Thursday, December 09, 2010

My first Business Ethics Case !

This case presents the situations faced by a newly recruited Development Manager Mr. Fani at the Bangalore office of TeenTare, one of the largest technology organizations of the world. He found the real world quite opposite of what he was taught in the Distance Learning Program of a premier Business School of the country. Will he be able to use his business education to sort out the real life problems he is facing at workplace every day? Which side will he fight on - the senior management or his team members? Is he right in taking the decision based on the situation while performing his professional duties?

Bangalore! The Software and IT services industry hub in the state of Karnataka in Southern India has been attracting the software professionals from the all parts of the country for over a decade now. As the Software Industry is growing by leaps and bounds, major multinational companies (MNCs) are setting up their research and development, services and delivery centers in Bangalore. This relatively new industry in a country like India, which has predominantly rural population, whose primary professions are agriculture and related occupations, has given rise to unforeseen and complex managerial problems for the young as well as the older generation executives working in these newly set up MNC offices.

Mr. Fani had joined the organization TeenTare as a development manager in August 2007 after 7 years of work experience in some of the big names of telecom software development industry. He had been given a small team of 12 engineers, who all are recruited in the past two months, some with 2-3 years of work experience while others are recent graduates from the best engineering colleges of the country. While giving charge of the team, Mr. Morde, senior Development manager and reporting manager to 5 other Development Managers like Mr. Fani, has instructed him to build the capabilities of his team members such that they can tackle any problem given to them. Mr. Fani has planned and discussed the training program he is coordinating for his team with Mr. Morde as well as his team members. After two weeks of intensive training by experts from American office, the team is ready to take the charge of mobile phone application development.

However, after receiving the first project assignment, Mr. Fani discovers that the work is nothing like his team is trained for. The project schedule is very tight and even minor mistakes are not tolerated. There are many processes which he and his team members need to follow which are new to whole team. As there is no one to take care of these small but bureaucratic procedures, his team is busy in sorting these out half of the office time. Mr. Morde in presence of Mr. Fani instructed the team members to follow all procedures as the company’s policy requires all of its employees to do so. In one process Mr. Fani is requested by an engineer Ms. Deepa to review a document which she has prepared to send to an offshore client. Due to lack of time and excess work load Mr. Fani is not able to review the document and asks Ms. Deepa to take care of it herself and sent it directly to the client. The client however finds some mistakes in the document and pulls up Mr. Morde who then asks Ms. Deepa to explain the mistakes. Next time when Ms. Deepa requests her boss Mr. Fani to review the documents, he again asks her to send it directly to the client. Because of the rebuke received from Mr. Morde, Ms. Deepa informs him that her boss Mr. Fani is not available to review the documents prepared by her. Mr. Fani, after getting full dressing down from his boss Mr. Morde, calls Ms. Deepa to the meeting room immediately and asks her to explain why she bypassed him and directly complained to his boss. He threatens her with severe consequences in her performance appraisal. Now he assigns very hard and laborious work to Ms. Deepa requiring her to finish it all in very short duration. She is much tensed about the situation.

Ms. Deepa, being a talkative and much liked young lady spreads the talk about these incidents to all of her team members. As the other team members come to know about this, they also complain to Mr. Morde about the review and monitoring work being sidelined by Mr. Fani, while blaming the team members for the mistakes found in the documents by clients thereafter. These complaints create lot of trouble to Mr. Fani as he had to explain the whole situation to Mr. Morde and his superiors. Instead of setting his house in order as per the learning of his management courses, he determines to teach a lesson to Ms. Deepa and other team members who complained about him. He extends the probation period of Ms. Deepa and one other team member.
Moreover, on the insistence of his senior management to achieve the development targets, He has to make his team members set their yearly targets to very high level, which were very vague and almost impossible to achieve. With ever increasing work pressure and stagnant salaries because of bad appraisal by Mr. Fani, Ms. Deepa and one more engineer resign from the organization while other two apply to change their team citing lack of interesting work and uncomfortable work conditions under Mr. Fani. In her exit interview, Ms. Deepa criticizes Mr. Fani for his lack of leadership skills and technical expertise. However because of the political intervention by other development managers and with the support of Mr. Morde, who is from the hometown of Mr. Fani, Mr. Fani survives the inquiry conducted by Vice President of the Division. He closed the report on Mr. Fani leaving him with just a warning.

The support of Mr. Morde made Mr. Fani even more aggressive towards his team members. Now He sets even stringent targets and makes his team mates come to office on weekends citing work pressure from the client side. While achieving the targets on time and getting praise from the client side as well as from his Boss, he becomes the devil for his team members; they are not motivated at all as they see the work as routine and never ending. They start looking for better opportunities outside the team, and subsequently some engineers quit while others change their teams and projects. In the vacant positions, Mr. Fani hires new engineers, which work whole heartedly till they realize the true nature of Mr. Fani and his superiors. As one of engineer, while leaving the organization remarked, “I came to work for TeenTare, but ended up working for Mr. Fani and his Superiors!”

After some time while reflecting back, Mr. Fani realized that he was able to achieve the targets set for his team by his boss Mr. Morde and clients, but at the cost of his team members and their good feelings towards him. He wanted to change his image among his team members and other development mangers. But he is in ethical dilemma. Should he continue the way his organization wants him and his team to work or take a hard look on the situation and side with his team mates to enrich their work experience at TeenTare with more enjoyment and satisfaction. Given the appraisal policies and nature of work being received and done, he is not sure whether he will be able to side with his team mates while working with TeenTare. He wants to set preference between his professional obligations and his personal values of helpfulness and caring. After a stint of four years he is even considering quitting the organization so that he can be seen as more humane and understanding manager. How can he change his work environment and become a good manager loved by his subordinates?