Another Example of Poor culture Generating a Crisis (ball tampering incident - 2018)

An example of poor culture and bad behaviour is what Australian Cricket team experienced during the "ball tampering" incident. The incident involved one of the team's players trying to modify the shape of the ball illegally, ie with sandpaper.

The incident incurred in Cape Town, South Africa in March 2018. It resulted in the Australian cricket team losing 3 key players (including captain and vice-captain),

"...their coach, their chairman, the CEO, the head of commercial operations and their General Manager. They also lost their naming rights sponsor Magellan Financial Group..."

Tim Wigmore 2019

Many fans reacted negatively.

"...the salience of the image of the men's national team is heightened by concerns about participation. Overall it has declined by 7% since 2016 from 392,000 to 365,000..."

Tim Wigmore 2019

Other reports claim that the true figure is 250,000!!!!

"...there was a need to reconnect the national team with fans and a commercial imperative to change Australia's image. Such crises require a change in leadership, culture, marking position and messages to mitigate damage to the bottom line..."

Simon Chadwick as quoted by Tim Wigmore 2019

The whole incident was an indication of a broader cultural malaise. Previous Australian cricket coaches (Mickey Arthur - 2011 to 2013 and John Buchanan - 1999 to 2007) had been very critical of the team's culture.

Cricket Australia was regarded

" be arrogant, controlling and compliant in creating a win-at-all-costs mentality that led players to 'play the mongrel'..."

Centre for Ethical Leadership's Report as quoted by Tim Wigmore 2019

Some measures used to rectify the situation included

- the 3 players involved in the incident (Stephen Smith, Dave Warner & Cameron Bancroft) were suspended from playing cricket above the club level for around 12 months

- changing senior personnel: a new team captain (Tim Paine), a new coach (Justin Langer), new CEO ( Kevin Roberts), etc were appointed

- commissioning internal and external reviews

- providing leadership training (authentic leadership) based on Harvard's leadership program and book, ie Discover Your True North by Bill George

"...all culture is behaviour so if you behave well you've got a good culture. If you behave poorly you've got a poor culture. So you've got to set about every day making sure that the behaviours are the ones that you want in the cricket team..."

Justin Langer as quoted by Tim Wigmore 2019

"...the goal would always be to win because we are in professional sport. But the expectation that the players have of themselves and we have of them, it to compete with respect..."

Kevin Roberts as quoted by Tim Wigmore 2019

Attempts to rectify the situation included

- re-engaging the public by signing more autographs, allowing TV cameras in the team's dressing room to make the players more relatable, etc

- recruiting respected and successful former captains (Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh) to mentor the players to be both good people first and the best cricketers possible.

- developing a code of conduct for players around credibility, honesty and integrity.


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