Uday Salunkhe -Unravelling the Mystical Indian Organization Culture – Cues for Globalisation

Apr 18, 2011 | Posted by Dr. Uday Salunkhe in Faculty Talk   No Comments »

Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe, Dr P S Rao, Prof Ms Ketna L Mehta


Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai*


Indian Culture & effect on Business:

Any Organisational policy has to consider the inherent culture of the community that it has as its core employees.  As an example the government owned Airline, Indian Airlines & Air India till date has the saree as its attire and uniform for its airhostess and staff. The communication to its customers would be that they serve them with the same hospitality that ancient India was well known for.


There are over 25 festivals during the year. Each festival has a unique significance to the community at large. Corporate gifting is generally a part of business culture and as per hierarchies appropriate gifts are given. Handing them over personally by visiting their homes / offices is a mark of respect and interpersonal relations. The President / MD would utilize this opportunity to invite the employees along with their family members to have a one to one interaction with them and enjoy the festival with sweets and relevant cuisine.




During Festivals, there is a community lunch where all the members of the organization, sit together and enjoy a meal together. In the Indian culture, food is always served to the elders and children first. Thus, when the CEO hands a plate / thali to his employee and coaxes him/ her to eat first – it transforms the employee with this kind of respect; where hierarchy play a very important role. Eating Together, with no differentiation and serving others – whatever their level in the hierarchy builds bridges within the organisation.


Organisation culture

Few countries in the world have such an ancient and diverse culture as India’s.

It is this variety which is a special hallmark of India. Its physical, religious and racial variety is as immense as its linguistic diversity. Underneath this diversity lies the continuity of Indian civilization and social structure from the very earliest times until the present day.

The Indian calendar is one long procession of festivals. These are as varied in origin as they are large in number. There are innumerable national, regional, local, religious, seasonal and social festivities. This is not surprising considering the fact that India is the land of gods, goddesses, saints,         gurus     and       prophets.

Festivals here are characterised by colour, gaiety, enthusiasm, feasts and a variety of prayers and rituals of this land.

One more is cricket. Whenever there is a cricket match with India playing, the offices are deserted and employees take leave from work watch it on television. Festivals account for a whole lot of manday lost from the workplace.


In India, religion is a way of life. It is an integral part of the entire Indian tradition. For the majority of Indians, religion permeates every aspect of life, from common-place daily chores to education and politics.

Common practices have crept into most religious faiths in India and many of the festivals that mark each year with music, dance and feasting are shared by all communities. Each has its own pilgrimage sites, heroes, legends and even culinary specialties, mingling in a unique diversity that is the very pulse of society. To bond with their employees, organizations take them en masse to Shirdi (Samadhi to SaiBaba) or              Vaishnodevi in Jammu. .



It is the way business owners and managers structure and organize the company to obtain their objectives. It is the cohesion of values, heroes, myths, beliefs and symbols that has come to mean a great deal to people who work there.

The most vexing and unresolved problems confronting management today, especially in the Indian managerial scenario, is that of satisfying the members in an organization. Research in the area of motivation has produced valuable insights into how hierarchical leaders should behave. But they are still by and large helpless when faced with the necessity of changing the behaviour of persons having basic personality defects. Though we assign these “defects” to personality, these are essentially the defects of a wrong organizational policy borrowed from the West and implemented in the East. Organizations have individual cultures peculiar to themselves. The behaviour of people belonging to organizations is conditioned by their cultural patterns.

Management scholars pay a good amount of attention to these industrial anthropological developments in organizations. What is needed is a realization of the importance of culture in determining human behaviour, even in technologically advanced industrial societies.

After studying the organization culture of various types of organizations namely, Family-managed companies, Private sector companies, Public sector companies, Multinational companies the following analysis was derived:


  • They prefer a multi-purpose person- an employee who will be an accountant, administrator, sales person etc. This is because they like to limit the no. of employees on roll.

  • The person is bound to the organization and is extremely devoted, subservient to the owner and spends his lifetime there.

  • Employee Turnover is kept minimum

i.         Good treatment – all employees are treated as part of the family and work as a unit


ii.       Salary on time


iii.      Advance loan granted to meet certain personal commitments like,

Health problem, Marriages and renovation of homes.


iv.     Employees are involved in family celebrations like, marriages, birth of a child, etc


v.       Expose them to such work areas by virtue of which they may acquire skills which may not be of great importance to other organizations.



a) The positive factors which lead to the success of Companies

  • Consensus decision-making
  • Open environment
  • Effective dialogue between superiors and subordinates
  • Organisation environment
  • Democratic, Participative Management
  • Flexible Organisation
  • Emphasis on right recruitment and selection
  • Adequate induction/ orientation programs mould an employee in the Organisation Culture
  • Healthy succession Policy
  • Sense of belongingness
  • Opportunities to grow, emphasis on HRD.
  • Free information flow
  • Employees of different age groups

b)      Following Factors were found Detrimental from the Organisation Culture point of view:


  • Mistakes committed not tolerated
  • Lack of respect for employees
  • Technical obsolescence
  • Autocratic leadership style
  • Militancy of labour
  • Organisational conflicts and non-resolution of the same at the appropriate time
  • Discouragement of Innovation
  • Favouritism
  • Unhealthy working conditions
  • Subordinates not taken into confidence




  • Greater autonomy
  • Longer tenure for the chief executive
  • Rewarding personnel on the basis of merit and not merely seniority
  • Open atmosphere
  • Good utilisation of human energies
  • High productivity standards


Author’s profile:


Prof. Dr. Uday Salunkhe Director - Welingkar Institute of Management is a mechanical engineer with a management degree in ‘Operations’, and a Doctorate in ‘Turnaround Strategies’. He has 12 years of experience in the corporate world including Mahindra & Mahindra, ISPL and other companies before joining Welingkar in 1995 as faculty for Production Management. Subsequently his inherent passion, commitment and dedication toward the institute led to his appointment as Director in 2000. Dr. Salunkhe has been invited as visiting fellow at the Harvard Business School, USA and European University, Germany. He has also delivered seminars at the Asian Institute of Management, Manila and has been awarded   “The Young Achievers Award-2003″ in the field of Academics by the Indo American Society recently.



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