Title: Business Environment
Book Review by:
Prof.  M.V. Monica
MBA (Banking & Finance–CUSAT); CFA
Faculty for Finance & Associate Dean


Author:  Dr. Justin Paul
Publishers: Tata McGraw Hill Publishing Co Ltd, New Delhi
Price: 275.00
Published: May 2006
Pages: 429

This book makes for enlightening reading with extensive coverage. There are a few observations on the approach, models and treatment of topics.

The setting of the book  is a traditional PEST model: Political/Economic/Social and Technological. In the first chapter of Political Environment and economic system, there is no mention about the current state of communist form of planning other than a mention of Cuba & Vietnam. The author has conveniently buried the melting down of the communal system of economy in Russia & China. The sheer size & international repercussions the melt down following Gorbachev's glasnost is not at all considered in the book. In the chapter that deals with Economic growth & development, no numerical problems are included. It would have added some clarity to the students.

The professor's definition on globalization (P49) is somewhat confusing. "Globalisation is the term used to describe the process of removal of restrictions on foreign trade, investment, innovations in communication and transport systems". Does n't this refer to  "liberalization" more than globalization? The more apt definition of globalization appears to be  " able to produce where it is least costly, source capital where it is cheapest and sell where the product/service is most profitable" "The engine of world economy is the national state" (P49). Which national State he had in mind is not clear. He then agrees that a global economy has the capacity to work as a unit, in real time, on a planetary scale. So does he mean that Infosys is a global economy? Or for that matter any MNC? Or is it that India as a global economy works as a single unit, in real time, on a planetary scale?

"A derivative security can be defined as a security whose value depends on the values of other underlying variables " P223 needs to be understood with a pinch of salt,  because he has not specified what are these "underlying variables". The professor has covered Trade Policy and Corporate Social Responsibility rather easily.

But the SWOT approach, which the professor has applied lavishly across all chapters, has become obsolete in the current century. The future business leaders/thought leaders  must be looking at OWTS rather than SWOT and I hope the readers will take this precaution. When you see opportunities, you will have better timing & identifiable targets than a comfort bed of strength.  It will give you the momentum to be forward moving against all odds.

May be the formula of UGC curriculum has made him leave certain vital areas of Indian Economy untouched. For example, Microfinance is an upcoming business for the banks and no mention is found in the book though he tried to cover extensively on technology in banking. Technological developments in other facets of the Indian economy are also untouched.

This nine part book on business environment has tried to capture many a facet of the Indian Business & Economy. With the questions and cases at the end of each chapter, it is a utility book for the students as claimed in the preface by the author. But the cases, are not cases in its real sense as it does not convey any concepts but at best serves as examples. However, they are contextual in nature and for an undergraduate level learning it is just sufficient.


Source: E-mail August 12, 2006



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