Tag Archive for 'frode'

Understanding today’s leaders and their ethical deficiency to understand Umberto Agnelli’s role

To try to understand the goals and conducted actions of a global leader such as Umberto Agnelli, president of Juventus and a member of a family that has made the history of Italy, it seems important to me to understand what the characteristics of the global leader are today.

The role of the global manager that has emerged in recent years identifies an individual who has trained and worked in different countries, expresses himself in multiple languages, has a sense of urgency responsibility, transparency in relationships, and is open-minded. He or she is independent but must also listen and know how to collaborate.

Note how none of the descriptions given hint at the ethical issue at all, and one should not be misled by the term responsibility; by this term we refer exclusively to that which is owed in regard to the interests of the company. Now if young potential leaders have these characteristics, how are established leaders describable?

One of the most suggestive interpretations has been formulated by Michael Maccoby, according to whom there is something new and reckless about the entrepreneurs and top managers who lead major multinational corporations today. They possess competency profiles of absolute value derived from the greater significance that the world of work plays in every individual’s daily life and the changes taking place in business, which require individuals who can provide strategic visions and can convey charismatic leadership. These leaders exhibit different characteristics from those of the managers of the previous generation.

Maccoby believes that leaders today exhibit psychological characteristics attributable to narcissistic personalities. Productive narcissistic leaders are independent individuals who are not easily influenced, innovators, have a strong vision of the future, effective strategists, succeed in business to gain power and glory. They are centralizers and want to learn everything that can influence the development of the company and its products/services. They want to be admired but not loved. They are able to pursue their goals aggressively. At the moment of success they run the risk of losing touch with the environment. Their competitiveness and desire for success continually push them toward new goals, in identifying enemies to defeat, in extreme cases and under stress they may exhibit paranoid behavior.

They need to have confident, conscientious people next to them who are oriented toward practicality and operational management. Another essential component of productive narcissists is their ability to attract people; through their language they convince others that they will succeed in achieving those goals that now seem only sketchy. Many believe them to be charismatic individuals, skilled orators who can convey enthusiasm and strong emotions to those who listen to them; in short, they know how to get people to participate in their dream and know how to make it seem achievable only if there is everyone’s commitment. This is because, despite their independence, they still need to feel the closeness of others.

In this regard, John F. Kennedy’s words during his inaugural address when he told Americans are now part of 20th century history: “Now the call resounds again: it calls us not to arms, however necessary arms may be, not to battle, however much we are already fighting, but to bear the burden of a long and dark struggle that may last for years [...] a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, misery, disease and war itself [...]. Therefore, citizens, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

He represented a significant brick in the creation of the Kennedy myth, as he succeeded in conveying a solid message of hope and commitment, after the inaugural address nearly three-quarters of Americans approved of their young president. This type of personality also naturally has limitations that if they became dominant would block its positivity. The main critical points stem precisely from having developed in a very pronounced way those psychological and leadership characteristics that are fundamental to their self-actualization.

It is true, in fact, that alongside the benefits they derive from being individuals with a very specific vision of the future, with the ability to analyze a lot of information effectively, with high self-esteem and with pronounced decision-making abilities, there are costs that arise precisely from possessing these kinds of characteristics and that arise in high-stress situations. The first critical point concerns the reduced ability to listen to others when they feel attacked. Many often argue the need for this attitude, since if they were to listen they would never make any decisions and the company would fail. A second, related point concerns their low tolerance for criticism; they do not like their decisions to be questioned. Narcissistic leaders often seek that total and uncritical cooperation provided to yes-men.

Ethics in soccer

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Ethics in sports: what conditions are conducive to fraud

The phenomenon of cheating has been particularly investigated in the business world. The reasons that lead to financial fraud have been investigated, Three broad and different categories have been identified: conditions, organization structure, and choice, and they can also be applied to this particular type of fraud that is doping.

The first condition, concerns motivations and pressures to use the fraud. Pressure on the company to achieve its intended goals plays an important role in taking this route. In this situation, executives deliberately commit illegal actions to deceive investors and creditors in relation to poor or unfavorable financial performance. In the world of sports, the need to achieve results at any cost and the pressures exerted on athletes to do so represent situations similar to those highlighted in the world of finance, not the least of which relate to the possibility of seeing one’s compensation rise by virtue of sporting success.

The second relates to the organizational structure that can foster the development of an environment in which fraud has a good chance of success. In this regard, in the cases that were uncovered, it was found that these were environments characterized by irresponsible and ineffective leadership. This was possible because the highest corporate level was directly involved. The corporate governance attributes that characterize these illegal situations are aggression, arrogance, cohesion, loyalty, blind trust, ineffective controls, and gamesmanship. The first two concern attitudes and motivations of managers who want to be the leaders in that type of business or even exceed the earnings expectations formulated by analysts. Cohesion, loyalty, and gamesmanship increase the likelihood of not looking at the books, of not sensing the warning signs. These combined with blind self-confidence and ineffective controls can undermine the work of internal controllers themselves and block their role in preventing and detecting fraud. In sports this has been found in those cases that have been referred to as “state doping,” but this has also involved the omertà and connivance that have been highlighted within specific sports circles.

