Dualism in Indian Management

The management concept in the west developed as a result of evolutionary process, based on the changing values systems of the people – the social, political, and economic environment as well as educational and cultural milieu. However, in India, historically we never evolved our own concepts, keeping the Indian scenario in view. We found it convenient to transfer management technology, just as scientific technology. Most of the management concepts in India have been borrowed from west.

During last three decades the western especially the American concepts of management have become popular in India and to a large extent efforts are made to absorb some of these concepts in wide variety of organizational settings which range d from Taylor’s Scientific management, management by objective to emphasis on business process reengineering etc.

“The actual management practices in India greatly differ from what we learn in Management schools which are based mostly on western philosophy” The broad concepts of management and administration are in a sense universal.

The culture specificity obtains to the extent to which these are applied. The concepts of planning, recruitment, training, financial systems and control, etc. , are there in any culture, but the specificity is in how they are run and implemented. In India, too, down the ages there have been the existence of these universal principles and concepts of management and administration. But the difference in Indian administration and management lies in the subtle variation in how planning is carried out, how much is implemented, how recruitment takes place, what are the considerations, how are the financial controls effected and so on.

The differences that manifest in Indian management and administrative practices are the result of the norms and expectations of the people through their history. Most of the management practices in India have been borrowed from the West. Most of them are given training in western countries and learning western management policies. When he applies these policies in the Indian organizations where the situation is entirely different, he finds does not proceed as planned. There is a distinct hiatus between the rofessed policies and the practices followed in the Indian environment as a result of these compromises. Assuming that foreign management practices will work equally well in Indian conditions, policies are evolved and plans made. Since goals set in this way are largely achieved, there is a perception that management practices in India are similar to the foreign ones. This may not be always true. In India management is characterized by peculiar dualism. There is a distinct hiatus between the professed policies and the actual practices followed in the Indian organizations.

This is due to the effect of western policies on Indian management practices.

Peculiarities of Indian management

The emphasis on the personality of the top leader in the organization.
Expectation of Indian people is more towards paternalism. The essential requisite for paternalism appears to be unity in the leadership, and single, identifiable source of power.
“Familial Feeling” perceived by the employees because of the parental attitude adopted by the superiors and colleagues which gives a sense of security and belongingness among the employees.

Dualism exists in almost all aspects of management starting from corporate planning, recruitment promotion, transfers to financial system and marketing aspects. The western management concepts got evolved when there was proprietary ownership and was based on the decision making process of organizing, planning, directing, coordinating, controlling etc and the manager having the right and prerogative to plan, organize, direct and control. However, over the years the ownership patterns of the organization changed from proprietary ownership to public ownership.

The western management is passing through a confused state of evolutionary process where the past management concepts based on managerial rights and prerogatives are dead due to various countervailing forces, and the new concepts are yet to be born. There is a strong perception in western management that entire change process in the organization has to be brought in by the man at the top. The model organizations is not the one which, as widely believed in west and in India, where one man runs a spectacular show while he is there, to see it crumble after his exit. . Modifications suggested in the management policies to make it suitable for Indian Conditions. With the enthusiasm to run the organization on “modern”/ “professional” management principles many a times the consultants specially the foreign/western recommend management techniques based on their models and latest fads on the precepts that all those techniques could be applied in Indian environment, which they discover later that they could not be implemented resulting in further frustration and acrimonious debates on the value of such advises.

Researches indicate these concepts in the long run get abandoned or just remain on paper though what actually happens is quite different resulting in frustration due to dualism in management. In Indian Context, to bring about a change, it is important that the dynamics of Indian environment included familial culture, is not completely separated from the organization holding purely by the dictates of alien management principles. Certain legal modifications should be made to have longer tenure for the top management with internal promotions and appropriate career and succession plan.

Succession planning would insulate the organization from periodic upheavals that normally occur with changes in the leadership. It will also lend a sense of stability to the organizations over a period of time. Indian management needs to move away from short-term profitability to long-term institution building. If as it is at present, the personality of the leader overwhelms the institution, it should be his responsibility to build tradition and practices that are conducive to long-term institution building.

Little attention is paid to career planning. This will only lead to discontent. Organizations must have systematic career planning for employees from the time they join. Indian management should move towards institutionalization and standardization of practices across organizations. This has to be done over a long term.

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