Summary: The India Way: How India’s Top Business Leaders are Revolutionizing Management

The India Way: How India’s Top Business Leaders Are Revolutionizing Management is published by the Harvard Business Press. It's a non-fictional book written by Peter Cappelli, Harbir Singh, Jitendra Singh and Michael Useem of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. The book was released in the U.S. on March 23, 2010, and was released in India in May 2010. The key phrase of the book, "the India way", is coined by the authors to signify a particular style of business management which they argue is the unique engenderment of the culture and history of India. It is a modern take on an earlier book, the Toyota Way. The book’s major claim is that there are certain practices prevalent in Indian business, such as paying special attention to the management of human resources and engaging in corporate social responsibility, which could be extremely beneficial to other models of business, particularly those in the West. According to the authors, the primary difference between Indian and Western business styles lies in the degree to which corporate goals and strategies reflect company core values. The book claims that as a general rule, Indian corporations are far less concerned with shareholder interests than Western businesses and that they prefer concentrate on the long term prosperity of the company, employees and surrounding community. The book goes on to say that because Indian executives motivate their employees with larger company and social goals, they are afforded significantly higher levels of trust and respect from their workforce and communities than their Western counterparts.

Principal practices of the Indian Way

1) Hollistic engagement with employees:Indian business leaders see their firms as organic enterprises where sustaining employee morale and building company culture are treated as critical obligation and foundations of their success. People are viewed as assets to be developed , not costs to be reduced as sources of pragmatic solutions and creative ideas and as bringing leadership at their own level to the company.

2) Improvisation and adaptability:7

Improvisation is also at the heart of India Way. In a complex, often volatile environment with few resources and much red tape , business leaders have learned to rely on their wits to circumvent the innumerable hurdles they recurrently confront. Sometime peppering English-Language conversations, the Hindi term ‘Jugaad’ captures much of the mind set.

3)Creative Value Propositions:Given the large and intensely competitive domestic market with discerning and value-conscious customers, most of the modest means, Indian business leaders have of necessity learned to be highly creative in developing their own proposition.

4) Broad Mission and Purpose:India business leaders place special emphasis on personal values, a vision of growth and strategic thinking .Besides servicing the needs of their stockholders. Indian business leaders stress broader societal purpose.

India is also a world leader in business. With everything from medical procedures to investment banking either migrating from US and elsewhere to India or springing up from within. In completing the study of Indian business leaders, they were repeatedly reminded The remarkable impact that Japenese and the Toyota way have had on the auto-making world and far beyond. The methods of lean productions pioneered by Eiji Toyoda and his company, treating all buffers as waste and seeking continous improvement in all aspects of production that originated in cultural traditions and austere times of postwar Japan.

Author interviewed the executives who produced steel, managed airlines and manufactured chemical pharmaceuticals; those were entirely self made, the Horatio Algers of Indian Business and those whose company fortunes were inherited. Executive Director of Tata Sons, the holding the company of the Tata Group, a set of companies dating to 1868 observed that “We think in English and act in Indian.” Many Foreigners come to India , they interact with Indian managers and they find them very articulate, very analytical, very smart, very intelligent and they can’t figure out for the life of them why the Indian Manager can’t do what is prescribed by the analysis.

Tata Motors were moving in opposite direction, pushing ever deeper into the traditional segment of small inexpensive cars while producing SUV and trucks was thus a market segment that offered 8

the opportunity for the greatest immediate profit margins. Tata motors decided to stay with its existing customer base. Then they came out with the concept of ‘Nano’. With all that in mind ,Tata Motors swiftly designed the Nano from a clean sheet of paper to meet what appeared to be impossibly low price point one lakh rupees half the price of Maruti 800 and 20 % more space than Maruti 800. At that time no other international car was able to compete with them

The principle are not so unique to the Indian context that they could work only there. Simply put, if Indian business leaders can build distinctive methods so rapidly over just the past two decades and if they can learn to manage diversity so effectively in one of the world ‘s most complexly diverse societies, other business leaders can do so as well.

Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors and other Tata brands also emerged as world class players. Tata Consultancy Services had relied prereform primarily on low cost labours, postreform the firm came to appreciate that it would add quality to the services in order to retains its customers.

For several years after independence, India’s gross domestic product had grown at annual rates of just 2 percent to 3 percent , but in real per capita terms, the growth was closer to zero since the population had been expanding at comparable pace. In the industrial sector, massive deregulation loosened when what had been a virtual bureaucratic death grip. Prior to 1991 reforms eighteen industry group everything from iron and steel to mining, air transport and electrical production and distribution had been under the thumb of governmental control. After the reforms, only defense firms, atomic energy and railway transport remained under central authority.For many business leaders, the greatest single impact of reform process was the unleashing of what they saw as India’s latent entrepreneurial energies. In the visible success of many expatriate Indians in Western companies and societies provided a booster. So did the early success of India’s Information Technology companies like Tata Consultancy services, Infosys and Wipro. The reforms had also inverted the relationship between business leaders and government officials. Many executives preemptively engaged themselves and their companies in tackling societal shortcomings even without government entreaty, investing in medical clinics, employee housing and community services.

In an interview with Mukesh Ambani , for instance, he rearly dwelled on increasing his firm’s financial performance. Instead , he focused on what he saw as the pressing need for Indian 9

economy to create 10 millions jobs annually the burgeoning number of young people entering the workforce and the critical role that Relaince Industries must play in achieving the job growth.

Vineet Nayar ,HCL’s CEO told in the interview that” people are important component of an Indian CEO strategy which is based on people development and long term engagement of people. When business leaders were asked about their priorities for human resources in their companies, the results were consistent with the employee-centric view. Consistent responses were Managing a developing talent. Shaping employee attitudes Managing organizational culture Internationalization.


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