Does FIFA Management Failed to See the Sign on the Wall? Contributions to Instill Ethical Values into FIFA DNA

Professor Alain Ndedi

International Council for Family Business; ISTG-AC; YENEPAD; Saint Monica University; University of Johannesburg; University of Pretoria; Charisma University

Akepe Enobi

International Institute of Certified Forensic Investigation Professionals Inc. (IICFIP)

Professor Kelly Kingsly

Independent; Copperstone University ; Charisma university

Date Written: November 3, 2015


The writing on the wall is an idiom implying that a negative event is easily predictable based on the current situation that we are living. In recent years, many analysts, commentators and even soccer legends were complaining on the way the international governing football body, FIFA, is run. Despite all these cries, FIFA management was reluctant to discuss with third parties how to fix their business. Fortunately, the last three months have seen the scramble of this powerful organisation that many thought that it cannot succumb. Surprisingly, last month, the ethical committee of the world governing football body suspended four of its most powerful members among them, the president SEPP BLATTER replaced by ISSA HAYATOU.

The question that arises is how to fix FIFA?

The current paper is an attempt to bring a contribution to the saga that FIFA is encountering. To achieve this, a literature review on ways and means to fix struggling companies was conducted with the aim of bringing inputs on the FIFA scramble. The findings brought the concept of corporate DNA that is the heart of any organisation. Within FIFA DNA, recent events showed that ethical values are lacking, and that there is a need to instill these values as it always the case in struggling companies. Therefore, to fix the struggling FIFA, it is imperative to instill values into its DNA.

Morgan (1997) defines corporate DNA as the visions, values, and sense of purpose that bind an organization together to enable individuals to understand and absorb the mission and challenge of the whole enterprise. Lindgreen and Swaen (2010) regard it as an organization’s culture and strategy. Baskin (2006) views the corporate DNA as flexible, universally available database of company procedures and structures which develops from the company’s history, and that the organization’s employees behave to satisfy the resultant corporate identity. He also likens the availability of information throughout an organization to the presence of DNA in all of an organism’s cells or units.

However, Shed (2001) asserts that people can evolve their own DNA or their unique mix of thinking style, personality, and preferences. But, to really evolve and change the company’s DNA requires new leaders with different ways of looking at reality, different ways of thinking and different preferences. According to the author, this new blood strengthens the overall company gene pool by adding new mindsets and new personalities. This will certainly lead to conflict; but it will also make the company more adaptive to the changing marketplace.

The paper recommends that a new management is needed at the head of the FIFA organisation, and that the survival of FIFA is impossible with the current leadership. The paper also brings another recommendation by interrogating Neilson, Pasternack and Mendes (2003) who are coming with the concept of the adaptative DNA. According to the researchers, changing a company’s DNA holistically means weaving intelligence, decision-making capabilities, and a collective focus on common goals widely and deeply into the fabric of the organization so that each person and unit is working smartly and working together. Something needed with the world governing football body. The bases of this adaptative DNA according to the authors are the structure, the decision rights, the motivators and the information.

The structure looks at what does the organizational hierarchy look like? How are the lines and boxes in the organization chart connected? It also tries to understand how many layers are in the organisation hierarchy, and how many direct reports does each layer have? The decision rights implied who decides what? How many people are involved in a decision process? Where does one person’s decision-making authority end and another’s begin? As for the motivators, it is concerned with what are the objectives, the incentives, and career alternatives do people have within the organisation? It also deal with how are employees are rewarded, financially and non financially, for what they have achieved? Finally with the information, the organisation must develop metrics that are used to measure employees performance? How are activities coordinated, and how is knowledge transferred? How are expectations and progress communicated? Who knows what? Who needs to know what? How is information transferred from the people who have it to the people who require it? (Neilson et al.; 2003)

To conclude, the paper views an adaptative DNA as a way to revamp FIFA DNA, but not as a panacea to all ills and problems that the world football governing body is facing.

Keywords: Adaptative DNA, FIFA, Ethic

Suggested Citation: Ndedi, Alain Aime and Enobi, Akepe and Kingsly, Professor kelly, Does FIFA Management Failed to See the Sign on the Wall? Contributions to Instill Ethical Values into FIFA DNA (November 3, 2015). Available at SSRN:

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