Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Cultural and political dynamics of South Asian countries.

That religion and faith are vital to the lives of ordinary people in South Asia is something that is non- contested. The tumultuous history of the societies that composes the South Asian region affirms to the fundamental role that religion and particularly its politics has played in shaping ideas of nation, state and citizenship. This brings out the distinction of South Asia as a region as well. South Asia is not merely a region in geographical terms but is also historically, socially and politically deeply interconnected. Not only have boundaries been shifting in the past across the countries that comprise this region, the boundaries themselves are recent and migrations have taken place across the centuries. Moreover, the formation of modern states in each of these countries is connected to the history of others. Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India have undeniably linked stories of origin.

Policies and politics, particularly in relation to minorities in one state, tend to have its echoes across boundaries. If Hindu minorities are attacked in Bangladesh or Pakistan, this tends to have reverberations in India. The fact that a minority in one state is a majority in another and that this is not accidental but a product of definite historical choices has major implications for the way in which the politics of religion has developed over the decades in the countries of this region. Thus, the minorities in one country are related by ethnicity or religion to neighbouring states. This often has an adverse effect on the situation of minorities in these states. In some states, minorities are considered a ‘fifth column’ and security considerations rather than the concerns of liberal democracy appear to affect the ways these states treat or deal with these minorities.

India’s commitment to secularism and democracy is under increasing stress today. The growing curtailment of fundamental rights of speech and expression, continuous curfew and the blacking out of various media including the Internet in Kashmir, the use of the deadly pellet-gun whose victims have included numerous women and children, the controversies over Bharat Mata, nationalism and anti-nationalism in which various academics have been involved and even faced suspension, the rows in JNU and Hyderabad University all speak of the overall trampling of freedoms of life, assembly or liberty. In the midst of this, we had a recent Supreme Court judgement that by a slim majority held that elections in a democracy are a secular exercise and that seeking votes in the name of religion, caste or community amounted to corrupt practice and could lead to the disqualification of a person thus elected. These contradictory shifts speak of a nation at a critical point in its history and what happens here will have implications for other South Asian countries as well, which is in any case also contending with their own current predicaments over terror, discrimination against minorities, religious conflicts and similar issues.

A recent issue on The Politics of Religion and Faith in South Asia from Society and Culture in South Asia presents a brief foray into the deeper spiritual aspects of this issue that is otherwise compelled to speak to the politics of religion and religious boundaries in their more overt form across South Asia as a whole, and India in particular. 

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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The Tyranny of Invisible Barriers in a Women’s Career

Do women executives harbor fears of holding positions of power and authority?  Women agree that there is a need for them to take on stretch roles and assignments that will help them get noticed. On the other hand, women will over-analyze the challenge and shrink away from the work for fear of failure or the extra strain it will put on their home life; whereas men will put their hands up and be prepared to “learn by doing.” Unless challenging opportunities are not sought to prove one’s competence, how can you be entrusted with important clients and high-level roles?
This dichotomy gives an impression of whether women managers—at least some of them—really want to succeed, as they often complain they cannot due to various organizational factors. Or do they, in fact, harbor the fear of holding power and authority deep within them, simply because it will challenge the current power structures in organizations. Some competent young women fear success because they believe it will cost them socially. Others claim that actually the major force holding women back from success and achievement is their wish to be taken care of.
An article in Fortune (2003) that featured the 50 most powerful women in business. The writer of the article also wondered whether women really want power. “Many fast-track women are surprisingly ambivalent about what’s next. Dozens of powerful women we interviewed tell us that they don’t want to do something exceptionally good as running a huge company, they merely want a decently paying honorable job”. Thus, this dilemma prompts them to choose “prevention” strategies—avoiding failure—rather than “promotion” strategies—actively driving success.
Men and women have different perceptions of power. Men think about power as more competitive and hierarchical, while women think of it as more cooperative and interdependent. However, women’s perception of power as an instrument of public purpose rather than as a tool for personal ambition could produce radical changes in organizations that are currently imbibed in a hierarchical notion of power over others. New research suggests that women are not in leadership positions, among other things, because they do not want the jobs as much as men do. Shocking as it may seem, in one of the studies conducted on 650 recent MBA graduates, researchers had participants rank their current position in the industry, their ideal position, and the highest position they could realistically attain. Women had no doubt that they could realistically attain the same level of success as men, but they ranked their ideal position lower.
Another study explains that finding by suggest­ing that women have more negative associations with power than men do. This is because women expect more stress, burdens, conflicts, and difficult trade-offs to go with high-level positions. Powerful positions stress women out because they have less time in which to attain a greater number of goals.
By and large, women in management fall into three categories. A small proportion extremely career-focused women. They are willing to make all adjustments to do well in their careers. At the other end of the spectrum, there is another small group of family focused women. But the vast majority encompasses women who would like to combine career and family. It is this group which is ambivalent towards their career. It is this group that would like to have answers to their frequently asked questions, such as:
• Is it possible to be a woman and a manager without falling into a male stereotype?
• Is it possible to be competitive and ambitious without compromising with a woman’s identity and self-image?
• Is it possible to move out of the female stereotype and be seen in a new light?

