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Cover Story

Is The World now Ready for The Indian Style of Management?
Theory“I” talks about how Global Management concepts are now getting Influenced Significantly by lessons from The Indian Context, both Culturally and Professionally. With more and more Indians taking up Global Leadership roles across the World in Varied Areas of Society,polity and Industry,is The World getting Enmeshed with and finally Accepting The Indian style of Management? By Arindam Chaudhuri
Issue Date - 12/05/2011
What should you then call the Indian style of management? And even before that, why should one even accept the hypothesis that the simple ascendance of individuals with a heavy Indian lineage to global positions is the finalistic evidence that the Indian style of management is gaining prevalence in power corridors? Isn’t the Indian “style” atypically laced with the capitulating negative tint of the wheeler dealer variety; of the manager who believes in being effective than on simply being efficient? Yes, that may be true. But even though in discussions pertaining to how Indians ‘manage’ issues, while one might be more prone to straddling the critical cynicism laced fence, look a little deeper, with an honest openness to the happenings around the world, and however much you might wish to, it might not be possible anymore to disregard the slow but sure rise of these very Indians in the power corridors that run the world.

Some say it’s simply the law of averages. Throw a handful of chewing-gums on a wall and simply by the law of averages, a few would stick on. The corollary, shove a few million Indians into Europe and US, and some would eventually become leaders. Well, that may be true too; but only at levels and in groups that are more driven by hard labour than by skill and intellect. The moment one talks about societies based on meritocracy – a factor that drives many Western nations – then all these debates can be dismissively rejected as then, it doesn’t matter whether the individual came from a large demographic group or an insignificant one, what matters is simply the person’s personal capability, capacity and competence.

So while a few years back, one simply boasted of Google having Indians as amongst the largest ethnic groups of workers, today one boasts of people like K. Ram Shriram (member, Google board of directors) and Nikesh Arora (Chief Business Officer, Google), whose names are listed just below the likes of Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, Sergey Brin on their corporate listings. The growing number of people of Indian origin at the helm of leading companies and top B-schools is another sure evidence of this hypothesis being forwarded. Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla, Motorola Inc. Co-CEO and Motorola Mobility CEO Dr. Sanjay Jha and more recently, Reckitt Benckiser CEO Rakesh Kapoor, represent the growing and fruitful aspirations of Indians in global companies. Similarly, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, USAID administrator Rajiv Shah, Solicitor General of United States Neal Katyal, Chief Information Officer of United States Vivek Kundra, Satveer Chaudhary in Minnesota and Upendra Chivukula in New Jersey. Louisiana Governor Piyush Amrit (nee Bobby) Jindal top the politico-bureaucracy list too.

The 2000 US Census had already given the initial pointers to this by mentioning that Indian Americans had the highest median income of all groups. A Duke University-University of California Berkeley study showed that from 1995-2005, Indian Americans had started more engineering and technology companies than British, Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese immigrants put together. All this simply could not have been possible if we were purely considering the gum-on-the-wall theory to assess individual advancement. Clearly, there’s something that Indians are doing right, which is allowing them to advance to leadership positions in various streams of society. And this has to directly do with the management and leadership skills that they are practicing on their teams, companies and peer groups, much of the skills which I am convinced have developed due to their connect with India – in terms of their cultural upbringing, family background, educational focus, objective oriented approach in life and similar aspects.


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