Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The elephant that didn't know its strength

Today I read a NEWS article from BusinessLine which says that India showed its strength during this global financial meltdown. Interestingly the writer noted a few points which attracted my interest. The author argues that the government supported its poor farmers by waiving farm loans and consumers by paving the way for low interest regime. Indeed the first package is very good. We still say that India is a country whose heart lies in villages. Its majority of population depends on farming. The country is blessed with mother nature for its natural resources.

Hence, I can confidently say that the country's core competence lies in farming. Its long term sustainability depends on how well the country encourages its public to take part in agriculture. Mr. Gandhi noted this point in his views. The same is now being reiterated by Mr. Abdul Kalaam by saying that we need to bring in more value added services in agro based products. The famous rocket scientist is of the view that the country can grow by improving agriculture and diversifying horizontally in a concentric circle without affecting the growth of other industries.

Interestingly in my previous blogs I had mentioned that the liberalisation policy of IMF and World Bank forces one country to reduce subsidies to farmers and health care there by reducing the governmental expenditure. If India is following this then the country is spoiling the growth of its core competence. Consider western powers they do not have abundant natural resourses where everything grows and delivers productive outputs. They can reduce governmental expenditure by reducing spending in agricultural subsidies. But a country like India which is proud of its nature cannot afford to deviate from its core competence. This can spoil its competitive advantage among global nations.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Journey towards South

As the world is ready to embarrass west in many senses such as language, culture, management, etc. I made a turn towards South from western country. During the start of 2008 I was not aware of the fact that the year has lots of turnarounds. Collectively the Santa Clause’s gift of year for me turned out to be excellent. Nevertheless, forget not that I am looking at it from a realistic point of view.

So what is all about my journey? I travelled from Chennai to Glasgow in the beginning of the year. Hey wait! Looking at the map I found that Scotland is not at south. I am not sharing my trip to UK instead I am sharing the Meta cognitive journey towards cultural orthodoxy. So how is it possible for me to learn orthodoxy from a dominant west?

Well, the answer is very simple and lies within the history. Everybody knows that by 18th century India was invaded by British. So what is the speciality of this event? History tells that the invasion was mainly due to the abundance in wealth which attracted these traders. However, I ask the question what sort of abundant wealth that attracted these people into the country? Is it the natural wealth? Or is it the precious materials? Or is it the ancient civilization? The answer is all the three and the list is exhaustive. Nobody can loot nature. Hence, the natural resource available to India is still present in the present moment. But the other two are man made. Hence there is a possibility to either lose or gain. Though I agree with the erosion of wealth I am concerned about the erosion of civilization.

We Indians are proud of the fact that our civilization is very ancient and has a long lasting history. Considering civilization as paddy crop we forget to grow the tree by managing it properly. However, the Britons took it to their country and managed to cultivate it properly. When I removed the weeds from the crop I found similarity between what is found in India before British invasion. Not to forget that US was improved by those EU people who had the entrepreneurial vigour in their blood.

So when I ask myself what I have transformed into, I get an answer which says I have travelled more than 400 centuries back in Indian tradition. Nevertheless, I have to accept that I have not left behind the scientific improvements in this current world. Hence, I claim that I have successfully adopted the ancient beliefs and values with the right mix of modernisation processes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Should Indian companies bailout foreign counter parts?

It is a known fact now that the global auto manufacturing industry is struggling. Once identified as a pride of an industrial nation, the automobile industry is now facing financial liquidity problem. The bailout package put forward by President Bush of US gave a breather for the Detroit based auto manufacturers. However, there are more market players who are still struggling to find liquid cash to run its business. Needless to forget Toyota is making history by filing its first ever loss in its balance sheet. The situation with the “first industrialised nation” is not a shining star. UK’s car manufacturing industry too is struggling due to the liquidity crisis.

