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Relevance of Philosophy to Management



The aim of this paper is to examine the strength of Indian philosophy and determine its relevance towards enhancing managerial effectiveness.


Management of resources, personnel and enterprises as a whole is becoming a very challenging task in today’s world, as the world is becoming a global village. Management as a science is also developing at a rapid pace. New concepts and theories are being developed to suit the requirements of the changing needs necessitated by this process of globalization. The political, economic, business, finance and social environments are also changing at an equally rapid pace. Thus today’s manager has to keep pace not only with the changing environments, but be in touch with the expanding horizons of knowledge in his respective managerial area. This rapidly changing canvas coupled with the associated stress and strain of achievement makes the task of the modern manager daunting.

We generally look for solutions to such problems by trying to adopt models which have been developed by researchers in modern times i.e. primarily by the present generation or the one before. We must learn to look inwards. We must draw strength from our vast heritage and come up with the solutions to our problems. In this context the treasure house of knowledge that we possess is in our scriptures. If we explore these treatises of knowledge we will definitely be able to find a solution to all our present day problems. Thus we must not only use these principles to solve our problems, but also let the western world get enlightened by this vast sea of knowledge gathered by the sages over the centuries and left for us to benefit from.

Any student of Management who has seen the trends in the last 40 years will find that from time to time there seems to have been an intersection of management concepts with spiritual or non-material concepts. In the late 60s and 70 when Japan began to give tough competition to the Americans the whole focus of the management experts, especially in the United States, was on how Japanese focused on quality which incidentally is a non-material value though it has material manifestation also as measured in terms and quality standards. Quality was the basis on which the Japanese gave a tough fight in the market place to the Americans. But then while trying to explain the success of the Japanese, the cultural issue of how the Japanese society was molded by the teachings of their beliefs came into focus. These emphasized that the community was above that of the individual’s interests. Attempts were thus made to explain the success of Japan in terms of the ethos of Japan and its society. In the late 70’s and early 80’s and up to 90’s we saw the success of the Asian tigers which included Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and Malaysia. That was the time when Lee Kwan Yew started talking about “Asian values” being more important and a significant factor behind the success of the South East Asian Tigers. The issue of success in the market place based on values was recognized. The subsequent collapse of some of the South East Asian miracle economies, thanks to cronyism and corruption in the financial sector post 1997, perhaps also can be seen as another demonstration of the intersection between the society values and management practices and how values like nepotism, the primacy of the family over that of even the society can lead to disasters in management.

So far we have learned management from the western world. There is definitely nothing wrong in learning from anywhere, but when doing so we should be able to adopt the knowledge to suit our ethos and culture. A manager’s primary role is to maximize profits, get the best output from men and machines. While this attitude is definitely desirable at the workplace, it will fail miserably if extended to the family or at the social level. Thus the manager will have two different set of rules one for office and one outside office. This gives rise to a dual personality. Thus his behavior is a put-on job. He is not behaving normally at office, so, how long can one carry on in this manner? The Indian philosophy on the other hand advocates development of the individual holistically. Thus his spiritual growth is not diverse from his professional growth.

India is one of the very few countries having the longest history of unbroken continuity of culture, tradition and ethos. Management is not something new to the Indians. Ancient India was one of the leading countries in the world in trade. Our managers should remember this great heritage and base their role as a manager on Indian philosophy.

Number of Words: 12,000
Number of Pages: approx. 50
Price: $ 120

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