by Andrew Wicks

Andrew Wicks

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Jonathan Neeley

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Jenny Mead

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Jess Smith, the recently hired director for the magazine division of a small contract publishing company in Manhattan, faces a dilemma when a client wants her company to produce images that go against Smith's personal beliefs. A project she inherited features pictures of a heavy metal band posing with anti-Christian and Satanic/devil worship images. A Christian, Smith finds these images blasphemous and also believes they promote behavior that is both pernicious to society and incongruent with her firm's mission. As the deadline for publishing the project fast approaches, Smith has to decide what to do.

Excerpt

UVA-E-0354

June 15, 2010

Jess Smith and the Design Firm

Jess Smith had been hired recently as art director for the magazine division of a small contract publishing company in Manhattan. A graduate of New York's Pratt Institute, Smith had been working in graphic design for five years, and she saw her new appointment as the breakthrough that she needed to continue following her passion while supporting herself and planning for her future. Furthermore, the company was well known for being socially conscious, often doing pro bono work that supported hospices and homeless shelters around the city. As a practicing Christian who drew deep value from her faith, Smith considered this a big plus.

When she took the job, Smith faced a number of orders that her predecessor had only partially completed. She organized and filed the orders according to their deadlines, planning appropriate times to work on each so the transition would be a smooth one for clients. Smith did not examine the content of each project in great depth but instead got right to work on those with impending deadlines.

Two months into her job, Smith opened a file for a local music magazine's cover story. The project had been mostly completed and required only some basic formatting; while the deadline was a mere 20 hours away, Smith had no doubt she would finish with time to spare. Upon digging a bit deeper into the project's content, however, Smith realized she had made a serious oversight. The article featured numerous photographs of a heavy metal band posing with desecrated images of Christ and signs that promoted devil worship and torture. After a quick online search, Smith discovered that the band was quite popular in the underground scene and often promoted drug use and violence.

. . .

Keywords: ethics, ethical issues, publishing, stakeholders, religion, moral decision making, values, reputation, corporate responsibility

Suggested Citation

Wicks, Andrew and Neeley, Jonathan and Mead, Jenny, Jess Smith and the Design Firm. Darden Case No. UVA-E-0354. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2974161

Andrew Wicks (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/wicks.htm

Jonathan Neeley

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Jenny Mead

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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