Multinational corporations – those are the kind of companies that can’t be reigned in by tax or environmental restrictions and whose managers can do what they like, right? Yes and no. In the simulation game “Fonta Industries”, everyone reaches their limit, be it trade unions, international investors or management. Can Fonta Industries survive, and if so, in which form?
For a number of reasons, the fictional corporation Fonta Industries with its branches Fonta Services and Fonta Motors is in the middle of a severe crisis. Something has to happen in order to ensure that losses don’t increase even further. There is a looming danger that an investor will take over the company and break it up.
In a classic knee-jerk reaction, the participants acting as management reach for the most common remedy: cutting jobs! Or at least, they are considering it, until after some discussion it dawns on them that revenue, profit and knowhow are closely linked to employees. The fact that the unions are not without power is also new to many young people. But this raises the question of how much solidarity different trade unionists actually show each other. There are representatives from the two main branches of Fonta Industries, but also from different production sites in two countries. While a solution is searched for and fought over between management, government representatives – who also hold shares in the company – and the trade unions, the stock market is constantly reacting. A strike seems likely? Shares plummet. The investor increases his share in order to be able to attend the general assembly? Nervousness or optimism could both ensue…
No matter what happens to Fonta Industries in the end, the participants have learnt that economic decisions always require that unions and politicians are involved – and that this doesn’t necessarily make things any easier. After the game, German, European or global aspects of the economic and social order can be discussed – depending on the learning objectives.
Facts + Figures
Pupils aged 16 or older, students
- Understanding global economic interrelations
Konrad Adenauer Foundation
Hertie School of Governance Berlin
Königswinter and other locations Germany-wide