During the 1980s I studied and wrote about management and leadership. Like others, my perspective was exclusively Western. In search of a different perspective, I travelled to Indian in 1988 where Professor Chakraborty and I became acquainted. The luxury of the Grand Oberoi Hotel where we met stood in sharp contrast to the Calcutta surroundings and to the humble and wise professor.
Professor Chakraborty has studied and written much about management and leadership from the Indian perspective. The professor identifies the Indian perspective, ‘Indian Ethos’, as being self/spirit oriented versus the Western parading ego/matter oriented.
In his books Human Response in Organizations: Towards the Indian Ethos (1985); Managerial Effectiveness and Quality of Work life: Indian Insight (1987); and foundations of Managerial Work: Contribution from Indian Thoughts (1989), Professor Chakraborty makes a strong case for Indian Ethos.
I had an opportunity of exploring the Indian Ethos at first hand in the autumn of 1989. Professor Chakraborty invited me to attend and to be a guest lecturer at a one week seminar, ‘Managerial Effectiveness’ based on Indian Ethos, that he was conducting. The seminar was held at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta for executives from Indian Companies.
The seminar was very different from European and American seminars I had attended. Professor Chakraborty had designed the seminar to allow each participant an opportunity to experience the Indian Ethos. He achieved this through integration of insightful lectures, selected readings, meditation and silence. Three times a day we meditated for 45 minutes were times of silence. These experiences, although at first foreign to me, resulted in a deep inner learning far beyond that which any intellectual or rational experience could have provided. I became convinced that Professor Chakraborty had much insight to offer established Western thinking in the field of leadership.
In this book, Management by Values: Towards Cultural Congruence, Professor Chakraborty delivers his message of Indian Ethos even more profoundly than before. In a penetrating way he analyses the shortcomings of an ego/matter orientation and illuminates the ‘reality’ of the self/spirit orientation. He argues that ‘It is from the depth of inner silence that they [leaders] derive their power to vision, lead and build’.
A great contribution of this book is Professor Chakraborty’s use of reason to help people open themselves to spiritual experiences that can result in a renaissance of true leadership in business and society.
Professor Chakraborty exposes the tragedy of India losing contact with her roots by importing Western ideas of management and leadership. It is ironic that as the West begins to discover what the East has always known, the East is in danger of changing and forgetting. It is possible that this book will be remembered even more for its importance in influencing Indian rather than Western more for its importance in influencing Indian rather than Western leadership perspectives.
Management by Objectives was a book I wrote in 1976. Over succeeding years, through an extensive range of organizational studies, it struck me that despite the range of elegant, rational systematized, analytic approaches employed-MBO included-neither effective and concrete organizational results, nor a wholesome and humane quality of work-life had become manifest in Indian. It gradually began to dawn on me that the problem lay substantially in the weaknesses afflicting the sphere of human values. For instance, in MBO, setting the level of objectives, or evaluating performance against them, and all such activities inevitably get entangled in the human values implicit within the role-players. This book, therefore, bears the title Management by Values. It is offered as ‘right brain foundation for the ‘left brain rational-analytic approaches like MBO to yield their potential benefits in much greater measure than is evident now.
About the subtitle, ‘Towards Cultural Congruence’, there are at least two points to make. Why cultural congruence? Isn’t humanity the same after all? Would we not, by aspiring for cultural congruence, undermine our openness to nourishment from other cultures? The premise of this book, as of its predecessors, is that it is a reality that cultures and civilization do vary a lot at the empirical, manifest, vyavabarika level. World civilization appears to have evolved like an orchestra, with a great many instruments in the ensemble. Although the underlying notes struck on each may be identical, yet each instrument is necessarily played in its own distinctive style and technique for true for true response. This is the major reason for my concern with cultural congruence. Another is that when in the name of openness we merely imitate, it cannot promote a genuine and enduring development capable of earning respect and admiration for India in the world. This volume does not subscribe to the determinism that importing the latest technology also mandates the import of methods for handling the human side of organizations, except at a very superficial level. Moreover, our openness to other cultures does tend to be sham unless it is preceded by respectful openness to our own roots. Honest, sincere cultural ‘chauvinism’ (as many call cultural congruence) has a solid redeeming core in contrast to gullible aping of other cultures. Nor do I share the facile assumption that the modern mind is more enlightened in any real sense than the classical mind. The second point about ‘cultural congruence’ is the widespread bewilderment affecting the Indian managerial mind-both academic and practising-about the very existence of a definable Indian culture. The surface strife and diversity in our Epics and society on so many scores confounds them and they surrender the task of delving deeper to discover the unity that lies beneath. It is sad therefore that our great modern thinkers-Tagore, Vivekananda, Gandhi, Aurobindo, for example-who have devoted their lives to the betterment of our society almost before the very eyes of this generation are often summarily dismissed in a scanty line or two as being irrelevant and much else. This seems to be scourge that afflicts the contemporary Indian mind. Hence, in Chapter 8 of this book, after a close, sustained and respectful scrutiny and assimilation of the thoughts of these modern rishis of Indian, I offer readers the phrasc ‘sacro-secular symbiosis’ to sum up Indian culture. As I understand it, it is Indian’s mission to recreate this synthesis of the spiritual and material-the former showing the light to the latter-through each endeavour of hers. It seems to be a crucial failure of the modern mind not to comprehend the great truth about Indian, that her material affluence has always followed her spiritual efflorescence. To enact again and anew this unique script is our basic duty today. This is India’s prime relevance to the world. The new-found, yet old-time, ecological awareness’ syndrome of our days unmistakably points to the duty of expressing this symbiosis in all kinds of organizations. Of course, in the light of human values, ecology has to include both ‘physical ecology’ and mental ecology’. The call to India, therefore, is to foster and offer ‘manager-sadhaks,’ and similarly, we need teacher-sadhaks, politician-sadhaks and so on to cultivate genuine Indian values.
