The science of management has made remarkable progress especially from the mid 1960s.A plethora of concepts, techniques and tools have been evolved. Material prosperity has increased considerably in countries and organizations which imbibed and implemented faithfully the new tools and techniques. But management of organizations and economies are plagued by an avalanche of corrupt and unethical practices like corporate frauds and corruption resulting in looting and wastage of national resources. Consumers are misled and cheated. Low priority goods are produced. Productivity in many organizations continues to be low and poor work culture thrives. Workers are more aware of rights and not duties. Of course there are exceptions.
Top management, employees, government and competitors contribute to this mess Right thinking managers fully armed with all modern concepts, tools and techniques feel there is a vacuum in their armory which retards real progress and achievement. This creates a deep sense of dissatisfaction and a feeling of incompleteness in their task.
On introspection they find that while efforts are made to develop resources outside man, very little is done to develop the inner resources .The ancient wisdom contained in our scriptures focuses on developing the inner strengths of the body, mind and intellect. The analogy of the human body to the chariot gives an invaluable insight. The chariot with the horses, the reins, the charioteer and the flag has great significance and a wealth of meaning for management.
The wheels of the chariot represent Dharma (righteousness) which is the foundation for other goals, namely, Artha and Kama. The horses represent the senses, the reins the mind, the charioteer the intellect and the flag with the image of Hanuman symbolizing a force overcoming obstacles with the determination to achieve the goals. The senses are controlled by the mind and the mind in turn is controlled by the intellect. Thus management functions of planning, direction and controlling are beautifully exercised.
The planning and directing function manifest in basing all actions on Dharma (righteousness). Artha or earning of wealth and Kama or fulfilling desires are subject to Dharma. This principle, if understood and faithfully followed will eliminate greed or curtail it significantly. Wealth created will be used for the benefit of a larger section of people within and outside the organization. Corporate social responsibility will be automatically ensured.It will be wealth creation with sustainability and according to priority.
The discriminating intellect sifts relevant knowledge, assigns priority, and arrives at right conclusions and sound decisions. The control function is exercised by pulling back the senses (horses) to the right track with the reins (mind) i.e. correcting deviations from the main objective.
Thus the body, mind and intellect function as an integrated system promoting human excellence and efficient management. If the concept of the chariot and its comparison with the human body is rightfully understood and assimilated by all the employees in the organization compliance of decisions will be easy and effective. With more and more employees at all levels in the organization practising such principles the results will be better and far reaching. This perspective gives a new dimension to management.
This article is the gist of a talk given by the author at the Ist World Parliament on Spirituality held in Hyderabad in December 2012