It has became a history now that Indian conglomerate Tata group purchased the Jaguar Land Rower from Ford during first quarter 2008. The current situation with JLR is very bleek. The JLR union has mentioned that the company need funds from the government within days and not weeks. It can be speculated that the compan might file bankruptcy provided it get financial aid either from the owners or from the government. However, the business secretary, UK has mentioned the owners that the government is not having “an open cheque book” policy. This might mean that the government is not very keen to spend the tax payers’ money in a business whose future is still unpredicted. This behaviour is in stark contrast to what US government has done to safeguard its automobile industry. Neither UK government has asked the industry players to submit an action plan similar to Bush’s government nor did they give any confident boost.

Do the Brown’s government want to save its automobile industry? Do they think JLR’s problem is now TATA’s headache and not UK’s? Is JLR now branded as an Indian company just because some nine months ago the company was purchased by an Indian family? Is the government expect bailout from a poor nation (as stated by them) to save its pride? If Tata fails to provide liquidity then what is the situation of the thousands of employees working with JLR? Is automobile industry a core business for UK now?

Needless to say that the government is also keenly looking at the TATA group and its move in the current scenario and is asking them to act before anything done from their side. However, if TATA group has successfully managed the current situation through providing a bailout and work closely with the government in solving the issue it has the potential to act as a major boost for the group's business. Tata group is currently a well recognised Indian conglomerate business in EU. Has the group successfully solved the issue this might bring in more business from EU region. TCS, the software arm of the group can utilise the situation to seal contracts in the region. It is already clear that the group is trying to build its hold in EU with its two major acquisition one through Tata Steel (Corus bidding) and other through Tata Motors (JLR). Hence, in a long term the company can aim to seal more acquisitions in EU region with minimizing the resistance from unions.

Nevertheless, only the politics and the future can answer the questions with respect to the bailout and automobile industry. Let us wait and watch the melodrama of bailing out automobile industry now in UK.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Female CEO (Chanda Kochhar); the implications to India’s No.2 bank

Mr. Kamnath has found a female successor for ICICI who incidentally became the first young female CEO of Indian banking industry. However, the time is not so easy for Ms. Kochhar due to the global economic slowdown. She needs to do lots of home work before starting the career as CEO. Congrats to Ms. Kochhar and I am eager to look forward in how she manages the shark of Indian private banking industry.

Nevertheless, ICICI Bank is not the only one who appointed female to manage business in recent time. Why is management suddenly falling towards female to manage them? What is the reason for big industry to appoint female at top position? Why there is sudden shout from top management to bring more female in top management?

Hofstede’s study on five major cultural dilemmas identified each and every country to have its own cultural traits. Based on that west was identified to be Egalitarian and Assertive. What does these terms mean? The western business allowed individual to take responsibility. This is termed as Egalitarian. The opposite term for this is collectivism. Generally countries from Asia can fell in this category. The other term can relate to the strategies a business manager follows. Assertiveness is often related with short term aggressive strategy. As it is known the other term is long term conservative strategy. In general Anglo-Saxon model follows short term strategy. I have to accept that there are exceptions to this generalisation. Again countries from Asia can be termed to have long term strategy to business with exceptions.

Now consider the metaphor of mother to female; Mother is one who cares the family and children, takes care of all the members of family, shares common values and beliefs to have a closed knit family. Kinship is a term that can fit very well with mother.

Coming back to Ms. Kochhar, considering her gender, the general of properties of mother can be expected out of her. If she brings in these values to business then this has the potential to neutralise the western culture of ICICI’s business model. This again has the potential to bring in a flavour of Indian culture to the business which is widely expected by the customers in this part of the world.

However, is all the women bring these traits to business? Look at the management style of Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Margaret Tatcher. Are they influenced by the style of male who dominated the management or they lost their feminine style? Why did they fail to show their feminine management style? Is it fear of failure that resisted them from showing them? Will the same affect Ms. Kochhar too? Well, the answer to the last question can be answered by the future.

