Ethos describes the beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation and its ideology. The expression “Indian Ethos in Management” refers to the experiences of Indian civilization over the centuries for managing both the professional as well as personal front. It refers to the values and practices that the culture of India can contribute to service, leadership and management. These values and practices have been influenced by various strands of Indian philosophy. It is the body of knowledge which derives its solutions from the rich and huge Indian system of ethics (moral philosophy).
Indian ethos in Management takes into account a ‘whole’ man approach rather than approaching ‘man’ in a partial fashion. Managers and employees confront various cultural issues that affect their relationships, productivity, efficiency and work life balance.
Our sacred ancient literature such as Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagwad Gita etc. depict treasure of wisdom and principles which modern management can apply for success of the corporate.
In Indian Ethos, each soul is potential god. Vedanta believes in the oneness of existence. All of us have a spark of divine within our hearts and this word ‘divine’, means an endeavour towards perfection, knowledge and power or energy for self-development. If one brings about his or her self-development, it would automatically benefit his or her organization and the society, because he or she is a part of the large unit, provided he or she is duty bound and impartial to one and all.
Vedanta believes in non-dual concept that is the universe is an individual whole where each and every one of us is connected to the other. Such a person with a firm belief in oneness of humanity can achieve the status of integrated human personality who believes in building strong interpersonal relationship; manage his or her sector with excellence. This is the ideal of Indian Ethos: ‘Atmano Mokshartam Jagat Hitya cha,’ or gaining perfection in individual life as well as aiming for the welfare of the organization.
The managers or the people involved in the decision making stand motivated to pour out their best selflessly for the betterment of their organization, inevitably contributing the development of the Nation and the world, serving the humanity with a holistic approach of lifting their spirits cheerfully, spreading cheers among others ensuring harmony to enhance productivity in their job sector. Contemplation or meditation is important to remain calm, focused, balanced and detached with a vision. Then only it would be possible for the manager or the team leader do justice to one and all.
Lord Rama staunchly followed the path of righteousness and set himself as an example of a king for whom duties comes before his personal comfort. He even sent his queen Sita away from the palace to satisfy his subjects, especially a fisherman who doubted the chastity of Sita. Lord Rama sets himself as an example to our managers or decision makers in the field of management that everyone is answerable to the public, superiors, subordinates, shareholders, stake holders, board of directors to ensure transparency for the day to day running of the organization.
Mahabharata, the epic, teaches us how we can transform our weakness into strength. The Pandavas utilized their thirteen years of exile by developing their individual skills. Yudhisthira became a master craftsman in the game of dice. Arjuna acquired heavenly weapons and become technically sound in the field of archery. The Pandavas were united so could share their responsibilities and work as a team under the able leadership of Lord Krishna. They understood the ground realities and so were able to reach out to the common people without displaying their ego.
The Pandavas undertook calculated risks at the time of crisis.
An able manager should never shy away from undertaking risks, but remain cool and composed, accept the challenges to his or her mission and realize the set goals. In order to defeat Dronacharya, Lord Krishna prevails on Yudhisthira to lie that Aswathama, his son is dead. From a moral perspective such a deed seems unethical, but such a lie is acceptable when it does good to the larger humanity for long term gain.
Before the battle of Kurukshetra began, both Arjuna and Duryodhana seek help from Lord Krishna, who oblige both the parties. Duryodhana choose the huge army of Sri Krishna while Arjuna got the lord as his charioteer on whose able leadership begin the great battle of Kurukshetra.
Duryodhana failed to realize the role of a charioteer, but the world of management believes that the charioteer is the captain who steers the ship amidst a tornado or a tempest to reach the harbour safely. Our managers are the modern day charioteers who lead their organisations and of course the nation in different fields: educational, agricultural, industrial, political or social.
The Arthashastra, a political treatise by Chanakya, advises the king to avoid extreme decisions and apply soft actions. Sovereignty can only prevail with mutual cooperation of others. The King is considered as the servant of the people and answerable to the public. Chanakya had the foresight to believe that the welfare of the king lie in the welfare of his people. As Chanakya says, ‘Sukhasya Mulam dharma’ that is, the basis of happiness and prosperity is righteousness (ethics).
Thus our ancient literature in the Vedas, Vedanta, Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita and the Arthashastra serve as a storehouse of comprehensive and powerful philosophy to be applied in all ages for the benefit of mankind.
A leader who aims to lead his organization amidst despair or anarchy to the road of prosperity with a right approach, condemning the vices and upholding virtue to establish Dharma or righteousness would ensure better corporate governance and lead the nation to prosperity when all of us; self-actualized, transcend the barriers of gender discrimination, caste, creed, religion, region, community, country, reaching out to the world as global citizens glorifying our higher selves for the betterment of humanity.