Anjali Hazarika in her new book ‘WALK THE TALK’ takes us through the invisible barriers that a woman encounters during her professional career.  Her book is a ‘call for action’ to create an ecosystem of empowerment.

Grab your copy today and find out how our author proposes to close the gaps between Women, Work, Equity, and Effectiveness!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Moderating Impact of Job-worth on Burnout and Self-worth of Indian Call Centre Employees

A significant proportion of the Indian workforce is engaged as customer service representatives or call centre employees. The National Association of Software and Services Companies in India (NASSCOM) Information Technology–Business Process Management (IT–BPM) industry FY2015 performance review states that India has been able to retain its leadership position in business process outsourcing, despite competitive challenges presented by emerging off-shoring destinations such as Philippines, China and Singapore. These global sourcing services are largely delivered to off-shore destinations across the world through call centres. For India, this has been possible due to a unique set of factors that multiply its value proposition. The key factors being unparalleled cost advantage and being world’s largest pool of employable talent. Despite these positive factors, the call centre jobs, as research suggests, are perceived negatively. The key question then is: India being a massive hub for the call centre jobs, wherein more and more workforce opt for it annually, is it justified to state that it is only doing harm to the employees than good?

An article from the South Asian Journal of Human Resources Management questions the negative generalization of call centre jobs for the Indian population by studying three broad issues:
  •    If call centres are associated with negative work outcomes, then why do people opt for these jobs?
  •     If these are high-stress jobs then does it influence the workforce alike?
  •    Have the previous studies on call centres missed the link of self-worth and job-worth?
     In the context of India, because of the abundance of English-speaking graduates, call centres are the important source of employment generation. With differentiated labour markets utilizing more semi-skilled workforce, those employees who are getting more monetary benefits for their limited skills lead to greater self-expectations, thereby, it is expected that these would generate more positive experiences on the job.
      However, among the primary issues that are usually reported on call centres are concerns of burnout. The article argues that burnout experiences do not always have a negative impact on the employee’s self-worth. The relationship is, instead, moderated by the impact of job-worth, which acts as a potential individual resource. 

      If you are interested to seek answers to the mind boggling questions related to BPO's, register  here to read the full article.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Demonetisation: A means to an End?

At the midnight hour of 9 November 2016, two shock therapies were being administered on two sides of the globe, the United States of America (USA) and India. In the USA, against all the forecasts of election pundits and renowned economists, Donald Trump was winning in one constituency after another. In India, Prime Minister Modi had announced that after the midnight of 8 November, Indian notes of `500 and `1,000 would cease to be legal tender except for some specified uses, and the holders had until December 30 to deposit their notes in the banks for conversion into new notes. Pandemonium broke out in India, and people were flocking to all kinds of shops to use their notes to purchase whatever they could before midnight. An avalanche of criticism flooded the television and local newspapers.

The exercise was basically propelled, as the Prime Minister said in his announcement, by the desire to check corruption and build the foundations for clean prosperity. Demonetisation in India, thus, was not a financial exercise. It was about curing corruption and achieving clean growth. The electorate has strengthened the hands of the government to strive for not only cleaner India but also richer India.