Has India got independence?

India attained its independence on 15 August 1947. This is what everybody is saying. However, my claim is that India is still being ruled not by Indians but by some other citizens.

Now let me take you through a series of global economic melodrama to prove my statement. Going back in history we can find that India claimed its independence from Britain in 1947. What is the actual reason for Britons to leave India? We all know that it is because of the quit India movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Alternatively, looking at the economical and management point of view we can see that the world war came to an end in 1940s and Briton lost majority of its wealth due to the war. US became the economic super power and saw a rapid growth in power and market. Hence it can be said that the fall of global administration led Briton to slowdown in growth and forced them to follow focus strategy thereby reducing global market exposure. Hence, India becoming the biggest nation under control got its independence.

But again during same period in 1947 another big event happened was Britton Woods which gave rise to IMF and World Bank. By 1968, IMF and World Bank started lending financial to the so called poor countries. The question to ask is what is the cause and effect of this lending? The countries which received the monetary benefits were forced to follow certain reforms mentioned by the lendor that are mainly focused towards free market liberalisation.

India too suffered in the hands of these so called global institutions. India was forced to liberalise its policies towards free market economy and thereby under the leadership of Mr. P. V. Naramashima Rao, in 1991 became free market economy. The reforms forced India to reduce government spending in healthcare and providing subsidies to agriculture. Nevertheless, the power behind these global institutions is US. Look at US they provide unnecessary subsidies to cotton growers of California. I say it as unnecessary because California is a desert and is not suitable for growing cotton. In such a condition spending in growing cotton is like spending surplus money. But US is considered world’s major debt economy. When a person is in debt why should spend unnecessarily. This is actually a major contradiction to what the global institutions preaches other countries by the way of free market liberalisation.

Thus it is needless to say that whatever party rule India the actual ruler is somewhere in US in the form of World Bank or IMF who dictates India what to do, when to do and how to do. Now again I am asking the question Has India attained Independence?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Is “Matrix” the American version of writer Sujatha’s novel “En eniya iandira”?

This blog analyses critically the similarities between the movie Matrix and the novel En eniya iandira. Writer Sujatha published his novel “En Eniya Iandira” in late 1980’s. This novel published in Anantha Vikatan is a success during that period. Statistics shows that the release of Matrix during early 21st century is a grand success across the world.

The story plot follows Science fiction in both the cases. In both the scenarios machine has taken over the administration and manage human race with the help of technology. In one case, the story happens in the future while in other case the world has become virtual reality. In both the cases, technology controlled human beings. Virtual realty gave them a happy lifestyle. Databases managed everything including Maslow’s basic needs. It is clearly possible to link this style of management with principles of protective style of management.

In one case, Agents rule the human power while in other it is the hologram image (Jeeva). However, in Sujatha’s novel Ravi and Mano twin human beings were behind the scenes. Morpheus with the help of Neo fight against technology in matrix while Nila with the help of Jeero fight against the government. Like Oracle in Matrix who knows about the architecture of the system in Sujath’s novel it is Doctor Raa. The pace with which Agents or Ravi & Mano trace the other team is exhilarating. The usage of spying machines, scanning techniques are having more similarity in either case.

Considering the differences in Sujatha’s novel Juno is heuristic robotic dog that improved its knowledge through reading and self-programming. The concept of self-programming or automated programming is a reality in current scenario. I had a chance to work on a project where we used the technique of automated programming using xDoclet. However, in Matrix Agents are human like with state of art technology. Matrix is famous for its scintillating fighting sequences while the novel had crisis. The movie clearly follows American culture. Nevertheless, the novel is truly South Indian.

Last but not the least similarity before I finish this blog both the versions had II part “Matrix Reloaded” in case of American version and “Meendum Jeero” in case of Indian version. The comparison based purely on my perception of both versions. There can be disagreement in my views and thoughts from others. I welcome constructive criticisms.