Beyond the Indus: How Hinduism Offers an Alternate Management Paradigm
Philosophy of Management , Volume 16 - Issue 1 p. 69- 89
Management is presently under intense scrutiny and criticism for its simplistic objective of enhancing shareholders’ wealth, and for lacking the ability of integrating plurality, inclusivity, and ethical conduct. Most western management principles are based on theoretically deducted cause-effect relationships, and on structured planning towards a single purpose, using relatively standardized frameworks, processes and ways of thinking. However, the complexities of management require cognition of interdependencies and the ability to deal with ambiguity, and thus needs a new paradigm that moves away from the present reductionist doctrine towards an holistic framework that is adaptable and integrative. However, such a transformation requires a completely distinct ideology based on a heterodoxy that syncretises purpose-oriented approach with the present profit-oriented approach. This paper proposes that Hinduism is ideally positioned to offer such a heterodoxy. In Hinduism, the connotation for management is more a process of selection from amongst the myriad choices along multiple levels, based on inductive and supplemented by deductive logic, and mostly devoid of any absolutes or singularity in process. Under Hinduism's influence, the ‘Indian way’ is a hybrid of individualistic, collective and context sensitive ways of thinking, that sets it apart from other cultures, and thus is uniquely positioned to offer an alternative management paradigm for today’s world. This paper will present how the values and norms embedded in the philosophy and religious principles of Hinduism, evolved and continue to influence Indian management thinking and behaviour, and how the lessons from the ‘Indian way’ might contribute towards the development of an alternative management paradigm.