March 2, 2007

Organisations & Politics

The power of the press and media got me thinking about corporations and organisations. The more I have been thinking about them, the more they seem like completely political entities; which is something Prof. Subir used to constantly tell us in Organisational Design. Whatever one might think, organisations exist to control resources, people and outputs. During the budget analysis the ideas and opinions of a select few so easily imposed (in a controlled maner) on the public at large who lapped up the verdict without understanding most of the matter. Or for simplicity let us assume that most organisation have a fixed set of values. Even if they are not, the beliefs of the top management are imposed on the lower rung of employees (read: control). Given the diversity I'm sure there are exceptions who do not subscribe to these values or beliefs. Will they blindly accept and follow. Yes they do, almost everytime for management seduces. They twist an apple, call it an orange and get their work done. (Frankly thats most of what I learnt at BSchool apart from the jargon).

You might say that such corporations are doomed. Well they will be if they were non-political. Because there the management was just, fair and moral. Hence they backtracked, withdrew and a new set of people took over. The ones that exist today are those that have been successful in their propaganda, call it by better names like market-share, profits, growth, customers, whatever ... But the fact remains that they have come this far by controlling people, imposing their ideas on them and seducing them to work for their benefit.

What is our role here? MBA's all over the world will be hired to seduce and secure what top management wants. Some years later we'll be doing the 'goal-setting', the 'targets'; brainwashing those below us (fresh MBA's) to seduce while we control. In short, organisations whether you like it or not are political entities.

Now the big question. Why would anyone do it? I'd answer as Nick Naylor does in 'Thank you for smoking' ..."It's for the mortgage!"

March 1, 2007

Budget Blues

We need to grow at 100% (mentally)
Over the last few days I have almost shred the newspaper and gobbled up all the news collectively available on any business magazine or media channel. Such has been the level of boredom that I have been reading trash and seeing trash. This is Budget week in India and more than intellectually stimulating it seemed like the Great Indian Laughter Challenge. Lets start with the Rail Budget. I won't delve into the pros and cons since all our mailboxes have had some kind soul filling it with Budget docs, pdfs and in one case an excel too! Anyways what I want to focus on is the sorry state of Parliament that I witnessed on TV. I am not a Congress / UPA supporter but the way in which the opposition disrupted proceedings spoke of a 'bajrangi' attitude; the type that is endorsed by village bumkins. If that was not enough, we had another village bumkin who went on and on amid the chaos. A complete Child-Child transaction if Prof. Kalra of the Organisational Behaviour Dept. at MDI were to analyse it.

We may be growing at 8+% but I wonder when will we grow mentally.

I wannabe ...
Such has been the impact of the budget that even the aam aadmi seems to have an opinion; irrespective of whether he has fully understood it or not. Reminds me of a Prof in MDI who (obviously will not be named) said "When I look at the balance sheet of *** (company which will not be named!) I don't get confidence to think that this deal will go through"The financials of this company were not available on any database; and when questioned about the source, the Prof retreated saying that he had read extensively some analyst reports in the pink press!

People all over the country are reacting to bits and pieces news that they hear when politicians scream hoarse. Again, I'd like to state that I haven't seen the Budget document, the pdf, doc or hard copy, hence I'm on neutral gear right now! But the point I want to make is that this closely resembles the 'Madness of Crowds' that Prof Bakshi used to talk about in his BFBV class. Most of the people out there are wannabes, selective hearing being their weapon of choice. I would love to hear opinions but only after the the new policy is understood, assimilated and analysed. It is just not possible that within minutes of the Finance Minister releasing a policy document some good number of pages thick that you say with passion how grave the situation is, How dissapointed you are, How growth will slow down, etc, etc.

Still there will always be an 'I wannabe heard' ... Tch!