This entirely unfamiliar situation of 'Demonetisation' unleashed a huge debate on television, in newspapers, and on social media, the likes of which had never been seen. Several months later, we are still questioning: Was this a disastrous blunder or a leap forward?
To answer these questions, a renowned economist 'Dr Ramgopal Agarwala' takes an incisive look at the events that led to demonetisation, the aftermath, and its implications. He sifts through many irrelevant rants, a lot of politically motivated mud-slinging, and asks the most important question: What now, what next?

Grab your copy today to find out answers to your questions on Demonetisation.

What could be the motivations for engaging in long-distance parenting in South Asian Indian migrants?

In Western cultures, the traditional notion of the family involves the nuclear unit living under one household with parents providing primary care for their children. Some families sometimes opt for long-distance parenting on account of various reasons but what could be the motivations for engaging in long-distance parenting in a population of high income South Asian Indian migrants in the United States.
Although long-distance parenting is often depicted as a response to the crisis (e.g., economic) or other stressful life events, it is sometimes undertaken in various culturally normative situations. This study from the journal 'Psychology and Developing Societies' explores the motivations of South Asian Indian immigrant parents for sending their young children to India to live temporarily with their grandparents. This qualitative study involves in-depth interviews with first generation immigrant parents about their experiences and motivations for sending their children to India. 

Analysis of the study revealed five themes, namely: 
(a) contextual and daily challenges in caring for their children in the United States, 
(b) parents’ concern around paid group childcare, 
(c) grandparents as ideal caregivers but unable to stay in the United States, 
(d) presence of other extended network of relationships and support in India and 
(e) parents wanting their children to maintain their language and customs. 

Findings suggest culturally grounded beliefs around optimal childrearing (e.g., grandparents as ideal caregivers, presence of extended network of support in India and maintaining Indian traditions and values) and parents’ contextual needs (e.g., parents’ busy schedule around job and education) when traditional caregiving context changes due to migration to a new country. Implications for researchers are discussed.
Overall, interviews evoked themes that reflect a convergence of traditionally held notions around childcare and family and a shift in the traditional caregiving context as a result of migration. Parents’ responses reflect deeply held traditional notions of childcare, notably, the involvement of extended family, the acquisition of ‘traditional Indian culture’ and collective care. However, set against the backdrop of migrant family life, this model of child caregiving was difficult to sustain.

Register here to read full article.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017


Running elections would be one sign that a country might be a democracy. But there are some additional conditions to it:
  • Every citizen can vote.
  • Citizens can assemble and are free to speak and exchange views, including the chance to organize a peaceful protest.
  • The country has a free press so that newspapers, radio and TV, and digital media are free to report news and opinions.
  • Citizens are free to have any religious beliefs they choose.
  • Citizens are free to start businesses or choose the businesses they want to work in if jobs are available.

But each of the condition mentioned above leaves a lot of questions unanswered:

Consider ‘every citizen can vote.’ In a real democracy, it would be one citizen, one vote. There would be no stuffing of ballot boxes with false names or the names of deceased people. There would be no one paying money on the side to voters if they voted for a certain candidate. There would be no threatening-looking persons hanging around polling booths who look like they would harm you if you didn’t vote in the right way. There would not be very short hours for casting a vote or voting centers that are far and difficult to reach.

Consider ‘freedom of assembly.’ Can the government stop certain groups from assembling because they have radical ideas, or form gangs, or carry a lot of guns? Can the government put a limit on how many people can gather to protest a certain issue?

Consider ‘freedom of the press.’ Are the press members sufficiently diverse in their opinions so that citizens hear a range of views? Is the press permitted to say bad things about the country’s president or his or her political party? How should the country handle press members who distort the truth or even lie in quoting their findings? One of today’s major issues is to protect the Internet’s ‘net neutrality.’ Internet service providers such as Big Cable and Big Telecom wanted to slow down websites they dislike or disagree with in the interests of giving faster access time to businesses over citizens. Fortunately, the FCC proposed new rules protecting net neutrality for years to come.

