May 4, 2010

Modi & IPL - A corporate communication ethics case study

The world has moved beyond IPL to World T20 cup, in which India is doing well so far and can be counted again as favourites. But i would like to go back to the IPL scandal which was taking most of the prime airtime and bandwidth. The scandal has been discussed in detail in all forms of media but i would like to present a view which i feel may not have been discussed much.

For a moment i want to keep away all the lies, financial irregularities, money laundering, oneupmanship and other IPL related scandals. There is a line of thought going in the forums that, BCCI and hence IPL is a private body and they cannot be questioned by the government or the media unless someone makes a complaint. So now let me consider this as the base and protray my view points. In any company before you join, we have to sign an agreement which has company ethics, trust and confidentiality clause. I want to discuss the stupidity/mistakes done by Mr. Modi regarding the corporate ethics and his breach of trust.

1) Corporate details not to be divulged especially in social media

"25% of kochi team is given free to Rendezvous sports for life.The same equity is non dilutable in prepetuity.What does that mean? Why ? Wait "
Who are the shareholders of rendezvous. And why have they been given this 100's of million dollar bonanza ? 
Kochi shareholders are: Rendezvous 25% free, Rendezvous 1%,Anchor 27%, Parinee 26%, Film waves combine 12%,Anand Shyam 8%,Vivek venugopal 1%
Rendezvous free equity - held by kisan,shailender & pushpa gaikwad,Sunanda pushkar,Puja gulathi,jayant kotalwar,vishnu prasad,sundip agarwal "       
The first tweets which opened the can of worms is the first blunder done in company ethics. Any knowledgeble head of the company knows, revealing company details in public that too in social media will for sure recieve the ire of the boss aka board of directors or chairman. In all the frenzy created by the tweets, no one questioned the ethics of divulging the company details.
In any corporate affair the leaking of company matters will be an immediate firing order.

2) Leaking of internal communications
"The other mail chain dates from April 14, three days after Modi's original tweet revealing the Kochi franchise shareholding structure and a day after he received a reprimand from Manohar for it. It begins with a mail from Modi to "friends" - said to be 71 council members, officials and stakeholders - suggesting that "propriety and fair play demand" that the IPL release the names of all stake-holders.

"We should as public body disclose ownership details along with name of directors of all franchisees once again. Earlier we at the time of bidding only disclosed the names and share holding. If everyone is okay with this we will issue the same right away, that way all doubts and aspirations (sic) being cast on IPL franchises and members of GC [governing council] appropriately rebutted. I hope you all agree with the same."
The next day, the mail chain shows, there was a reply from Manohar. "The issue is complex and needs detailed deliberations and legal implications need to be gone into and hence can be considered at the GC meeting, where all documents and papers relating to the bids are available."

The biggest sin in any company will be the leaking of internal official communication between the boss and the employee. That too if the leak is selective which enhances your reputation and tarnishes the boss's. So basically Mr Modi to make himself the right guy leaked an official communication which is essentially a breach of trust. Now as a boss will anyone like to have an employee like this in an organisation?.

3) Threatening to expose your colleagues
 "Wait for the ipl to finish - I will reveal the men who have tried to bring disrepute to the game and how we stopped them from doing it.
Thank you all for your message of support. It is really appreciated. I am still chairman of IPL. Just suspended. Wait - we have just begun."
 Threatening to expose your colleagues especially politcal masters is the least you are expected to do when you are under investigation. This is the final straw in any corporate matters to fire you and cut loose. Especially if you threaten to expose people who are politically connected like IPL will ensure you not in anyones friends list. This is the ultimate breach of trust in political circle, as he already burnt enough bridges he will find it difficult to find support in his comeback.

 4) Modi as a whistle blower

There is a great deal of support from his business partners, colleagues and customers( the IPL fans) that he has done a world of good to the IPL and cricket as a whistle blower by divulging the info. This raises his equity by a couple of notch as a victim. Now the question needs to be asked is, what is the possibility of a whistle blower to be remain in the same company. If you take any historic happenings, the whistle blower will go out of the company and for him to get a decent job in any other company is very remote. No one will want to touch a guy who has a history of making company details public even if it is for good of general public. The maximum they can do is go as freelance author or work in some media.

So if Modi is considered as whistle blower how we can expect him to remain in the IPL as a boss?

  Even if Mr Modi somehow manages to extricate himself from the mess, he will find it difficult to go back into the fold. No one in right mind will support a guy who is not trustworthy and breaks company ethics and rules. So finally, Mr. Modi can be the finest marketing chief we have seen in cricketing circle, but he will not be considered as a trustworthy colleague in corporate circle. IPL3 may be the last we have seen him as chief of IPL.The best possible thing is resign from his position and divulge all the company secrets in an exclusive column or a book. Atleast this will give him and his followers something to talk about.

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