"Religion in Management"


By

Shalini Aggarwal
Lecturer (Business Communication)
K.R. Mangalam Global Institute of Management
New Delhi
 


Management today is studied as a science. All over the world, in countries developed and developing, the principles of management are taught, in theory and in their application. Careers in management are much sought after for all the distinguishing symbols of material success that these bring in their wake. This is irrespective of the cultural zone in which management is being practiced. Perhaps a reason for this is that the fundamental principles of sound management remain constant though the people, the environment, the situations keep changing with changes in time and space. A retrospective of history, of organizations big and small, of leaders and followers bears testimony to this.

Man has always managed; else he would not have been able to survive. And perhaps at the root of his survival has been flexibility in management styles while applying the eternal principles. What became rigid crumbled for they could not adjust to the changes in the environment. They did not disappear nor were they destroyed. Instead, they regrouped into new configurations more suited to the needs of the times. This was and is the eternal truth of management, understood and applied differently through the ages.

Three thousand years ago, on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna propounded the very same principles. In verse and song, in allegory and cold hearted pragmatism, management is explained to Arjuna, the disciple, the student, the loving yet doubting friend. And it is explicitly stated that this knowledge has existed since eternity. Sometimes it gets obscured and distorted with the passage of time and changes in the motivations of the individuals. At such times, the world faces turbulence, violence that shakes the foundations of rigid superstructures and recasts the base to start the same old journey with a new vision, with new footsteps towards the same immortal goal.

Over eighteen chapters, the Lord has propounded the intricacies of the different forms of yoga. Yoga is a philosophical system that treats all life as a management enterprise. Successful manager needs knowledge of all the factors that he has to manage and all that is beyond, which directly or indirectly encroach on his micro environment. One who has acquired a realistic vision of the totality finds himself rising over narrow, short term, individualistic motives that generally drive human beings. The larger vision encompasses good of mankind and the welfare of the society. Without this, the symbolic umbilical cord with Mother Society would shrivel and leave the organization in isolation. A sure prescription of demise, for organizations thrives in the lap of society and is sustained by their linkages with it.

If this be the mission, how then does the successful manager translate it into operation?

The real manager is impartial. They do not favor any one goal, any one mode, any one or group of persons. Their goal is the total good and for this end, keeping with environmental requirements, they select a specific technique of achievement. They are not swayed by happiness or sorrow, ego or greed or desire. Their impartiality ensures the success of their mission.

This impartiality arises from them having drunk at the deep springing stream of knowledge. They are no longer swayed by the external temptations of tangible, material success for they know how insignificant it is in terms of eternity. They are also aware that entanglement in these desires is accompanied by misery when they are not fulfilled. But knowledge is not enough; it is only the guiding fire. Such managers radiate joyous bliss and their decisions bring happiness sooner or later, for the maximum number of people. They are the ones who light the flame of goodness in others and achieve salvation both in this life and thereafter.

This is ideal and also practical. It needs a visionary manager to take a dream and convert it into reality. Ordinary mortals only manage, yet each has the potential to lead, to think ahead, to evaluate with an open mind and take decisions that begin to concretize today's vision for tomorrow. Viewing an issue from many different angles is necessary to develop a holistic perspective. With it comes a deep sense of humility and the insignificance of the individual ego. Such knowledge comes through work tempered with contemplation and genuine selflessness. It is the merger of the two that creates a great manager and is at the heart of sound management.
 


Shalini Aggarwal
Lecturer (Business Communication)
K.R. Mangalam Global Institute of Management
New Delhi
 

Source: E-mail December 7, 2007

          

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