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Reference no. 717-0071-1
Prize winner
Published by:
IBS Center for Management Research (2017)
Revision date:
14 pages
Data source:
Published sources


In November 2013, the managing editor of Indian weekly news magazine Tehelka, Shoma Chaudhury (Shoma), was shocked when she received an email from her subordinate and woman journalist, Nina, accusing Tarun Tejpal (Tarun), founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tehelka, of sexually assaulting her on two occasions during THiNK Fest 2013. In the email, the victim provided a detailed and graphic account of the alleged sexual assault and demanded an official written apology from Tarun, an acknowledgement of the assault to be circulated among the staff and bureau of Tehelka, and the setting up of an anti-sexual harassment cell at Tehelka to probe the matter. Though known for her feminist leanings, Shoma's handling of the situation came in for severe criticism from various quarters, with critics calling her response legally questionable, inadequate, and flawed. She was criticized for her delay in setting up an independent committee to look into the matter and for allegedly trying to cover up the issue. In fact, she faced more criticism than Tarun, the perpetrator of the assault. According to Shoma, her integrity was subsequently repeatedly questioned by people from her fraternity and by the public at large. Defending herself, she said her actions were based on solidarity and feminist principles. Eventually, Shoma resigned 10 days into the crisis. The case allows for the discussion of key questions, such as - Was Shoma made a scapegoat by the media? What was at stake for her? Were her actions justified? What could she have done differently?


Business ethics; Gender, sexuality in the workplace; Sexual harassment; Power; Leadership; Organizational behavior; Corporate governance; Critical management; Dark side
Other setting(s):
2013 - 2014

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