The case we are going to examine is that FIFA’s ethics committee banned its president, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platin the UEFA president over ethical issues. Although they both were initially blamed for corruption no evidence of corruption was found. “Both men were cleared of corruption charges but found guilty of a series of other breaches including a conflict of interest and dereliction of duty over a 2m Swiss francs (£1.35m) “disloyal payment” from Blatter to Platini, the UEFA president, in 2011”. (Gibson 2015)
Blatter has worked at FIFA for forty years and he is blamed for controlling and expelling his enemies at FIFA. He was thought to be supporting the World Cup at Qatar due to corruption. However, no such charge is levied against him. (Gibson 2015)
Platini, the UEFA president also worked at FIFA from 1998 to 2002. Both are banned by FIFA because they failed to present any agreement for the payment of 2m Swiss francs made to Platini from FIFA on the orders of Sepp Blatter. Both claimed that there was a verbal contract for the payment but the committee refused to accept their position. The group of FIFA members who want reforms in the organization believes it is involved in corrupt practices. 14 of FIFA members were also detained by the US due to their involvement in the corrupt practices. However, FIFA clarified that it has nothing to do with Mr. Sepp Blatter and Michel Platin and there are no charges of corruption against them. (Gibson 2015)
This essay will analyze the position of Sepp Blatter and why he has made such a payment and how he would like to show ethical leadership. It would analyze the macro and micro ethical leadership strategies and choose one primary macro and micro leadership strategy along with one alternative macro and micro-strategy to ensure that Mr. Blatter becomes an ethical leader. (Gibson 2015)
There are apparently three major objectives that Sepp can choose. They are,
Be an ethical leader
Be an unethical leader
Choose to not get involved in any such situation that requires ethical decision making.
In this situation, the objective that Mr. Blatter should choose is being an ethical leader. Being an unethical leader is not an option because it is not acceptable in the modern society and that is why he is banned. He can also choose to not get involved at all but then, being the leader of a multinational organization that is supposed to promote sportsman spirit, he should behave ethically and ensure everyone in the organization and playing Football is behaving ethically. Therefore, the first option of being an ethical leader is the most suitable objective for Mr. Blatter.
There are certain obstacles in his attempt to become an ethical leader. These obstacles are of several kinds like Environmental, organizational and individual. They are as follows,
The environmental obstacles are perhaps most destructive in this case. Particularly there are,
Parasitic corruption behaviors within the FIFA that may be entangled with productive behaviors that further support the corruption sub-system,
There are small, daily entrapment, ethical violations both co-opt potential reformers and are used as weapons against potential reformers as it is believed that Blatter has controlled the FIFA and expelled his enemies at the organization. Definitely, there were such opportunities available at the organization which he exploits and perhaps he was forced to do this because had he not done this, others might have done similar things to him.
Then, personally and individually, many of the corruption network players can be very nice, generous, fun to be with, smart, and even courageous while also being parasitic and destructive.
So the environment at the FIFA is such that it pressurizes people to do unethical acts in order to remain at power in the organization. There were no corruption charges or abuse of power charges against him in forty years shows that either he is not corrupt, or the whole organization lacks ethical values.
Mr. Blatter has to change all this situation within the organization if he wants to become an ethical leader.
It seems that the power culture at the FIFA is such that “End of winning justifies the means”. Again this needs to be changed as if the situation stays as it is, either Blatter will be forced to resign or he would be staying with unethical means.
There are certain individual obstacles as well. He is so much used to power and staying in the limelight that it is difficult for him to control his desire and lose the job by trying to change the organizational culture by becoming the ethical leader. He is the beneficiary of the corrupt system of FIFA. He has to overcome his selfish interests in order to be an ethical leader.
Macro Ethics/ CSR Lead Strategies
The three suitable macro level Ethics strategies in this case are
Vision and Values-Based Tactics
Top Down Compliance Code
And Win-lose methods
Here, Mr. Blatter is the head of an organization and he is capable of changing the organizational culture and being an ethical leader which is also his objective. So, he is better to adopt the vision and value-based tactics. Top Down compliance code may also help in becoming him the ethical leader but it may not make every one ethical and as he would ideally write rules for this purpose, and people can find ways to circumvent rules for their own benefit. So, the mission and values-based tactics would be useful in this case and so Mr. Blatter would be best to choose this macro strategy.
The three micro level ethical leadership strategies that Mr. Blatter can use for are,
- Mission and values articulation.
