The Commissioner held senior leadership accountable for illegal “sign-stealing”, even though the conduct generally involved players and low-level operations employees.

By Nathan H. Seltzer, David Berman, Christopher D’Agostino, and Nell Perks

On 13 January 2020, the Major League Baseball Commissioner handed down significant punishment (including fines and suspension) to the Houston Astros baseball team and its managers following an investigation into “sign-stealing” (a practice that violates the Major League Baseball Regulations) during the 2017 season and playoffs. In doing so, the Commissioner stressed the importance of culture for setting the tone and preventing misconduct within an organisation. The Commissioner’s decision is in line with the approach of a growing number of regulatory and prosecuting authorities around the world, and, although the matter involves sports, it contains lessons relevant to all institutions, companies, and corporate leaders.

For more information, see Prioritizing Corporate Culture: Lessons for Companies from the Major League Baseball Sign-Stealing Investigation.

If cricket is more your speed, lessons on prioritising culture can also be drawn from Latham’s exploration of the 2018 Australian ball-tampering scandal.