Are Traditional Theories of Management Still Prevalent in Today’s Changed Workplace?

By Sarika Tainwala

India now is on the map for its technological prowess, large pool of creative talent, strength in nuclear weapons and advancement in every sector of the economy. Some of the largest corporate like the Tata’s, Birla Group, Reliance group, Dr.Reddy’s, Suzlon, HCL technologies, Infosys and many more and have made India proud for their sheer excellence in business.

Having said that, we still follow traditional theories of management even in modern workplaces today, thereby leaving us wondering how professional and progressive are we in the real sense? This essay will throw light on the existing traditional management methods that continue in the corporate landscape of India, and the aim is to showcase a few of them and understand them briefly, with some suggestions on tackling it.

Discrimination against women in the corporate world still exists. Despite large numbers of women aspiring to work and get promoted, they get denied the opportunity on grounds of gender. Though corporate India has gender diversity as a priority and ensures equal participation from women in workforce, a majority of them still face discrimination against women.

Historically women have been caretakers of the family and never ventured out to work, and have taken care of the food, managing the house and bringing up children. However, this has changing now with women working in MNC’s and aspiring for higher in incomes and financial independence. But some companies even today deliberately don’t hire women in their late 30’s assuming their dropping out due to marriage and maternity leave. They further recruit them in secondary and routine jobs that involve minimal decision making, risk taking and challenge plus lesser remuneration. All of this despite possessing exemplary credentials, resulting in the male force getting the jackpot. This demoralizes women and leads to rising attrition levels therefore making it tough for HR to manage the dropout rates among employees.

However, measures like day care facilities, maternity leave, flexible work timings, parental leave, pick and drop facility with preference given to women first in night shifts are some of the changes MNC’s can to make, in order to break the traditional gender bias in the management of organizations today.

Also, Indian men are traditionally bread earners at home and having to report in to women at work, becomes an ego issue for them, thus leading to them shifting to a team with a male boss. Apart from this, the typical Indian mentality of nepotism and stereotyping which has historically existed in government intuitions, surprisingly works in MNC’s even today. Qualified and competent job aspirants, of a particular caste are denied lucrative roles, and are subject to lower salaries and poor working conditions. Whereas candidates with poor credentials, but belonging to a caste which is dominated in the organization gets hired instead. In extension to this, bonding with colleagues speaking the same mother tongue leads to forming alliances and the remaining get excluded, is another issue in corporate. If India claims to be a global country, why do these old fashioned methods still exist?

Additionally Professor Mansawini Bhalla and Manisha Bhalla of IIM, B authored a paper “Firms of a feather flock together”, which discusses “Cultural proximity and firms outcome” wherein mergers and acquisitions between businesses with directors from the same caste is still prevalent even in progressive corporate today. For instance, firms with maximum representation of Agarwals will acquire other Agarwal board dominated firms, thus propagating this regressive managerial practice. Therefore, if we want to be dropped out of the bracket of a “third world country”, this plague needs to be eradicated immediately.

Another segment of Indian corporate largely consist of family businesses like the TATA’s, Birlas, Reliance Group and Ranbaxy among others, wherein it’s commonly seen that the owner’s son is the boss, irrespective of his capability. The boss’s children throw raging fits of anger at employees for no reason, leading to fear and rising attrition among employees, which in turn leads to them moving to more professional and merit based organizations which recognizes their capabilities. Therefore the inherent DNA of the founders need to change in order to inculcate a merit- based HR policy and flat corporate hierarchy to ensure an equitable and just working environment for its employees.

Having briefly studied the corporate landscape in India, an urgent need to change our perspective towards nepotism and discrimination towards women needs to take place. Our country is one of the largest democracies in the world and it’s only fair to live up to it, by allowing freedom to flourish in a non – biased environment in our corporate. Diversity hiring needs to be encouraged in the HR space for women, and merit based promotions need to be enforced in the corporate culture to see a new India, a better India.

About the Author:

Sarika is a corporate marketing professional with 6+ years of work experience in Client Servicing, Business Development, and content writing with Imagic Creatives Pvt Ltd, Think IMC, Aegis BPO, and Air Deccan airlines among others. Academically she’s studied – Executive General Management Program (EGMP), IIM, B, Six months of Management Development Program-(YPP) from IIM, K, PGDMM, St. Joseph College of Administration, Bangalore,B.Com- Mount Carmel College, Bangalore. She’s also a voice-over artist and loves to gym and watches movies.  She’s a management professional turned into a writer and loves reading the romance genre and Indian authors. She aspires to release her own novel someday.


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