The third category concerns the manager’s decision-making process and intentionality in implementing the fraud. The choice is between properly and ethically pursuing business objectives and instead using illegal strategies to blow the company’s stability and growth out of proportion. Management can be urged to exercise illegal actions in the presence of certain favorable conditions concerning:

  • Personal financial advantage – management’s gain is linked to company performance through profit sharing, stock compensation or other forms of benefits.
  • Willingness to take risks – desire to make decisions that may also involve criminal or civil risks.
  • The opportunity to defraud – corporate organization is such that it seems possible to activate financial fraud procedures.
  • Pressure from third parties – pressure is exerted internally and externally to the organization in order to maximize shareholder value.
  • Ineffective controls-the chances of getting caught are very low

Purely in sports, the intentionality of the athlete to want to use illicit substances to improve his or her athletic performance plays an essential role. Money, fame and success are at the root of this kind of fraud, and if you add to that the ineffectiveness of controls and pressure from third parties … it is really hard to resist.

Book review: A Guide to Third Generation Coaching

A Guide to Third Generation Coaching

Reinhard Stelter

Dordrecht: Springer Science, 2014, p.254


This book talks about coaching from a societal perspective. Since the beginning coaching has been interpreted as a process to increase managers’ skills and in any case as a system to approach and solve problems. Third Generation Coaching   is oriented on values  and create meaning underlying aspirations, passions and habits. This concept remember me the Amartya Sen identity idea, when he explains that every day we are part of different groups and in this way we have a multiple identity, build on this different contexts and roles. Thus, Third Generation Coaching talks about our identity, view as interpersonal process continuously in movement. Coachees and coaches  live a space of self-reflection not to improve specific competences but to permit to the coachees to know better themselves and may be to see their life in a new perspective.  Really, this coaching vision is an invitation to change stride, moving to a different interpretation of our life.  For this reason Stelter underlines the main role played by values “as important landmarks for navigating in life.” Today where financial fraud in business and doping in sport are so diffuse, a changing process based on values and ethics became fundamental to guarantee social respect and freedom form illegal actions. In fact, Stelter developed this new coaching approach in a time where values are not very well represented in our society, where at the contrary every day the newspapers published news about bankruptcies or doping cases like the most famous is Lance Amstrong fall. The book talks about the necessity to build in professional or every life meaning-experiences, based on our past stories and the present in order to have a better future. Third Generation Coaching changed also the coach role, he/she became a facilitator of the coachee’s reflections concerning is cultural roots and social relations, very important because determining his/her confidence into the social environments. Third generation coaching proposes a form of dialogue where coach and coachee are focused on creating space for reflection through collaborative practices and less concerned with fabricating quick solutions. Aspiring to achieve moments of symmetry between coach and coachee, where their dialogue is driven by a strong emphasis on meaning-making, values, aspirations and identity issues. Coach and coachee meet as fellow-humans in a genuine dialogue. I can say that also in sport we assisted in an evolution of this kind in the program of athletes’ mental coaching. Till 10 years ago the programs for them were related almost exclusively to increase specific mental skills, to use during the most important events. At this approach, successively, has been added an approach more oriented to reflect about their life style, to the positive role the athletes can play in our society, to doping as negative value for them and for the society because based on deception.

Dope on wheels: Lance Amstrong story

If we thought we knew all about the Lance Armstrong’s story, the new book “Dope on wheels” by Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O’Connell tells in detail of a life dedicated to the fraud.

The women – Armstrong never hid his doping from the (many) women in his life. His first wife, Kristin Richard, distributed cortisone tablets to the USPS Cycling team and stored Lance’s EPO in their refrigerator. When she and Armstrong divorced, she signed a nondisclosure agreement as part of a $15 million settlement.

The sex – Lance Armstrong was a notorious lothario; his teammates dubbed him FedEx, because the company’s slogan “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight,” described his outsized appetite for podium girls, female fans, and cycling groupies—even during his marriage. His teammate Floyd Landis remembers one night out during training camp where Armstrong ended the night in a private room of a strip club with two naked dancers and a pile of “what looked like cocaine.” 

Greg LeMond –  He has always had a contentious relationship with Armstrong, whom he believed was doping from the very beginning. Armstrong, in turn, would always resist comparisons to the three-time champion, and once called him a “fat ass.” Jeff Garvey, a longtime friend of both men, resigned as president of the Lance Armstrong Foundation because attacks on the character of the retired cyclist were such routine part of the corporate culture.

UCI and a Culture of Cheating -Kathy Lemond testified that in 1999, Armstrong’s sponsor Nike paid off UCI president Hein Verbruggen to cover up a positive test. Armstrong then tested positive for the banned substance EPO two years later, but again bribed UCI into silence. During the 2006 Tour, he offered a $20,000 bounty to any rider who could ensure that Floyd Landis—now racing for a rival team—would not win.

The team - Armstrong was the de facto leader of the USPS cycling team, and he was often tyrannical and abusive. He would not allow his other teammates access to the best equipment, but was insistent that every cyclist dope. Armstrong was also paranoid about his teammates revealing his use of banned substances; he once said to his roommate Jonathan Vaughters, “now that you are doing EPO too, you can’t go write a book about it.”

(Read more on Thedailybeast)

Video on fraud by Footballer Association

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The lords of frauds

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