Thursday, January 15, 2004

Bullying, brand image and viability

So I just need to play some of this back to check my understanding. Tort law mirrors public concerns, and public confidence in management is holed beneath the waterline. Where there are ways of adducing solid evidence of management misfeasance leading to outcomes incompatible with public interests, managers will get sued. They will be sued by investors and other stakeholders.

In terms of business risk there is also the aspect of brand image that took Anderson down much more surely than any court case. Once it becomes clear what a management is actually up to then it becomes difficult for managers to keep an enterprise afloat if it does not have a licence to operate. I bring in bullying because it is clear that the cases that have hit the news, most recently Parmalat, involve the abuse to power to manage the news agenda and the flow of information. We are moving closer to bullying being evidence in itself of dodgy practice.

So far, so good. There is a reaction against the self-aggrandisement of management, that comes not from a political impulse but from from a discipline that can provide much better predicition and a better base in evidence of what management decisions will lead to. Management is subverted from within by its clothes of rational judgement being stolen.

What we want to talk about is a new deal about the accountability of management. The public and investors and other stakeholders would like a better deal. The information for that better deal seems to be available via notions of viability and engineering processes to undersatnd it. But how can that evidence and accountability be kept in a place of disinterested information once the weight of political intrigue is placed upon it?