About the Book
Swami Bodhananda interprets the Indian philosophy, religion and culture for modern day managers so that they may attain excellence in whatever work they are engaged. There is an imperative need for corporate as well as public managers to produce and deliver quality and cost-effective products and services benefiting consumers and the common man. This calls for good management, which is only possible if rooted in India's own value system. The modern-day manager is caught between the materialist values of modern age and the spiritual values of our ancient culture. On one hand he/she is asked to produce wealth and promote culture of consumerism and on the other side, he/she is told that wealth is evil and he/she should practice "desire-less-ness." This cleavage confuses him/her and leaves a chasm in the soul. Swami Bodhananda with his deep knowledge of Indian religion and philosophy as well as modern Western thought, reconciles the two seemingly opposing viewpoints and presents a model of management, which, while rooted in Indian wisdom and tradition, embraces the salient features of modern management theory.
About the Author
Swami Bodhananda is highly respected in India, Europe and America as an accomplished teacher of Vedanta and meditation. He hails from Kerala and, after completing a degree in economics, set out in search of divine understanding. Wandering in the Himalayas, Swamiji performed tapas for for a period of time. Upon attaining spiritual awakening and realization, he embarked on a mission of teaching and awakening the hidden potential of other human beings.
Swami Bodhananda travels world-wide giving programs in English. He is an engaging speaker with a lively humor and a keen sense of observation. He is quick to absorb cultural nuances and infuses his presentation with a multitude of insights. As an avid reader, Swamiji keeps abreast of all that is current and IS eager to engage the 'global person'. Some of his most fascinating work is with corporate mangers, integrating traditional Indian spiritual values with, modern economics and corporate management Swamiji reminds us that society rises to a higher level not by technological efficiency alone but also I by practicing moral and ethical values.
Swami Bodhananda is the spiritual Founder and Director of more than a dozen organizations and ashrams under the umbrella of the Sambodh Foundation, New Delhi, India, Including the Bodhananda Research Foundation for Management and Leadership Studies, Trivandrum, Kerala (India) and The Sambodh Society, Inc. In the United States of America.
True religion and spirituality should enable an individual to lead not only an ennobling and fulfilling life, but make him/her efficient and productive in the work place, so that he/she becomes an effective player in achieving the national and organizational goal of wealth creation. Swami Bodhananda Saraswati interprets the Indian philosophy, religion and culture for modern day managers so that they may attain excellence in whatever work they are engaged. As India, today, is striving to become a prosperous country and occupy its rightful place as an economic power in the international community of nations, an imperative need exists for corporate as well as public managers to produce and deliver quality and cost-effective products and services benefiting consumers and the common man. This calls for good management, which is only possible if rooted in India's own value system. This book is an attempt in that direction, presenting an Indian model of management.
It was my privilege to attend Swamiji's lectures in various management forums, tape-record them, have them transcribed and then edit the transcripts to create a readable format. Swamiji has extensively re-edited the lectures and has presented a consistent and comprehensive philosophy of Indian thought in management. The advantage in presenting the book in lecture format is that the reader gets a feeling that he/she is in dialogue with Swamiji, in the traditional guru shishya parampara. The book, while discussing 'Indian Ethos' in management, extensively covers themes of leadership and global competition- major concerns of the modern manager. In the epilogue, 'Ten Spiritual Principles of Indian Management', Swamiji enunciates the relevance of Indian wisdom, tradition and culture for the Indian manager. Swamiji rightly mentions that the modern-day Indian manager is caught between the materialist values of modern age and the spiritual values of our ancient culture. On one hand he/she is asked to produce wealth and promote culture of consumerism and on the other side, he/she is told that wealth is evil and he/she should practice "desire-less-ness." This cleavage confuses me manager and leaves a chasm in his/her soul. Swamiji, through his deep insight of the Vedanta and Indian scriptures as well as profound understanding of Western scientific thought, reconciles the two seemingly opposing viewpoints and presents a model of management, which, while rooted in Indian wisdom and tradition, embraces the salient features of modern management theory.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to Sangeetha Menon, Senior Fellow, National Institute of Advanced Studies, who with her deep knowledge of Sanskrit and Indian scriptures has been a valuable guide and collaborator in bringing out this book. I also acknowledge the assistance given by Paul Janson, of Sambodh Society (USA), whose computer formatting expertise facilitated the editorial work. I also express my thanks to the All India Management Association, New Delhi; Department of Management Studies, IIT, New Delhi; University Business School, Punjab University, and Senior Citizen Council for HRD, Chandigarh; Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, and other management forums, for inviting Swami Bodhananda Saraswati for lectures and engaging in enlightened discussion with Swamiji, all of which facilitated production of this book. JK Bose of Srishti Publishers has done commendable work in bringing out this publication as well as Swami Bodhananda's other publications, helping to spread Swamiji's noble message across the country.
