Ethical Leadership: Ratan Tata and India's Tata Group




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Introduction

"[W]e have endeavoured to uphold a value system that has been part of our tradition, and we've been disadvantaged repeatedly in that we have lost projects, projects have been delayed...," said Ratan Naval Tata (Ratan), Chairman of Tata Sons Ltd., the holding company of The Tata Group, on the difficulties of doing business in his home country - India, "And in that sense, we would like to keep the Group ferociously protecting this one asset.."

As he prepared to hand over the reins of the group to his successor by the end of 2012, Ratan's job was to ensure that his successor carried forward the legacy of the Tatas and did not view its ethical standards and values as a burden while operating in this key emerging market.....

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Ratan was credited with transforming The Tata Group under his leadership and bringing it into the 21st century. While the septuagenarian was applauded as an astute leader and for continuing the Tatas' tradition of ethical leadership, his name was also drawn into the infamous 2G scam that surfaced in India in 2010. Allegations that the Tata Group had not ‘walked the talk' and that it was involved in what was being described as India’s biggest scam, had dented the image of the group. For generations of Indians and even outside the country, the word Tata had been synonymous with "trust" and "integrity". The group was well known for its corporate social responsibility and principles such as the "Tatas don't bribe" and the "Tatas don't indulge in politics". Strict adherence to these principles had led to the group prospering under the predecessors of Ratan and under his reign becoming the best-known Indian group in the world....

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