- Mission-based internal and external networking.
- Mission-based hiring.
Among these micro strategies, mission and values articulation would be the best strategy. This is a better strategy as compared to mission-based internal and external networking and mission-based hiring. This is because it would not only provide a mission to the organization that values ethics leadership but also values that all the people in the organization are expected to follow. If the mission and value are properly communicated, it would ideally make them ethical and follow ethical values and the apparent corrupt practices at FIFA would vanish. This would fulfill the objective of Mr. Blatter to become an ethical leader.
Why May The Plan Get Fail?
The above-mentioned plan can get fail as well. This is because it is possible that other beneficiaries of the system do not want that the values and mission of the organization are altered to be based on ethics and so force Blatter out of FIFA. This is very much possible as such is the culture of the FIFA and it is believed that Mr. Blatter has forced his enemies out of FIFA for the last 40 years. So it is possible that others could do the same with him as well. If such a case happens, then Mr. Blatter needs to have a contingency plan in order to ensure that his objective of being an ethical leader is fulfilled. This is because there is a high possibility that Mr. Blatter would not be able to change the organization being inside the organization and the beneficiaries of the system would force him out of the organization.
If the primary Macro ethical leadership strategy and the relevant micro ethical leadership strategy fails, then Mr. Blatter needs to have an alternative strategy to meet his objective. In this case, bottom-up power methods would be the best macro ethical leadership strategy as compared to power based win-win methods and win-lose methods. Win-win methods are appropriate only if Blatter is working in the FIFA and if he is ousted, then it cannot be used. Then, the win-lose method would be less useful than bottom-up power methods because it would involve convincing others to help in launching a movement against unethical acts in the organization. But, using the macro-strategy of whistleblowing outside the organization to media and regulators will ensure that immediate action is taken against the culprits in the organization and also the organization is properly managed so that such an incident does not happen again.
The micro-strategy of whistleblowing outside the organization to media and regulators is better than the threatening those in power in the FIFA because they may refuse to comply and quietly talk with upper-level managers would not be an option because they would be responsible for ousted of Mr. Blatter at the first place. So asking regulators and media to intervene would be the best option.
This is a case of abuse of power. The case explains how the power corrupts people and how high ethical values are important for the people in charge of the organizations, particularly those covering the whole world in some way. FIFA is an even a more important organization because it is responsible for the development of the biggest sport of the planet, Football which has a numerous number of players and members. So if its leaders do not exhibit higher ethical standards, it is highly likely that the followers would also not behave ethically. Moreover, through the essay, I also learned how one can handle the systematic failure with regard to ethical values and how ethical values can be instilled in an organization and if people do not allow you to improve the organization, what other forums are available to achieve the goal of ethical leadership.
Summary and Conclusion
The Ethics Committee of FIFA has banned its president, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platin the UEFA president over ethical issues. They are charged for conflict of interest and abuse of power and compromising their positions for personal gains. Mr. Blatter has also made payment of 2 million Swiss Francs to Platin from FIFA without any contract and failed to produce one in the court. Instead, both men claimed that they had a verbal contract for that matter. However, the court refused to accept any verbal contract.
It is assumed that the objective of Mr. Blatter is to uphold a high level of ethical standards and become an ethical leader for his organization, FIFA. There are an individual, organizational and environmental obstacles that hinder the success in this regard.
The suggested macro level ethics leadership strategy is Vision and Values-Based Tactics
Whereas the micro level ethics leadership strategy is mission and values articulation. This would ensure that all member ensure the ethical values they are expected to uphold and that the organizational mission is also based on ethical values and prohibit unethical practices.
If this strategy is failed and Mr. Blatter is forced to leave FIFA, then the alternative macro strategy is bottom-up power methods and the suggested micro-level strategy is whistle blowing outside the organization to the regulators and the media so that they can help to regulate the organization and its operations in an ethical manner and ethical values are instilled in the organizational systems and people in the FIFA afterwards start behaving ethically. This case taught us the importance of ethical values for the people in power and how they can abuse the power if they do not uphold a higher level of ethical values. It also shows that if the leader of the organization wants, it can stop illegal and unethical practices in the organization and there is some outside help also available for this purpose if the internal efforts for the organizational change are failed.
Gibson, O. (2015). Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini banned from football for eight years by Fifa. the Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2018, from https://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/dec/21/sepp-blatter-michel-platini-banned-from-football-fifa