Finalist in the Dark Side Case Writing Competition, organized by Critical Management Studies Interest Group of the Academy of Management (AOM), USA

Ethical Breaches at News of the World

Ethical Breaches at News of the World
Case Code: BECG119
Case Length: 15 Pages
Period: 2011
Pub Date: 2012
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.500
Organization: News Corp., News of The World
Industry: Newspaper
Countries: UK
Themes: Business Ethics, Media Ethics, Corporate Governance
Ethical Breaches at News of the World
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


This case study was a Finalist in the 2012 Dark Side Case Competition organized by the Critical Management Studies division of Academy of Management. It is about the closure of News of the World, the 168-year-old national tabloid of the UK, owing to various ethical breaches over the years. James Murdoch, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Chairman and CEO, News International, announced that the July 2011 edition of the paper would be its last. Many people were arrested, including the former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks and ex-NOTW editor Andy Coulson. News Corp had to withdraw its US$12.5 billion bid for British Sky Broadcasting Group following the public protest and political backlash brought on by the phone hacking scandal.

The case discusses the questionable practices which were common at the tabloid and which eventually led to its fall. The newspaper resorted to hacking phones and bribing police officers in order to publish juicy news. The public backlash over the phone hacking scandal led to a dip in its advertising revenues and ultimately paved the way for the shutdown of the media giant. News Corp. and its senior management came under severe criticism following this scandal. Though News Corp. had released a code of ethics in July 2011 and distributed it to all the employees, experts opined that the real challenge before Rupert Murdoch and the senior management was how to enforce this code. This case is aimed at MBA level students as part of the Business Ethics and Corporate Governance curriculum.


  • Understand various issues and concepts in ethics and its relevance to the corporate world
  • Analyze the ethical issues arising in the Media and the Press and briefly study yellow journalism practices, phone hacking, and bribery, which prevailed at NOTW
  • Discuss and debate the merits of statutory regulation vs self regulation of media
  • Discuss the challenges faced by News Corp. following the scandal and explore the actions that the company can take to address these challenges



Ethics, Business ethics, Ethical breaches, Corporate governance, Privacy, "do-whatever-it-takes-to-win attitude", Phone hacking, Bribery, Yellow journalism, Gotcha journalism, Defamation, Code of ethics, Corporate culture, Corrupt Practices, Scandal, News of the World, News International, News Corp, Ethics

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