Ethical and Management Case: Comcast & NBCU Merger

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Aleksandra Dukovska, Chinkhand Dorj, Melissa Silva, Javed Afridi

For almost one year public opinion in America is divided over the case of Comcast and NBCU deal for a joint business venture and what that concentration will mean for the diversity of voices. Our joint research paper shows the ethical dilemma whether this merger will serve public interest or not. In favor of the Comcast and NBCU merger is Congressman Bobby Rush who is asking from FCC and DOJ to approve the agreement. U.S Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders asked from FCC to oppose the merger of NBCU and Comcast.

He believes in media diversity and questions the media concentration. Senator Sanders’s column in Politico wrote that citizens need more diverse information and sources of news. The Federal Communication Commission should make the final decision on the future of the Comcast and NBCU merger and decide upon the ethical dilemma whether this merger will serve to the public interest or it will not. (NBC-Comcast not in public interest (2010, December 6).

The FCC’s informal merger review clock on the Comcast-NBC Universal deal expired on November 23, 2010 two weeks ago. Most observers are expecting that the final word out of the FCC and Justice Department closer to this year-end or in early 2011. It means the FCC does not want to make a quick decision to approve the merger of NBCU and Comcast. FCC does not want to make a quick decision to approve the merger of NBCU and Comcast.

The Commission’s review of this transaction has been extremely thorough and has afforded all interested parties ample opportunity to review the record and present their arguments and evidence. News of NBC CEO, Jeff Zucker, stepping down to allow Comcast COO, Steve Burke, to lead the merged Comcast-NBC resulted in an uproar among NBC employees.

While there is little overlap among responsibilities between NBC and Comcast employees, implying there will be few layoffs, the executive level will require an overhaul of the management structure. The management structure is an ethical dilemma for the merged companies because the executives are the future decision-makers of the company and directly affect the company’s future success. Steve Zucker’s responsibility, for example, to place people into the companies’ leadership positions was a failure and led to the decline of NBC entertainment holdings (“Jeff Zucker,” 2010).

Employees object to radical changes in the seniority system that will endanger the livelihood of many long time employees. In reaction, NBCU has acted to reduce the proportion of union workers in their workforce. This could hurt the company as NABET/CWA members are the most experienced and capable television production workers.