Consider ‘freedom of religion.’ Are people relatively free to change their religious affiliation or even to decide to be an agnostic or atheist? Does any religious group have considerable power to influence legislation in their favor?

Finally, consider ‘freedom to start a business or join a business.’ Are citizens free to move to other cities in search of the best job? Are they free to choose the work they want to do, including starting their own business if they can find the capital?

Now, are you clear about what all a country needs to follow to be a REAL DEMOCRACY!

In his latest call to arms, Philip Kotler confronts the Democracy’s gloomy outlook positively with some potential solutions, as well as an invitation for you to get involved in the democratic issues that impact your life. Know more about the book here.


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Discover the hidden or not-so-hidden implications of ‘entrepreneurship’ and ‘knowledge management’ that facilitate management of ‘organizational change’

Change is constant in a business environment. Survival of the fittest is all about adaptability to a changing environment and adjusting to new competitive realities, in short ‘agility’.
We live in volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity world which is an era of risk and instability. Globalization, new technologies, greater transparency and social responsibility have combined to increase the complexity of the business environment to give many CEOs a deep sense of unease. On the other hand, enterprising CEOs sense great opportunities in this uncertainty and change.
Industry competition has always been a fact of life, but in current business environment, the chasm between ‘relevance’ and ‘obsolescence’ threatens to grow wider every day. To avoid obsolescence, firms must be agile and be able to pre-empt the move embracing innovation. Global competition has become an entirely new game, with a more crowded playing field, with networked economies and a faster clock. In the past, executives could quickly size up their competitors and could anticipate their tactical moves. But now, firms in all sectors have to be on constant alert to face new technology-enabled challengers that are sprouting with surprising speed from unsuspected corners of the globe. Firms need to anticipate geopolitics, globally emerging trends and markets, and be proactive to these new demands with knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship. They also need to be equipped on 'How to evolve a strategy for coping with unanticipated events, challenges and crises? How does leadership create a work-environment and work-life that not only survives a crisis but capitalizes on today’s frequent and disruptive accelerating changes?'.
Knowledge is a strategic resource in knowledge-intensive world, its effective management by the organizations is critical for competitiveness. The culture of innovation which enables continuous pumping of new technologies would have a strong impact on firm’s competitiveness, working life and expected behaviour.
To read in detail about Change Management Drivers and its relationship with Entrepreneurship and Knowledge Management, subscribe to the recent issue from South Asian Journal of Business Management.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Work and family- Are the two becoming antagonist poles?

Modern day workplace is characterized by long working hours, shorter deadlines, higher competition, lesser holidays and leaves, frequent tours and job transfers. Similarly, family–work conflict (FWC) arises out of inter-role conflicts between family and work and results in lower life satisfaction and greater internal conflict within the family unit.
Conceptually, conflict between work and family is bi-directional. Studies differentiate between WFC and FWC. WFC occurs when experiences at work interfere with family life, such as asymmetrical or rigid work hours, work overload and other forms of job stress, interpersonal conflict at work, extensive travel, career transitions, unaccommodating supervisor or organization. FWC occurs when experiences in the family impede with work life such as presence of young kids, elder care responsibilities, interpersonal divergence within the family entity, uncooperative family members. 
An article from the Global business Review highlights different forms of Conflicts: (a) time-based conflict, (b) strain-based conflict and (c) behaviour-based conflict. Time-based conflict occurs when the amount of time spent in one role takes away from the amount of time available for the other role. Work-related time conflict is typically based on the number of hours that an individual spends at work, inclusive of the time spent in commuting, over time and shift work. Family-related time conflict involves the amount of time spent with family or dealing with family members detracting from time that could be spent at work . Strain-based conflict occurs when the strain (or stressors) experienced in one role, makes it difficult to effectively and efficiently perform the other role. Work-related strain is related to strenuous events at work, resulting in fatigue or depression, role ambiguity etc. Family-based strain conflict primarily occurs when spousal career and family expectations are not in congruence. Each of these three forms of WFC has two directions: (a) conflict due to work interfering with family and (b) conflict due to family interfering with work.
There are numerous negative outcomes associated with these conflicts: domestic violence, poor physical activity, poor eating habits, poor emotional health, excessive drinking, substance abuse among women, decreased marital satisfaction, decreased emotional well-being and neuroticism. Conflict between work and family is associated with increased occupational stress and burnout, intention to quit the organization, lower health and job performance, low job satisfaction and performance, high absenteeism rates, reduced career commitment, increased psychological distress, increased parental conflict and marital distress, increase in child behaviour problems and poor parenting styles and lower satisfaction with parenting.
The negative spillover of family and work into each other is an area of major concern and needs attention at both the ends, i.e, family and corporate background.
To need in detail about this issue, register here