Another thing about culture in a highly pluralistic society like India’s needs to be said. By culture we do not mean here just the sum total of external customs, i.e. deshachara (local customs) and lokachara (folk customs), or manner of prayer and worship, or architecture and music, and music, or dress and food, or poetry and paining...Culture viewed in this way has undoubtedly gained wonderful enrichmen from the ceaseless currents flowing into India from various corners of the earth millennia. Pluralism at this exterior level is therefore patent. But remaining content with our understanding of Indian culture at this level alone is akin to missing the wood for the trees. Nor is the ‘historical-anthropological-sociological’ interpretation of it adequate or integral. Tagore, in an essay entitled The Centre of Indian Culture (1919) said: The main river of Indian culture has flowed in four streams-the Vedic, the Puranic, the Buddhist, and the Jain. It had its source in the heights of the Indian consciousness’ (emphasis added), and Tagore is recognized as the most universalized embodiment of the essence of Indian Culture which remains concentrated deep in the collective unconscious of its people. This assessment has been a major inspiration to me in my work.
Currently there is a legitimate and growing interest in discovering the ‘Indianness’ of Indian management. These efforts are based primarily on empirical studies of various categories of successful Indian enterprises, probable following the lead of many recent American books of this genre. The approach in this book is almost the reverse. Whatever Indians apparently do today-good or bad, successful or sloppy-is not intrinsic ‘Indianness’ The empirical or the practical cannot determine the ideal or the normative. Rather, the empirical shall be judged as wholesome and worthwhile only if it represents the tireless striving to express the ideal. This is what ‘management by values’ should mean. Viewed thus, I doubt whether any Indian organization today reflects quite [that ideal ‘Indianness’ which, as mentioned before, lies in ‘sacro-secular symbiosis’.
Values for Indian Managers:
Roots in the Deep Structure
Values and Skills
Values System: Japan and China V. America
Values System: A Few Indian Examples
Values from the ‘Deep Structure’
Conclusion: Closing of the Indian Mind
Anatomy of Ethico-Moral Management
Glimpses of the Indian Backstage
Science and Technology v. Ethics and Morals
Ethics and Morals: Intellect or Emotions?
Ethics and Morals: Differentiation or Unity, Cause or Effect, Grabbing or Giving?
On to the Pilgrim Path
Conclusion: True Counsel
From Self To SELF: The Ascent from Pettiness to Dignity
Values and Purity of Mind
Towards a Feel or Anubhuti of the Self
What Next?-From Outsight to Insight’
The Indian Manager on Self v. SELF
Conclusion: The Tryst with SELF for Teamwork
Appendix I Few Things About Yourself
Appendix II Analysis of Sample
Management-by- Values Programmes:
A Qualitative Appraisal
The Three Modules: Concepts and Practice
(Towards an) Assessment of Results from the Modules
Conclusion: Towards Institutionalization
Nirvanshatakam or Atmashatakam (Song of the Self)
Questionnaires on the Evaluation of Values-System Modules
A Letter from the Head of the Management Development Division of a very large Private enterprise
Socio-Cultural Change and the Manager’s Travails
The Groaning Engineer
Is Change Being Deified?
A Few Salient Aspects of Socio-Cultural
Change in India
Conclusion: What Could Be Done
Social Values and Individual Attitudes:
Values: VAB or BAV?
The Spectrum of Changes: A Diver’s Eyeview
Conclusion: Sorting out the Cause and Effect Sequence
Appendix: Facilities to Officers
Appendix: Facilities to Officers
Detached Involvement: Work-Ethic and Ethics in Work
Work Ethic v. Ethics-in-Work
Constellation of Factors and Work-Results
The Law of Sacrifice and Service Through Work
Karma-vada, karma-yoga, Ethics-in-work and Work Ethic
Conclusion: Gita as Tranquilizer Energizer?
Sacro-Secular Symbiosis: India’s Vision of Humanism
Culture- specificity of Humanism
The Sacro-Secular Role Model
A Few Modern Experiments for Sacro-Secular Education by Indians
Need for Sadhna
Counterwave to Technicism
Sacro-Secular, Low-Entropy Society
Physicists: What Have They Got to Say?
Conclusion: Why Lose the Paradise?
Hierarchism as an Organizational Value
Hierarchy and Culture-Specificity
Theoretical Basis of Hierarchism
Refurbished Hierarchism for India
Conclusion Humane Hierarchism for Ever
Re- Discovering Indian Psychology for Man-agers
The Crux of the Confusion
Indian Psychology of Bliss (Ananda)
The Means, Process and Culmination of ‘Anandology’
‘Anandology’: Its Relevance to Human Response Development
A Polemical Detour
Conclusion: The Will to Ananda
Metaphysical Empiricism in Leadership and Institution-Building: The Role-Model of Swami Vivekananda
Metaphysical keynote: The First Principle
Vivekananda’s Insights into a Leader’s Oualities
Vivekananda’s Insights into Nation-Building
Vivekananda’s Own Leadership Modelling
Conclusion: Towards Classical Love and Discipline
Mental Health: Rise from the ‘yayati Syndrome’ to ‘Atmic Poornatwa’
The Impediments to Sound Mental Health
Counselling for Illness to Health-In the Mind
Conclusion: The Subjective Not the Objective
Appendix: LETTER FROM A STUDENT
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