Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kautilya's Arthashastra and today's management philosophy

Dear All,

Kautilya's Arthashastra and today's management philosophy

Following is a management article from Kautilya or Chanakya’s Arthshastra:

This book has been written 2000 years back, still it has so much relevance to today's business that none of the today's management theory can have relevance to this.

The following opening line from this book is most remarkable:
"Praja Sukhe Sukham ragyan: prajanam cha hite hitam
natmapriyam priyam ragnyam: prajanam tu priya priyam”

Means: King's happiness lies in people's happiness, king's welfare is on people's welfare. Nothing is dearer to king, nothing is self of the king, whatever is dearer to people, it is dearer to king.

It further says that King should not take any decision by himself, he should do it with consultation of council of ministers. (And I think that’s why we need ministers in political set up and managers in organization set up)

Now, if we relate this to our today's political system, long back the democratic system has been practiced in governance so the democracy is definitely not western's world's wisdom or gift. It was in our India long back even from Lord Ram's time.

Now if we relate above statement from Arthashastra to our today's business scenario, it put emphasis on democratic set up i.e. every organization should (Who wants to grow) should have democratic set up and not autocratic. Here, The Raja can be considered as modern day organisation's top authority, rajya as organisation and Praja as people and council of minister can be considered as today's modern day organisation's head of the department or senior management. Only such organisation who has democratic set up and think for people's welfare can survive and prosper. The moment organisation’s top authority (Whether public limited company, private equity company or a family run business) starts to behave in such a way that this is my organization and I can run business as I want and my decision is perfect, it is difficult for such organization to grow and survive and not good for long run too.

If we relate the same to a specific department (such as BD, HR, Sales, Accounts and so on): Here, king means the head of that particular department and praja means its team members. If the king (Head of the department or manager) think that he only knows everything, only he can make decision whatever want and only whatever he thinks is right, then such department can never grow and this will severely affect business function as well as growth. One must avoid this. Sometime even a child's advice is great. Listen to all before taking any decision and on the basis of this form your own just opinion for the welfare of the department and organisation.

I hope you will like this article.


Govind Sharma

AM- HR & Admin

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