Thursday, June 07, 2012

Group Dynamics of Volunteer's Movement ... the sowing of the seeds of corruption within

What makes the volunteers fight among themselves for the organisation ranks?

Group Dynamics of a volunteer's group, such as the India Against Corruption, is an interesting case study. The group IAC has the objective of doing a fight against Corruption. The roots of corruption in our society are myriad : from the Geert Hofstede-told High Power Difference Index, to the social outlook developed over centuries and millennium by institutions such as by-birth caste systems, to the conditioned acceptance of feudal lordship.
In this climate it becomes interesting to watch how the IAC will manage to steer clear of any internal corruption by taking the right managerial decisions. The challenge is to avoid those decisions which are the recognised root-causes of corruption. Corporates and Governments have a massive oppertunity to counter-claim that India cannot survive without corruption on the same grounds where the IAC will suffer failures in its internal management in sidestepping the corruption potholes.
The rising claims of the allied organisation of the IAC (such as the BVJA) of being neglected, and the claims of promoting the near and dear ones are something which confirm to the definition of Corruption as given in various Law Codes such as the UNCAC.
Corruption is the abuse of Power, for personal gains or influencing the just outcome of a decision.
A volunteer's group can be compared with a Democractic Country where people have come to reside out of their free-will. As a matter of fact, various beliefs and opinions will come to surface and the country will need to decide on some of them so for a uniform enactment on everyone so that the business of the country may proceed. Over here, the business of the IAC is to bring around a law code which they called the JLP Bill.
Status report, as of today, is that a universal agreement has come up on the structure of the JLP after the initial days of haggling in the Bill's contents, the new clash rising in the country, the IAC, is about credit-taking, and promotion (or down scaling) of other small factions within the larger country.
One wonders as to what purpose and what use is the fight of Credit-taking all about?? What would a person gain from such fight. Geert-Hofstede provides some clue to the reasons behind the conduct of sub- factions involved in such tussels.
India being a culturally feudalistic country, the people are habituated of accepting certain people as their leader, in both ideological sense and the administrative sense. Hence the leader has oppertunity of becoming the political head of such people. People naturally submit to the political heads and deliver the free-will to the services of the leader. In India, the leadership styles we are accustomed to adjudge as the best, can be been academically nomenclature'd as the Political style leadership : someone who is both an Ideological head as well as the administrative head. Our culture does not accept interrogation of the leader's decision. This is what Geert-Hofstede describes as the high power-difference index ( a Feudal culture). The leader is therefore an un-challenge-able king. We like to see the leader as a perfect person who embodies all that we desire out of him. Our leader's supreme qualities as as much diverse and immense as the hero we see in our Bollywood fantasy dramas.
While working with foreign nationals , particularly the Europeans, I have noticed that they do not have a boss-culture in their work place. The significant characteristic of a european work climate is that every body is called by his name. There is no 'Sir', 'Respected Sir'. While we Indians take aversion to this behavior as a ''dis-respect full'' attitudes, what it contributes to the management is that the leadership style develop some hidden but significant difference as compared with the Indian work climate. The european style leadership is Administrative Decision-maker style where the free-will of the group members is not surrendered before the leader. Such behaviours and work-climate prevents an un-challenged pass over of controls to the next-favourite of the incumbent leader, downplays the dynastic take-overs of leaderships, and helps more effective decision-making as a consequence of due argumentation.
In one of my viewes of how so many scams have come around in the UPA governance, it is possible that while PM MM Singh or Sonia Gandhi ( a born european) attempted or experimented with the european style of leadership, the Indian factions took advantage of the freedoms granted to them. Being culturally adept to feudal style, we treat a polite and respect-giving leader as impotent, 'slack', incapable.
In the european style leadership, the characteristic that free-will of the members of the group need not be surrendered and every opinion holds equal strength, the European style leadership can be compared to have something similar to an in-grained decentralization. The ministers within the UPA might have taken advantage of the decentralization naturally coming to them through the european style Leadership of Sonia and the PM , and seized oppertunity to work all their misdeavours.
The IAC might be undergoing problem which have similar cultural roots. The small-time, small-place volunteer's group who would be eyeing on the take over of the political legacy of the movement. Some  small-time, small-place  volunteer's through their immense knowledge of the old 'Sampoorn Kranti' andolan of Jai Prakash Narayan in 80's, and before that, of the Indian National Congress before the Independance (in the British Raj) would be prompted to raise claims of being "U.P Prabhari", near and dear to Anna, Kejriwal. Some of them might even take the route of accusing others who are presently in the leads, for not having contributed anything significant to the movement.
The claims and the accusations will be taking cover under the moral right of the volunteers, that the volunteers ''are being neglected'', ''should not be neglected'', ''cannot be neglected''. But in-fight has the potential to derail the movement. This in-fight, 'the rift', has strength to send the philosophical supporters to oblivion by drawing all the attention to crisis- solving.
India has another cultural problem- the problem of Idol Worship and the hero worshipping. Over here the Idols of the hero often become larger than the hero himself. The hero's idol become cause for the fight among the followers instead of integrating the belief of the people which the hero might have attempted to teach or practise.
The job-profile exposure of the members of Team Anna , mostly ex-bureaucrats, can make them compulsively do things which are otherwise injustice. Ex-bureaucrats might adopt a dual justice system by giving special privileges, special hearings to certain volunteers over other people. If they assign any organisational rank to any person without presenting due reasons, the claims of favoritism are due. IAC,  ofcourse, can not have UPSC type entrance test for assigning a rank for the organisational functioning, but the roles and choices of people will cause troubles to other sub-groups. Those volunteer who are eying a organisational rank know how Idols can later be made larger than the hero himself. It is happening in the present breeds of politicians such as Laloo, Mulayam, Sharad (from the Jai Prakash Narain movement), from Mayawati (through B R Ambedkar's heir-ship), through Congress (through the Gandhi-Nehru Legacy).
     A salaried appointment and a well-described duties for the organisational ranks created if any, should keep the claims and in-fightings off. IAC should consider this approach.
Another challenge before the group is to ensure that no advices or opinions are overlooked. Ofcourse the core committee cannot be sitting all through the day answering and discussing and debating with everyone who have something to speak to the IAC, the one precaution the IAC will have to exercise is not to response back to any volunteer such as to remind him of his position as a volunteer.
Like, "This is our decision of this issue, and if you accept it you can stay with the IAC otherwise it is volunteer's group, you can always move out".
This kind of response amounts to imposition of one's view on all others. The political parties have often been accused by their own people of being undemocratic when the party heads have adopted such responses to the disagreeing factions. The corporates and political organisations who may be standing opposite to the IAC's objectives will have all the due reasons to smile for their knowledge that how challenging is the running of a Democractic organisations in India without having a feudalistic leadership. The perception goes that in India if the leader does not demonstrate his crude self, acts too polite, we stop believing in his qualities.The responses as basically the Democractic styled answer of a feudal leader. Once feudal style takes over, corruption come in by its device. Discretion is the means  of a feudal leader. The decision maker is thrown out while the Discretionary man come to fore projecting himself as a courageous, brave man ready to face the fire. Our Indian eyesights are not capable of detecting the mangerial lapses happening. The discretionary man becomes the undisputed lord who can award or punish persons at his choice. Corruption then becomes a way of the life in such organisations.
IAC stands at one such phase where it have to demonstrate and train many other how not to be Corrupt by making the right decisions within itself.