Monday, 15 May 2017

What are the factors driving India’s astounding e-commerce growth in the next two decades?

E-commerce in India has been experiencing remarkable growth, successfully changing the way people transact. The online market space in the country is burgeoning in terms of offerings ranging from travel, movies, hotel reservations and books to the likes of matrimonial services, electronic gadgets, fashion accessories and even groceries. Eyeing this e-retail opportunity across multiple segments, investors have been aggressively funding the e-commerce sector.

We live in a world where we communicate with each other over mobile phones than we do face to face. For keeping in touch, shopping, hailing a cab, or ordering food… everything begins and ends with that smartphone. This growth has been fueled by rapid adoption of technology, improving standards of living, an increasing young population, and economically advancing middle class, besides increasing access to the Internet through broadband and use of smartphones and tablets. E-retailers use web interferences to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

However, though this Indian online market is growing at an exponential rate, but what is the pattern of consumer psyche behind online shopping. An article on ‘Effects of Online Shopping Values and Website Cues on Purchase Behaviour’ from the journal Vikalpa applies the concept of the stimulus–organism–response to explain Indian buyers’ online shopping behaviour, besides examining the importance of design elements in enabling website satisfaction (WS). Using a survey method to test the research model, primary data were collected from five Indian metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad during the months of May and June 2015.

Findings of the article suggest that both internal and external elements have direct influence on WS. As the mediating variable, WS affects purchase intention. This research highlights on why and how ‘satisfaction with website’ matters in the contribution of shopping values and website atmospherics to behavioural outcomes by presenting its mediating role.

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Are stronger IPRs enhancing or retarding industrial development in developing countries?

Asia is now well recognized and acclaimed as a growth pole of the global economy. The dynamism of Asian transition is based on building innovative capabilities and modernizing the national innovation system. Asia has allocated higher resources to research and development (R&D) during last three decades. In terms of R&D expenditure, the Asian region has incurred the highest proportion, that is, 42.2 per cent, of the global economy and ranked as number one (UIS, 2015). The gap in terms of R&D intensity between Asia and Europe and North America has reduced during 1991–2013 (UNESCO, 2015). However, in terms of output indicators, the Asian region is lagging behind. This lag in investment in innovation activities and output indicators is understandable. But the pace of catch-up of Asia is remarkable (Lee, 2013), which is shown from the increasing importance of intellectual property rights in the development processes of these economies.

Factors that promote innovation is a key issue for economic and industrial development in the Asian countries. A variety of social and economic mechanisms, including the strength of intellectual property rights (IPRs), the international harmonization of IPRs, the science and technology policy conducted by governments at several levels and in categories to support firm’s innovative activities, and the competition and collaboration among firms and universities, are expected to positively affect the innovative activities. 

Recent Issue on “Innovations and Intellectual Property Rights in Asia” from the journal, Millennial Asia, examines the relation between IPR and economic and industrial development. There are two different views on whether the stronger IPRs enhance or retard industrial development in developing countries. Policymakers in developing countries sometimes assert that the success of high-tech industries in developing countries is a confirmation of the view that keeping IPR systems weak at certain stages of economic development can function as an infant industry policy, stimulating the growth of technologically dynamic indigenous firms. On the other hand, empirical evidence by many economists suggests that stronger IPR systems accelerate industrial development. 

The issue presents papers which examine whether delaying the embrace of strong IP has led to dynamic growth and whether the emergence of innovative strength or the stronger IPR systems accelerate industrial development.

To read full articles, subscribe to the issue here