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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Capitalism is facing a crisis - and desperately needs a remedy

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“ ... business should not just be about one self but about the society and the environment it works within ”

The Route to Dharmacracy Page 4 of 4

In fact, in February this year, the Indian School of Business (ISB) set up a research centre called the Centre for Leadership, Innovation & Change, that, among other things, is looking at this area of Indian philosophy in management. The idea is to research deeper into it, and, perhaps, include it in the management course.

Capitalism is facing a crisis - and desperately needs a remedy. “There are many reasons for this,” says Govindarajan, adding that a central problem is that there is something rotten at the core of American corporate values - it measures success by short-term personal financial gains. That needs to change...

Ethical Dharmacracy

M. Rammohan Rao, Dean of ISB, feels Indian philosophy is relevant “because business should not just be about one self but about the society and the environment it works within” .

Pai of Infosys has an interesting take on the growing importance of Indian philosophy in management. “The fact is that we are Indians; so, consciously or unconsciously, the country's value system resonates in what we do.” And not only does it hold true for the companies but also for individuals leading them. He cites the example of Infosys Chairman & Chief Mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy: his philosophy of simplicity, many will argue, is really a reflection of pan-Indian values.

The Tata Group, which, arguably, practices inclusive capitalism with greater zest than any other business house, is another example. Says Radhakrishnan Nair, Chief Human Resource Officer, Tata Steel: “Wealth generation is important but it should be kept in trust to improve the communities in which we live. The Parsi motto of ‘good thoughts, good words and good deeds’ is extremely rich in its effort to elevate human suffering. A true Tata person believes in simple living, high thinking and being genuinely affectionate.”

According to Prahalad, the idea is to develop a system that places the individual at the epicentre of corporate strategy. Such a goal, though, looks unattainable in the short to medium term. Can it ever be reached? That's impossible to answer with any degree of certitude, but if it is, then India would have made a defining contribution to management science. Says Kaipa: “It may be time for what a Los Angeles Times reporter proposed last year - that the US should move towards Dharmacracy not Democracy.”

E. Kumar Sharma is Assistant Editor, Business Today and based in Hyderabad.
* The article is reproduced from Business Today.
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