Sambodh Foundation, under whose auspices this book has been published, will be happy to have a continuing dialogue with its readers, practicing managers, academicians and others interested in the subject, who hold a view to develop an Indian model of management suited to the genius of our country.
India today stands at the threshold of a great destiny. It has shed its accumulated inertia of the past and is emerging as an economic power. India is now the fourth largest economy in the world in terms of PPP, ahead of Germany and UK. Indian companies are becoming global players, across large industrial segments such as automobile, pharmaceuticals, and textiles. In Information Technology (In India. has emerged as a world leader. The outsourcing of software services to India has raised a huge outcry in US and European countries as it is leading to loss of white collared jobs. The famed Silicon Valley of USA is dotted with the presence of Indian engineers and technicians at the cutting edge of technology. The Indian success in IT has given a new self-confidence to the nation and a sense of national pride that we can compete with the best in the world. Futurologists predict that in another 25 years India has the potential of becoming the third largest economy in the world, in real dollar terms, overtaking Japan. Can we fulfil this prophecy? While India's achievements are laudable, our record on social front is deplorable. India is one of the poorest countries in the world, with 25 percent of people living in abject poverty and another 50 percent barely eking out a living. One-third Indians are illiterate and have no access even to primary health services. How do we pull out our people from the clutches of poverty and deprivation and give them a dignified living? This is a huge challenge facing the country. I would say a huge management challenge.
The problem with India is not lack of resources. In fact, India is a resource rich country with plenty of sunshine, rains, water, minerals and forest wealth. India's problem again, is not lack of enterprise on the part of people. Indians, who had gone as indentured laborers to Mauritius, Fiji, and Guyana a century back, today hold the reins of economic and political power in the countries of their adoption. The Indian presence in USA and UK stretches from the highest echelons in corporate and business world to the most prestigious universities and research labs inviting respect of the international community. The problem of India is basically a problem of management- management of its vast pool of manpower.
Basic Foundation of Management
Management basically means managing human beings. The management guru, Peter Drucker, says that management's task is to make people capable of joint performance and make their strength effective. Management is about action. When people are motivated and inspired they run their organizations efficiently and profitably, produce quality goods and services, and keep customers and clients satisfied. Management is deeply embedded in culture. Across all cultures and in all societies, human beings coming together to perform certain collective tasks encounter common problems related to establishing direction, coordination and motivation. Culture affects how these problems are perceived and how they are resolved. That is why we say the American or the Japanese or the German style of management. What does that mean? Is there something like Indian style of management? Can we describe its basic characteristics and develop a theory about Indian style of management? Today Indian industry has come of age and is making successful forays in the international market. Indian firms such as Tata Group, Ranbaxy, Bharat Forge, have set up or acquired firms abroad and are running them successfully. Is there some common thread amongst them which make them distinctive, say from a Chinese or a Korean firm?
Takeo Fujiswa founder of the Honda Motor Company observes, "Japanese and American management is 95 percent the same and differs in all important aspects." Much the same can be said about Indian management. After all, basic principles of management are the same all over the world. It is the details that make a difference and help to develop a distinctive style for every country or firm. Some commentary on the style of management of some of the most successful economies will help us better understand the issue.
Matsushita a global giant in electrical and electronics reflects typically Japanese style of management. Its philosophy provides a basis of meaning beyond the product it produces. The firm feels that the company has a responsibility to help the employees' inner-self This 'can be realized by tying the company and the individual by insisting that management serves as trainers and developers of character, not just exploiters of human resources. Its Basic Business Principles are: To recognize our responsibilities as industrialists, to foster progress, to promote the general welfare of society, and to devote ourselves to the further development of world culture. Its Seven Spiritual Values are: 1) National Service Through Industry, 2) Fairness, 3) Harmony and Cooperation, 4) Struggle for Betterment, 5) Courtesy and Humility, 6) Adjustment and Assimilation, 7) Gratitude. Matsushita, interweaving human values with hard edge efficiency, has created an organization of astonishing resilience and efficiency.
Tom Peters and Robert Waterman in their classic In search of Excellence lay down eight basic principles, which can be treated as basic ingredients of American style of management: a bias for action; staying close to customer; autonomy and entrepreneurship; productivity through people; hands-on value driven; stick to knitting; simple form - lean staff; and simultaneous loose-tight properties. Successful companies regard people as the most important asset and are organized to obtain extraordinary effort from ordinary people. Excellent companies have deeply ingrained philosophy of respecting the individual and making people winners. An important characteristic of a successful venture is its value system. Thomas Watson founder of IBM observed, 'the basic philosophy, spirit and drive of an organization have far more to do with its relative achievements than do technological or economic resources, organizational structure, innovation and timing.' Watson mentions three sets of beliefs: 1) Respect for the Individual. Respect for the dignity and rights for each person in the organization. 2) Customer service. To give the best customer service of any company in the world. 3) Excellence. The conviction that an organization should pursue all tasks with the object of accomplishing them in a superior way.
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