Professor Jeff Baker, “The Unmaking of Video Symphony” — The CASE Journal

December 5, 2018 | Professor Jeffrey R. Baker has co-authored the article, “The Unmaking of Video Symphony: Personal Ethics, Business Decisions, and Management Practices,” published in The CASE Journal (2018). The project is funded by the Provost through a Cross-School Collaborative Grant with co-authors from the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. It is a peer-reviewed case study for use in graduate courses on business ethics.

Abstract of The Unmaking of Video Symphony: Personal Ethics, Business Decisions, and Management Practices:


In the 1990s, Mike Flanagan foresaw video moving from analog to digital and developed an equipment rental business to meet the needs of the entertainment/media production industry. By 1996 he established a second company to offer training in the use of Avid, a digital video-editing program. Flanagan sold the rental business in 1998 and by 2002 expanded the training away from a business model to a full-fledged college business model. By 2014 what started as a successful training program developed into a negative interaction with the US Department of Education and Flanagan found himself being forced out of business.

Research methodology

This case was originally a client-based project conducted real time in an MBA-level marketing course at the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University.

Relevant courses and levels

The case is well suited for a variety of business and law courses that integrate ethical decision making in their curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The case allows for a greater understanding of the implications of managerial behavior tied to ethical beliefs and the possible outcomes that may result. It also allows for a stronger grasp of the integral nature of management, staff, consumers and outside organizations on the pervasive impact of non-ethical behavior. Last, this case creates a framework for students to assess how ethics influence managerial behavior that will affect an organization’s success.

Theoretical bases

What ethical duties and obligations does a business owe to its customers and other stakeholders? Is ignorance an excuse for failing to meet those ethical obligations?

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