India

Indian Business Management Style

As has already been stated, India is an enormously hierarchical society (arguably the most hierarchical in the world) and this, obviously, has an impact on management style.

It is imperative that there is a boss and that the manager acts like a boss. The position of manager demands a certain amount of role-playing from the boss and a certain amount of deferential behaviour from his subordinates. The boss is definitely not expected to perform any seemingly menial tasks such as making coffee for everybody or moving chairs in a meeting room! Anglo-Saxon concepts of egalitarianism where the boss is the first amongst equals are virtually incomprehensible in a society still dominated by the historical conventions of the caste system.

Therefore, the boss is expected to give explicit instructions which will be followed to the letter – even if everybody knows full well that the instruction is incorrect. Vague requests for action, with the expectation that staff will show the necessary level of initiative are likely to end in inaction, as staff will be left confused as to the wishes of the manager. Managing people in India requires a level of micro-management which many western business people feel extremely uncomfortable with but which is likely to bring the best results.

It is also worth bearing in mind that many off-shore centres in India are staffed by recent graduates who, although highly educated, intelligent and motivated, will lack basic commercial experience. Any office in which all the managers were 25 years old and the team-members were 23 years-old would lack a degree of experience. Inexperience does not equate to incompetence and this needs to be borne in mind at all times.


Author

This country-specific business culture profile was written by Keith Warburton who is the founder of the cultural awareness training consultancy Global Business Culture

Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working.  We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.

This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in India only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.

Country Breakdown

1.3

Billion

Population

Indian Rupee

Currency

$ 2.26

Trillion

GDP

3.287

Million

km2

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