April 29, 2011

Business Management & Ethics in the post 2G order

Most of the Business Management-MBA/PGDM- students do not study a full course in Business Ethics therefore the awareness about ethics remain limited & confined to the legal-commercial interpretations under the Competition law. But having quite a few corporate honchos inside the Tihar jail has warmed up the debate in bschools about the need to deliberate on this subject more minutely. After-all what could an executive do if the boss is looking for great results at any cost? On the other hand, lots of greedy executives take liberties with the law & established procedures even without the knowledge of their boss and end up on the wrong side of the law of the land.

Most believe that the ADA group senior execs who are in Tihar jail were completely aware of the consequences of their decisions and have taken what according to them were a calculated risk in business. Regrettably the business environment has changed leaving them with unexpected fallout of their actions. While teaching to students in MBA/PGDM the issue of business ethics & morality generally comes up and naturally you have the majority of the students on the side that is willing to take risks to attain objectives.

We must draw a line between legitimate business and the other economic activities that would result in generating huge profits. I am reminded of my mba days at Punjab University in 1990s when we had a gentleman professor who was known as reputed scholar in the business ethics area, but he was never given much attention by students as we thought that ethics has no place in business! Well how wrong we were.

In a competitive environment  people are willing to live for money & associated greed and in pursuit they are willing to take risks. Some people are forced to cross the line under pressure from the superiors in an organisation. Though putting up a hoarding or banner of your company at an authorized place may not look to be a serious illegal act but selling expired medicines in new packaging is surely criminal.

At Apeejay institute, Dwarka, New Delhi i had this particular colleague from the finance area who idolized Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parikh etc. He admired Reliance industries' actions of hobnobbing with the governments to affect policy changes that bordered on getting an unfair deal. And Marketing, my area, is generally seen as the realm of the evaporating truths.  But i have always maintained that one must abide by morality & laws to achieve our objectives without infringing any laws of the land and the society we live in. Its time we discuss Management Ethics in greater details in the bschools in India.

April 20, 2011

System & Swamis

A popular neophyte swami in India features on many television channels admonishing government to mend ways otherwise his yet-to-be-launched political party would capture power. The swami has already blessed masses with a mantra to check hairs from graying by rubbing finger nails. I wonder the usefulness of yogi's divine mantra when same results can be obtained with a hair dye? But you know swami's ways are always mysterious.

Your heart would stop when you listen to him dishing out advise on Indian economy and tackling corruption. He has never studied economics, though he owns a university now, but he looks just spectacularly self assured about the correctness of his advice. On the other hand,our poor PM Dr Manmohan Singh who is a man of greatest humility, integrity, admired globally for his knowledge of economic matters and has been voted as finest Finance Minister by Times magazine, fails to convince this 'swami of exercises' on his record of good economic management of India ? What a cruel joke! A swami claims to know everything from yoga-he did not invent it- healthcare, economics and what not? Sorry I am unable to contain my shock & bewilderment. I wonder why this master of light exercises (yoga) does not train his pupils to get some gymnastic golds for India in Olympics? Otherwise what else can he give us?

These swamis have fed our illiterate masses that India is poor & populous because 'someone else' is responsible for our problems & it is that someone else who has to correct itself so that we could have respite. Its not only illogical but completely stupid not to take the responsibility for our present. Our journalist are freely blowing their trumpets and casting aspersions on everyone including some fine gentlemen whom our erudite newsreaders could not even understand. Its like writing a review  for a Chinese films without watching a single  shot of it.

Recently while travelling from Delhi to Chandigarh on the evening  train i met with a swami follower. He was serious that politicians have manipulated the systems in India thats is causing misery & lawlessness in the country. When i asked my friend that how many of us are law abiding citizens he was surprised to find out that we mere presence of traffic lights in not enough for us to follow the rules. We would jump any traffic light if some authority figure were not standing there. Why do we need police to make us follow our own laws? We have great systems in India there is need to follow the rules & strengthen the institutions. Corruptions begins with us as individual and we need to check it in favour of a merit based society.

There are lots of things that an individual & civil society must do to make our lives better without any intervention of the government power. Charity begins at home.When we start electing people on merit without bias towards their caste, religion, religion & language we would become a good country. And it won't take centuries for India to become a great nation. Lets us rise above our narrow biases and work unitedly for our country. Swamis must not preach healthcare unless they study medicine in an medical institute and also keep away from half truths about economics till they study the fundamentals of economics.

April 17, 2011

Free the land for people

Well you would say the sky & the land are already for the people! The world, led by India, puts enormous stress on the supply of land for human use. The land prices in India have risen exponentially in last decade due to many reasons  including non economic ones too. When we are designing the office spaces it has been observed that large square meters of expensive estate has to be left for passages, approach road and parking etc on the ground level. Most often office buildings & surrounding landscapes fail to look pretty & attractive due to the people crowding the narrow pathways.

Let me suggest a solution to maintain the beauty of the building complex while providing a high position to the people using the building! How about building a system of steel bridges to connect various buildings with the parking & reception area? Think of an building complex wherein you park your car in designated area and climb onto a steel bridge that would take you to the destination. Imagine how much better you would feel walking above the building to go for work? This would free the land on the ground for other uses.  Secondly such bridges would allow better crowd control during emergencies too. I am waiting to see such university complex designed by a bright architect coming up sooner which would free the sky for the people.

