Thursday, June 2, 2022

Does Power Corrupt or Does it Attract Corrupt People?

HOEDERER – […] Moi, j’ai les mains sales. Jusqu’aux coudes. Je les ai plongées dans la merde et dans le sang.  (Jean-Paul Sartre – Les Mains Sales)

Power corrupts …

Most readers would be familiar with this quote attributed to Lord Acton – “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.  This is not only supported by anecdotal evidence documenting cases of people in power taking advantage of their positions to indulge in and often get away with corrupt behaviours.  Many of us have come across good people whose behaviour changed for the worse once they got promoted to positions of power.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

A Case for Dedicated Cycle Lanes

 Major cities across the world are investing significant amounts to create dedicated cycle lanes and an environment for safe cycling – see  Some cities like Cambridge, Massachusetts even have busses with racks in front where cyclists can hang their cycles before boarding for an uphill trip and others like Minneapolis have metros which allow cyclists to board with their cycles and hang them on racks in the compartment at no additional cost – see  In these cities, cycling is an integral part of the public transportation system. It is probably high time for Mauritius to be inspired by such examples and for our policy makers come up with the kind of bold decisions that the current challenging context mandates.


Once implemented these decisions are likely to result in a range of significant benefits that go far beyond enhancing riders’ safety. Some of these are listed below:

Environment:  less pollution, cleaner air, less noise.

Health: less respiratory problems, more regular physical exercise especially for people who otherwise lead sedentary lives and thus lower risks of heart problems, reduced risks of catching Covid-19 and other such infections as people would have an alternative to travelling in crowded and closed vehicles and be able to maintain social distancing.  It is not surprising that some cities are going out of their way to promote cycling.  Paris for instance offers a 50 Euro subsidy for bike repairs or tune-ups – see 

Economic:  reduced expenditure on imported fossil fuel and vehicles and on the expansion of the road network, opportunities for small entrepreneurs involved in repairing and/or renting bicycles

Finally, we should also expect that the new generation of environment/health-conscious tourists would be keen to cycle around the island rather than sit in air-conditioned vans which they may associate with higher risks of catching Covid-19.

It should be noted that opposition to dedicated cycle lanes also exists.  Much of it is based on poorly designed bike lanes and/or myths – see


It is hoped that this brief paper would trigger a fruitful debate that would culminate with a set of appropriate bicycle-related policies for the country not just of recreational use but also for daily commuting.

Published in Le Mauricien on 29 June 2021 -

Sunday, December 27, 2020

A case for a systematic implementation of the ‘flipped classroom’ at all levels

Imagine the era that preceded the publication of the first textbook for a given subject.   Teachers would individually devise their own teaching material and exercises, document these in their ‘class notes’ and subsequently deliver their classes.  They would often copy material from their ‘class notes to the blackboard along with relevant illustrations and exercises.  Students would in turn copy some of this material in their notebooks and work on the exercises set.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Dealing with systemic corruption

For years now the country has been struggling to reduce if not eradicate corruption.  Laws like the Prevention of Corruption Act 2002 have been passed.   And yet numerous debates and talk shows later, we still come across alleged corrupt practices some involving hundreds of millions of rupees.  These alleged practices, while potentially enriching a few individuals, also result in a drain of public funds.  Goods and services – often of poorer quality – are purchased using tax-payers money at higher prices than those charged by competing suppliers.  The beneficiaries are often those in power and/or their cronies.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Modernizing our Election System

It is generally acknowledged that some of our electoral practices are archaic and that while they served us well in the past, they have now become the source of serious problems. Moreover, they belong to an era which preceded the widespread use of information technology. There is also considerable mistrust in certain quarters about the use of e-voting. And yet transactions worth millions of rupees take place daily over the internet and through Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) across the country. We trust machines counting our bank notes and updating our bank accounts but insist on our votes being manually counted as they have always been.

Lockdown – the way forward?

 Covid-19 is very contagious and dangerous and we need to try our utmost to prevent it from spreading and claiming more lives.  Any death is one too many.  It is also a challenging time for decision-makers because they are being called upon to deal with a complex situation that they were the least prepared to handle.  In this crisis, we are extremely grateful to all those in the frontline who are bravely ensuring the continuity of essential services (health, retail, law and order, etc.) in spite of the risks involved.

The Covid-19 Pandemic and Leadership

Leadership experts like Warren Bennis refer to major crises as “crucibles of leadership” – situations that makes it possible for great leadership to emerge. The Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly one such event. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that it is potentially a turning point in human history – one that we have all been experiencing for the last few weeks. As such, the handling of this crisis will probably become one of the most quoted examples in discussions about leadership in the coming years. There are already articles comparing, for instance, New Zealand’s PM, Jacinda Ardern’s handling of the crisis with Donald Trump’s.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Toxic Management Practices: Impact on Health and Performance

...toxic management practices affect employees at all levels of the organisation. Those at lower levels often feel helpless while those occupying the higher echelons have been conditioned to believe that one has to be thick-skinned to thrive in the corporate sector to the extent of sometimes foregoing all self-respect and dignity.

Student Malpractices

A widespread phenomenon

Last week while walking in Port Louis I saw in a shop window one A-4 sized poster addressed to students of various universities in Mauritius having to write dissertations and assignments.  While it may appear quite innocuous, it set me thinking.  I talked to some younger people around me and they all confirmed knowing people who paid to get their assignments and / or dissertations written for them.  I am also aware that such services are also offered online. 

Should Employers Be Accountable For Employees’ Mental Health?

If someone fractures his ankle while at work, his employer is required by law (OSHA S.85) to formally report the matter to the Director, Occupational Safety and Health.  On the other hand, if someone suffers from complications resulting from excessive work-related stress and is hospitalised for a week, no such reporting is required.  And yet the second scenario is probably more frequent in today’s workplace.

The Leadership Development Challenge

In a recent article, I discussed the implications of confusing leadership with power and how this can be counterproductive in a service / knowledge economy*. In this article, I discuss some of the implications of this confusion of leadership with power and of the lack of clarity regarding what leadership is all about, on leadership development.

Demystifying Leadership

If one asks a random group of people for examples of leaders, the names that are first mentioned are those of key political / historical figures.   This is mainly due to the fact that for many people leadership is often confused with power.

The Disciplinary Committee

Legal Provisions

The Employment Rights Act 2008 states that “no employer shall terminate a worker’s agreement … for reasons related to the workers misconduct, unless (i) he cannot in good faith take any other course of action;

Friday, September 1, 2017

What if our elected representatives were really our employees?

One view which is often expressed in social media is that our elected representatives are our employees probably because they are paid indirectly by us through the various taxes that we all pay.  In this article, I would like to explore the implications of this thinking.