Surfacing differences

R. Shekar | Updated on March 27, 2011


The board was concerned about the adequacy of safeguards against intellectual piracy. The directors had asked the company to secure a commitment by a specified date, from every employee to protect the intellectual assets of the company. Since several questions were raised by employees, the office of the Chief Executive Officer put out a communication kit and initiated a campaign to secure their commitment on time. If anyone had serious reservations, they were invited to record the intensity level of their reservations (5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest) with a brief narration of their reasons for dissent.

The list of exceptions were analysed and categorised according to the intensity of disagreement for compliance. The intensity levels were ranked and put up to the office of the CEO for meriting exceptions.

Cynics questioned the legality of the agreement to enforce the consequences of infringement on the offenders.

Agnostics doubted the adequacy of signatures to prevent the damage to company's reputation.

Escapists wanted a cap on the penalties for infringement to let off offenders lightly.

Trojans identified loopholes by which the provisions in the agreement could be flouted without inviting reprisal from the employers.

Sceptics felt that signature drive was a lame excuse to NOT finding a definitive resolution to the problem.

Purists felt that the very initiative of the management to secure such a signature was an indication of mistrust and must not be enforced.

The frequency table shows how the data connect.

Since the list of those seeking exception belonged to the privileged set of employees comprising the seniormost cadre, unionised category with long tenure, empanelled set of experts on hire, it was a disquieting revelation.

Is it left only to the weak and the meek to volunteer to swear allegiance to the policy?

While the exercise did succeed in surfacing the differences, if left unresolved, it may make a mockery of the drive for intellectual propriety.

Will the list of exceptions send out a signal of defiance by the ‘powerful few' to the ‘powerless many' to question the legitimacy of the employers' right to safeguard their knowhow?

What options could the directors consider to get the non-compliant employees to see reason?

Published on March 27, 2011

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