Cultural Immersion Project: India
Cultural Immersion Project
Effective leadership is a distinguishing factor of a successful organization. With humankind facing increasing challenges such as poverty, natural disasters, income disparity, and inequitable resource distribution, the importance of effective leaders cannot be overemphasized. Research studies have established that enhanced performance results from leaders who incorporate the value of cross-cultural competencies into their strategies. As one of the world’s largest democracies, India has demonstrated that cultural incorporation in leadership has on growth and progress. An in-depth analysis of the country’s PESTEL-DG and cultural research proves that its norms and values can spur management skills and impact businesses.
The country runs on a federal government and has been greatly influenced by factors such as political parties’ interests and government policies. The country also has a well-developed taxation system that looks out for the well-being of the people. In addition, the government encourages privatization and free trade (“India Report”, 2017). This political environment demonstrates that India has a low index of uncertainty avoidance. The country accepts change and takes grander risks. This type of leadership can help enhance the aspects such as assertiveness and develop leaders who invest in their people (Cappelli, Singh, Singh, & Useem, 2010). India’s economy has also developed since the inception of the 1991 reform policies. The leadership has increasingly invested in its people by reducing obligatory licensing and liberalizing foreign capital (“India Report”, 2017). It is likely that the country’s sense of social mission among business administrators has encouraged it (Pereira & Malik, 2015). The growth also shows that India has high humane orientation. Collectivism and team functionality can also spur such a culture.
India places great emphasis on its aging population, hence the rising pension costs and an increase in older workers’ recruitment. It also put an inordinate stress on trends such as values, festivals, traditions, and beliefs (“India Report”, 2017; Kuiper, 2010). It may emerge from the country’s collectivist culture that is keen to maintain interdependence and emotional relationships (Hoppe, 2007). Management traits of Indian leaders such as being keepers of organizational cultures and a commitment to social goals may also spur such a social development. However, women still comprise a lower percentage in the working class group. It may emanate from India being a male-dominated society as Hofstede noted (Pereira & Malik, 2015). The country has also paid special attention to promotion of technology as it increasingly invests in product development and invention of new processes. It has become a strong IT sector as the government has increased its funding, especially for projects by young people. This development may result from management skills and qualities such as the need to reduce power distance as well as individualism rates (Cappelli et al., 2010). In addition, most managers in India demonstrate charismatic values, hence may influence the same in the country’s leadership.
On the legal and environmental aspects, India has placed the growing importance for recycling, increased the minimum wage, and formed environmental regulation groups. Furthermore, the country has made changes such as introducing disability discrimination statutes as well as legal acts aimed at expanding businesses (“India Report”, 2017). This concern for its people may induce management skills such as orientation for the future and a servant leadership, qualities evident among the managers in India (Pereira & Malik, 2015). Managers also focus on the well-being of others before their self-interests, hence may be reflected on the country’s legal and environmental aspects (Cappelli et al., 2010). Moreover, India exhibits a humane style approach to leadership, which stresses on compassion, generosity, support, and the well-being of all the people (Hoppe, 2007). Regarding its demography and geography, it can be termed as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-lingual country as it has over 1.2 billion people, over five major religious groups, and over 770 confirmed languages (Kuiper, 2010). The different groups of people exist peacefully in India, which may be resulted by the country’s in-group collectivism. The country also has the caste system which divides it into social classes. Marriages, for example, are thus legitimate within a particular caste. The system is also the basis of the country’s social and economic structure (Kuiper, 2010). It may emanate from the power-distance degree which is quite high. As such, inequalities are not entirely frowned upon. From such a culture, leadership skills, including value-based management, autonomy, and assertiveness, may be absent.
Indian history spans back to thousands of years. Importantly, it had a Paleolithic culture of hunting and gathering. Thousands of years later, agricultural communities developed and more formal settlements appeared. The country’s civilization dates back to more than 4,500 years ago, a period described as the “Sa Prathama Sanskrati Vishvavara,” which translates to the world’s supreme culture (Kuiper, 2010). Notably, the culture is collectivistic and promotes communal solidity and interdependence. Therefore, families do not exist in segregation, with culture playing a major role in determining the structure of a family by outlining precincts, establishing interaction rules, and forming communication patterns and discipline among other functions (Kuiper, 2010). Labor division is largely determined by gender. It is a patriarchal country where priests are male, and men have the final say in their families. A woman is thus expected to obey her father, her husband, and her son in that order (Kuper, 2010; Pereira & Malik, 2015). The caste system also plays a huge role on determining interactions in different sections of the society.
India is a consolidation of several cultures with diverse features. Notably, tribal communities make up more than 8% of the population and are located in the eastern and central parts of the country (Kuiper, 2010). Nevertheless, these communities have been historically sidelined and consciously disadvantaged in the economic, social, and cultural spheres. It is notable that the government has taken measures such as allocating education and employment quotas to these tribes. However, it has failed in the incorporation of the improvement programs in their socio-cultural background. The country’s constitution provides the freedom of religion, and the governments have increasingly respected the practice of this right. There are many religions and denominations in the country, with Hindus comprising 84%, Muslims comprise 17.2% whereas Christians form a 2-3 % (Kuiper, 2010; “India Report”, 2017). However, in the recent past, there has been some tension between Islam and Hinduism though it has posed little challenge to the state’s foundation.
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In India, sons inherit their parents’ property and status. Daughters benefit from it by having their dowries paid. In the recent past, however, written wills have become increasingly known in urban areas. Moreover, Indians are hospitable, especially the poor, and will go to pronounced magnitudes to ensure a visitor’s comfort (Kuiper, 2010). Other etiquette mannerisms include not touching another person with one’s feet or shoes, not displaying affection publicly, and using the left hand while eating.
Inarguably, these values, norms, and practices impact the management qualities of leaders and the conduct of businesses. Most of the leaders believe in long-term investments in their people. Concerning the way leaders prioritize their key responsibilities in the business, most categorized chief input of the business policy first, custodians of organizational culture, a guide, a teacher, and an employee model and lastly, a representative of the owner and investor interests (Cappelli et al., 2010). In many western countries, the latter priority is usually the first. However, as the GLOBE research established, leadership is contextual, and is thus embedded in society’s norms, beliefs, and the values of the people being led (Hoppe, 2007; Grove, n.d.). Additionally, the society’s values explain why leadership in India is mainly male-led. According to Hofstede, the country was seen as a highly patriarchal one. The fact that inequality is to an extent acceptable in the society explains why most companies are male-led (Pereira & Malik, 2015). Further, although the competitive environment is relatively new, leaders have demonstrated a long-standing aspect of business largesse. It means that they commit to social goals, a mentality that is embedded in. For example, Hindustan Unilever Project Shakti developed principles to reach the most economically disadvantaged regions (Pereira & Malik, 2015). Moreover, most managers are assertive in their roles. They are also very kind to new employees, an aspect that is probably informed by the society’s belief in kindness to all.
Leaders and followers do not operate from nothingness. Instead, they both seek to understand the greater context on which their operations are based. Culture thus plays a major role in determining the kind of leadership exhibited in the society, hence the differences between Western and Indian leadership styles. The history, culture, values, norms, and beliefs of India play a role in the management skills exhibited in the society’s leadership.
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