“Management Concepts and the Timeless Indian Classica”

via H. Balakrishnan published on October 13, 2008


Reference your edit ” Beyond just an exam paper ” (TNIE – 13 OCT).
If ever there was a crying need for “ethics in business practices”,  I believe it is NOW!! Thus if IIM (A) has introduced such a course as aprt of its overall MBA curriculum, it has to be welcomed wholeheartedly, as opposed to lacing the edit with ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’!!
After all, the financial tsunami that is sweeping the globe at present can be simply attributed to ‘ human greed ‘ and ‘ avarice ‘ – unethical human traits.
Unfortunately, we in India have blindly followed the management thoughts emanating from the Western countries particularly the USA. These are based mostly on the lure for materialism
and a perennial thirst for profit irrespective of the quality of the means adopted to achieve that goal.The western idea of management has placed utmost reliance on the worker (which includes Managers also) – to make him more efficient, to increase his productivity. They pay him more so that he may work more, produce more, sell more and will stick to the organisation without looking for alternatives. The sole aim of extracting better and more work from him is for improving the bottom-line of the enterprise. Worker has become a hireable commodity, which can be used, replaced and discarded at will. The western management thoughts although acquired prosperity to some for some time, has absolutely failed in their aim to ensure betterment of individual life and social welfare. It has remained by and large a soulless management edifice and an oasis of plenty for a chosen few in the midst of poor quality of life to many.
This was foreseen by Adi Shankaracharya thousands of years ago, when he said [ an English translation of the verse ]: ” Those who practiced this Dharma [ Adharma ], due to becoming bereft of discrimination and wisdom, developed excessive sensory desires, with the result that Dharma or Value awareness was overthrown, and Adharma and social evils multiplied “.
In this light, it was indeed encouraging to read in the media in the recent past, many B-Schools including a study of selected excerpts from the Indian epics – Ramayanam and Bhagavad Gita – in their course content. For instance, the Wharton Business School at U-PENN, Kellog Business School, the IBS-Hyderabad etc. According to many management gurus: ” Students of business and administration can learn a lot from the Indian epics.” Again, ” There are  many modern management concepts such as EQ, MBO, Kaizen, strategic planning, organising principles and etc where its origin can be traced from Valmiki Ramayana.” Anyone who has done even a cursory reading of the Ramayanam and the Bhagavad Gita, will agree that the underpinning of both these timeless classics, lies in their emphasis on the human trait of ‘ethics’. We therefore ought to welcome the IIM(A) INCLUDING ‘ETHICS’ in thier course content.
However, I wonder whether concepts of management  from the Ramayanam and the Bhagavad Gita will be selected to be taught in the IIMs for fear of the ‘H-WORD” and the accompanying ‘secular decibels’ that will invariably follow!!!

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