Ancient Values Spur Today's Management


Dr. A Jagan Mohan Reddy
Associate Professor (HR) & Placement Coordinator
Institute of Public Enterprise
Osmania University Campus, Hyderabad-500 007


Management has become an essential feature of every day's life at home, in the office or factory and in government. In all types of organization, where a group of people assemble for a common purpose, management principles come into play through the management of resources, finance and planning, policies and procedures.

Management, is a systematic way of carrying out activities in any field of human effort. Lack of management causes disorder, confusion, wastage, delay, destruction and even depression. Deploying men, money and materials in the best possible way, according to circumstances and environment, is the most important factor for a successful management. Of late there has been a surge of interest in the field of spirituality in management.

According to management gurus, basically there are two reasons for this increased interest in spirituality.  Firstly, employees need for meaningful existence. People are looking for more meaning not only in their personal but  also professional life. Second, the corporate leadership is looking for new ways to motivate employees and create innovative solutions.

What is Spirituality?

According to Oxford Advanced learner's Dictionary of Current English, the word spirituality means "state as quality of being concerned with spiritual matters". However, there are different interpretations of the word by different people. Some associate it with god, while some others consider it as a state of mental peace and happiness. Whatever the interpretations, spirituality, is a clear process to develop the sense of morality and ethics within oneself which helps the individual to be stable and correct during interpersonal transactions.

Why to talk of Spirituality?

According to Napoleon Bonaparte, there are only two powers in the world – the spirit and the sword. But in the long run sword will always be defeated by the spirit. University of California trained Harold Quinton and distinguished Professor of Business Policy at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California Professor Ian I. Mitrott in their study after extensive interaction with over 200 leaders of organizations., "A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America" found that spirituality is one of the most important determinants of organizational performance. Spiritually better involved people achieve better results. Infact spirituality may well be the ultimate competitive advantage.

Based on their research they have presented five models existing in America today. It will be interesting to note that out of these three only one model has anything to do with religion and others focus on values, meaning and the potentiality of human beings and community. Spirituality have proved time and again that by implanting the concept of spirituality at the work place tremendous successes can be achieved. It is nothing but a process of acknowledging that people come to work with more than their bodies and minds; they bring individual talents and unique spirits.

Now a day's spirituality in management has emerged as a key issue and remains key topic for discussion be at seminars or conferences. A number of  factors have brought the spirituality to the centre stage of discussions. A few of them are:

    * Corporate downsizing and retrenchment
    * Luxurious lifestyles
    * Balancing the personal and professional life
    * Materialistic Business approach
    * Role conflicts

Besides these spirituality has gained importance because of problem of survival in this hyper competitive world where growth of education, social upliftment etc are common features. Employees no longer are happy with professional success or material gains.

Pressure on Human Resource:

In a knowledge driven society of today human resource provides the cutting edge to the organizations, as all other resources are equally accessible.  In other words to create either structured or consumer capital, it is the humane capital which is required. So there is lot of focus and pressure on the human resources to give their best.

Such performance pressure is bound to create stress and strain at work place resulting in under performance. That's why now-a–days spirituality is being practiced at the workplace through various tools and techniques.

The methods  may be different but all of them aim at the same goal that is to awaken your inner self, to justify your way of work and to make yourself mentally and morally fit so that you give off your best to the organization to accomplish the organizational goals. Some popular tools of spirituality which are being used now-a-days are:

    * Vipasaana: Silent form of meditation
    * Transcendental Meditation
    * Pranayama
    * Sudarshan Kriya
    * Practice of Rajayoga
    * Siddha Samadhi Yoga (SSY)

Some opine that spirituality is fad. But, then what is wrong in that. As long as spirituality provides better solutions to the business and personal problems even fad can be good and useful. In fact this is the reason for the growing interest towards spirituality.

For Functioning with Integrity:

It is interesting to note that US president George W. Bush has recently asked his immediate staff to take a course on ethical behaviour. By doing so Bush has only reaffirmed the emerging need – even in an age of technology and rationality, for public figures and those in positions of responsibility to function with integrity.

As all know, no administrator can afford to ignore the fundamental link between effective leadership and integrity. While people may set flexible standards for themselves in day-to-day life , they invariably expect high standards from those who progress to lead them i.e. leadership by authenticity. So whether Bush is engaged in an image enhancing exercise or he is genuinely concerned over falling standards of ethical behaviour, the issue remains relevant.

There are countless training programs both in India and abroad within the corporate sector that aim at revitalizing the company in a spiritual fashion. Mr. Mitroff and Mr. Denton in their study asked their respondents, "What meaning does spirituality have for them even if no one else agrees with it." Certain ideas were offered over and over again. This lead them to define spirituality as:

    * Personal, not structured, organized or formal in contrast with conventional religion.
    * Non-denominational,
    * Inclusive, embracing every one
    * Universal and timeless and
    * The ultimate source and provider of meaning and purpose

Is Spirituality really being practiced?

The answer is simply yes. Spirituality has the power to obtain the desired results and to minimize the human related problems; hence it is gaining top priority nowadays among professionals as well as academicians.

It will not be wrong to state that spiritual methodologies have been considered as the last hope by the business and professions, so as to tackle all sorts of problems. In this era of 21st century global cut throat competition, the survival is possible only for those companies and businesses which are spiritual besides being professional.

Thus today, spirituality is the integral part of every business activity. Such as TQM, MBO and JIT etc. are being replaced by the word like Ahm Brahmasmi and Tat Tvam Asi. For the young managers Bhagvad Gita, Mahabharata, Panchatantra and Vedas are the new Encyclopedia for  management.

More than 120 companies in India have tie-ups with the Maharshi Mahesh Yogi's Meditation Courses so as to revitalize their workforce. A study done at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) showed that regular practice of Sudarshan Kriya and Pranayama increases the flow of positive emotions. The Mount Abu based Brahamakumaries teaches regularly the Value of listening, tolerance, adaptability and decision making through the practice of Raja Yoga to the corporate Personals. Leading companies are using the principles of Social Responsibility and good Corporate Governance. While some are considered to be highly conscious towards social and environmental problems, some others practicing the ethical standards.

Age-old wisdom

The age-old wisdom of the Indian seers seems to have caught on today in the world of management. It will only be a reclaiming of our own heritage if we in India return to our spiritual lineage and reshape it, if need be, to suit the present claims. It is apparent that, we are well placed to take advantage of this knowledge economy owing to our celebrated spiritual heritage. Indian spirituality is waiting in the corporate corridors ready to serve the business community. The need is for self-awareness of it.

Art of Relieving Stress:

Spirituality now is something more than, simple meditation and yoga. It is the art of reliving stress and mental hazards. As rightly said by Prof. S.K. Chakraborty, IIM, Culcutta. "Industry is boldly mining the depths of Indian Wisdom, the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, looking for a framework springing from Indian roots and thought. It is time we rediscovered our own ethos and cultural context if we are to give meaningful and relevant management skills to the youth of the nation." Certainly spirituality in the workplace is  an idea whose relevance is being realized more and more.

Dr. A Jagan Mohan Reddy
Associate Professor (HR) & Placement Coordinator
Institute of Public Enterprise
Osmania University Campus, Hyderabad-500 007

Source: E-mail August 9, 2006


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