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Graphic format case
Reference no. D718-0066-1
German language
Philipp Schreck (Wittenberg Center for Global Ethics)
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6 pages
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This is a German version. This case illustrates the Prisoners' Dilemma (PD) in a comic strip. Twenty-one images with speech bubbles depict how two suspects are caught by the police and offered the choice between remaining silent and betraying their buddy. The PD illustrates how people may fail to cooperate even though they would benefit from cooperation. Offering a precise explanation for a wide range of problems we observe in cooperative societies, the PD belongs to the standard curriculum in economics programs. In addition to its 'classic' use, the PD is also relevant for many issues discussed in (business) ethics courses. It is a suitable analytical tool to address questions of human interaction, the evolution of morals, and norm violation. The purpose of this case and the corresponding teaching note is to explain the use of the PD as a case study in the context of business ethics classes.


Comic; Cartoon; Social dilemma; Collective action; Unethical behavior; Responsible leadership; Organizational culture; Institutional design; Corporate responsability; Business ethics; Cooperation

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