April 12, 2011

Anna Live show: a ripple effect of WC cricket advertising rupees

Sometimes the wise cynical guys could be right in saying 'Money makes the mare go'! Why not apply the underlined wisdom of the phrase to understand the phenomenal success of Anna Hazare's crusade for the LokPal? Was it pure coincidence that such continuous media coverage was given to the small NGO protest against corruption? Was it a coincidence that the fast coincided the normal religious observation of fast by majority of Hindus on Navratra? Was it also a coincidence that it happened next day of the world cricket cup in India? There are other many 'whys' that seek answers. Let us try understand the polemics of the chain of events as how the ripple effect advertising from WC led to invention of Anna Hazare live show?

India is a secular socialist republic working as a parliamentary democracy where people can effect change to the constitution through or enact a law by electing their representatives to govern the nation on their behalf. Then whats the need to subvert the established institution ? If all politicians are corrupt then how come one on the side of Anna Hazare is a holy cow? Is Mr Shanti Bhushan better placed than Mr Manmohan Singh on the parameters of honestly & ability? There are many serious questions that are looking for answers.

The media has recently made a pile of advertising revenue from World Cup. Believe me our media is doing a disservice to the nation by promoting cricket for their selfish profit motives without regard to the harm it does to other sports in India. Cricket is a all day sport that gives media eye balls to run the advertisements to rake in money. Media do not share the advertising money earned from WC cricket with promotion of sports in India. This time industry had changed its media buying strategy to game by game basis from the earlier bulk deals. Therefore with the India's victory at the event there were large scale advertising funds looking for an opportunity to get promote themselves. Consequently the marketing departments of the media companies may have persuaded the editorial guys to create a mass event culminating in focus on the fast of Anna Hazare to make it a rolling event for advertising needs.  

You wonder that just a few days ago, a similar event led by Gandhian Seva and Satyagraha Brigade, an all-India NGO of Gandhian persuasion, was organised at same place but it did not got covered in electronic media. Ask Arnab goswami why did he not cover it? What was his motive? It was appalling to see media anchors churning out tasteless commentary as if the entire India has been involved.

Some people say media is getting back at the government to keep it under pressure from allowing entry of foreign media into India. Also many media companies have 'treaties' with large number of business houses therefore media has to keep those company stock prices in good shape to earn profits. Despite Government of India's appeals our media continues to portray a negative image of India abroad. What national purpose they are serving is beyond the imagination of ordinary citizens. Radia tapes has exposed the unholy nexus of media & politicians in promoting corruption in India and the same media is shouting hoarse over the corruption in India. Why?

April 3, 2011

Election forecast 2011

Market research in India faces many hurdles due to size, literacy, culture, & economic factors that lead to trust deficit which is difficult to manage statistically.  Political parties must go for long term behavior research to arrive at more accurate findings about the voting behavior of the citizens. But we have attempted a preliminary research through students in 5 states going for polls and the outcome looks like the following;

1. Left-wing parties would be voted out from Kerala & WB
2. Congress would remain in Assam & Puducherry
3. DMK has close contest but would get more seats than AIADMK
4. TMC would win WB

Voter Mobilization in State Elections

Five states are going for polls in April-May 2011 in India. Once again we shall see different pattern of voters turn out. Many believe that a high voter turn out during elections confers greater legitimacy to election results but specialists have different opinions about the subject.  In a first pass the pole system freedom to vote becomes a major issue than the percentage turn out.

Lower strata of society in India generally votes in greater numbers as compared to the other. There are many reasons for this, including ease of  management in getting these section out to vote. Middle class in villages tend to vote in larger numbers than in urban areas. Stake holders and experts feel satisfied with a turnover of around 60 percent in India. Though assembly elections generally have greater turn out than the general elections for the parliament.

Tamil Nadu would have higher turn out amongst the states. Let's not miss the point that dictators produce higher turn out in their countries during elections whereas democracies have moderate turnouts of around 50-60 percent.  Despite average age getting lower due to the demographic characteristics of India political parties still prefer to put greater stress on meetings & road shows as against mass media advertising.

Mass media adverting & marketing has the potential of changing the landscape of results in elections but no party gives prime priority to the use of marketing concepts & tools during elections. Political players still swear by traditional micro management of the elections despite drastic change in the profile of the voters.

Therefore we are deprived of great election advertising that could set a more consumer oriented agenda for the parties. Political players do not wish to change their feudal outlook and archaic behavior even in a youthful India of 21st century. They must be prepared for shock results in elections. The voter profile has changed and elections management has not which results into unexpected outcomes in elections. Its necessary for political players to give prime priority to marketing & advertising to get a desired outcome in elections.

Most election pundits have written an obituary  for the left parties rule in West Bengal but the results could be different. It would be a very close contest. scene is TN is no different, despite so much focus on corruption DMK alliance may get another chance to form a coalition government. AIADMK has nothing new in its plate for the voters, which could seriously hurt its chances. Challenger parties must offer new promises to attract voters to approve their agenda. Old agendas pandered about by equally ancient leaders would have limited appeal in a mass market. A party with sound core strategy built around 'New Promise' would attract greater number of fence sitters in an elections.

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