How Normal is Normal? The Mitsubishi Motors Sexual Harassment Case

15 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Elizabeth A. Powell

Elizabeth A. Powell

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

J. Alsheimer

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P. Dowling

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

B. Pivar

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

This case illustrates Mitsubishi Motors Manufacturing of America's (MMMA) responses to allegations of sexual harassment in 1996 at its Normal, Illinois, facility. The majority of the case focuses on major events that took place between 1992 and spring 1996, culminating in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigation and class-action suit, which at the time was estimated to be the most expensive suit ever filed. The decision-maker in the case is Lynn Martin, former U. S. Secretary of Labor, who had been hired by Mitsubishi to help the organization take corrective action. Exhibits include a brief history on sexual harassment law and a description of the EEOC. This case works well with MBA and executive audiences to address how to restore credibility and reputation following a scandal. It also highlights the challenges that an outside consultant faces when hired to make policy recommendations aimed at image restoration.

Excerpt

UVA-BC-0128

HOW NORMAL IS NORMAL?

THE MITSUBISHI MOTORS SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASE

Revision

As she sipped her first cup of coffee, Lynn Martin read the opening paragraphs of “Assembly-Line Sexism?” in the May 6, 1996 edition of Time magazine.

The Eclipse, Galant, and the New Spyder autos that roll off the line of the Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America, Inc. plant in Normal, Illinois, some 140 miles southwest of Chicago are virtually free of defects. They reflect a good combination of Japanese design, which stresses continuous improvement, and American assembly and engineering skills.

. . .

Keywords: crisis communication, japan, public relations, publicity, female protagoniist, sexual harrassment

Suggested Citation

Powell, Elizabeth A. and Alsheimer, J. and Dowling, P. and Pivar, B., How Normal is Normal? The Mitsubishi Motors Sexual Harassment Case. Darden Case No. UVA-BC-0128. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=907737

Elizabeth A. Powell (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-982-2730 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.edu/faculty/Powell.htm

J. Alsheimer

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

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

P. Dowling

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

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

B. Pivar

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

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

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