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Breaking the Code of Silence

Breaking the Code of Silence
Case Code: BECG151
Case Length: 11 Pages
Period: 2013
Pub Date: 2018
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization: Tehelka
Industry: Media
Countries: India
Themes: Ethics, Giving Voice to Values, Sexual Harassment
Breaking the Code of Silence
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


In late 2013, Nina (name changed), a Senior Correspondent at an Indian weekly news magazine Tehelka was left emotionally scarred and was undergoing significant turmoil about the situation in which she found herself. According to her, the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tehelka and veteran journalist, Tarun J. Tejpal (Tejpal), had sexually assaulted her in the elevator of a five-star hotel on two occasions during THiNK Fest 2013, an annual conference organized by the magazine in Goa. The stakes were high — in the line of fire was the founder of Tehelka, a celebrated journalist who was considered a crusader for women’s rights and a champion of the underprivileged. Nina, as a journalist, had always urged women to speak out and break the silence that surrounded sexual crime, but found herself at the cross roads. She feared losing her job and a possible retribution by the powerful Tejpal. However, according to her, her feminist principles and inner conscience drove her to voice her values and she finally decided to bring the incident to light. But her dilemma was — What should she say, to whom, and when? What would be at stake for her?


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Identify appropriate factors, including cross-cultural, surrounding a values conflict such as the issues that enable the protagonists to take action or prevent them from doing so
  • Focus on how an individual raises values-based issues in an effective manner — what he/she needs to do to be heard
  • Develop strategies to express the values conflict convincingly and in a way that evokes conversation and problem solving
  • Practice articulating one’s position in a values conflict situation by recommending what Nina could say/do
  • Examine the GVV approach to empower the protagonist to take action to deal with sexual harassment and ethical lapses in an organization
  • Examine actions to be taken when an employee experiences any kind of sexual harassment and ethical lapses in an organization
  • Recognize the need to implement norms to prevent sexual harassment in an organization



Ethics; Giving voice to values; Sexual harassment; Perpetrators’ resources and strategies in sexual offending; Leadership; Organizational behavior; Corporate governance; Cross-cultural research; Hofstede; Values conflict; Problem solving; Trauma research

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