Monday, July 13, 2009

And Deliver Us From Inappropriateness

No single word pops out of the mealy mouth of modern management more frequently than "inappropriate". It manages to avoid being specific about the transgression while suggesting that the person using it has moral standards significantly higher than everybody else's.

And now it's "inappropriate" behaviour involving a researcher that has got Hardeep Singh Kohli suspended from his roving reporting role for BBC's The One Show. Somebody reported somebody else and before anyone could stop it the corporation's disciplinary procedure had swung into action and he's being hung out to dry for six months - and this is where it really sounds as if the captain of the second eleven has got pissed and thrown up at the back of the coach - "to reflect on his behaviour". Honestly. Wouldn't we rather be dismissed in shame than sent off to reflect on our behaviour?

A couple of thoughts occur:
1. In the media the standard interpersonal stuff which makes every work environment interesting is often further, er, enlivened by the presence of fame, money and influence. Part of me thinks that if you don't want to tangle with what's involved when highly competitive show-offs work closely together for long periods of time you should get a job with, say, the Church of England. But then I've read "Barchester Towers" so I know that it goes on pretty much everywhere. And the researcher who was on the receiving end of the "inappropriate" behaviour didn't formally complain. Which makes the whole incident even more puzzling.
2. What with this and the Carol Thatcher case you do wonder who's supposed to be managing The One Show. Local difficulties like these shouldn't turn up on the front pages. In my experience if you have to instigate a disciplinary procedure you've lost control. This particularly applies with freelance contributors. Surely you take them for a walk and warn them how they might be coming over to people. If that doesn't work you just don't ring them any more.


  1. I'm especially loving the fact that HSK's quote is "nobody's accusing me of sexual harrassment". Paging Doctor Freud!

  2. So, he is not married, and she didn't complain. Not that the BBC are terrified of their own shadow or anything....

  3. In some ways I'm really hoping that this is a sexual harrassment case in the waiting and not thinly disguised racism from whoever made the complaint. I'd rather HSK be fallible than a victim.

  4. Well forgive my John Le Carré line of thought but isn't it more likely that he was named and shamed in this very formal manner to make it clear there wasn't the slightest suggestion that his departure had anything to do with his race? The BBC I know goes to such lengths to avoid even the most distant hint of racial discrimination that it often blunders into other forms of (less controversial) discrimination instead.

  5. Perhaps the researcher in question thought that a formal complaint would result in a splash in the tabloids due to his increasing profile and didn't have the stomach for that. Who would? Sounds like he has put his hands up and is happy to spend some time in the sin bin rather than allow the press to get to hear all the details.

  6. The trouble with this sort of thing is that only those involved know what happened.

    'Innapropriate behaviour' can cover so much that to debate it seems pointless unless we know a little more of the details.

    Isn't that kind of conjecture more 'appropriate' for the tabloids?