Sunday, June 10, 2012

Leadership style, Decision-making and the Anti-Corruption Campaign

          For all those among us who have ever wondered how the Team Anna's Anti-corruption campaign has connection the B-School Business Management lessons, here is some link I have attempted to draw between Leadership Style, Decision-making, the cultural climate in India and the Anti-Corruption Campaign.
            When making their personal fight against corruption in the Indian Society, many people must have faced the enquiry of how deep is the root of corruption in our society. Indeed there is a generation born and living for over half a century now which has seen Corruption as the only right way of life. This generation of corruption-DNA Indians discards the ideals, the seminary thoughts as some fantasy ideas, and conducts out with full confidence all the mal-practises which conform to the definition of Corruption.
           To this philosophical enquiry, the truth-seekers, therefore, must have stumbled on the answer that Corruption is truly a cultural problem of India. There is no iota of doubt that what Anna Hazare and his Team have set to fight out against is nothing but our own cultural mal-practises which we have conveniently adopted as the right way of doing Business and Administrations.
        It is from this answer that some leadership academic thinkers should begin to think over what is it cultural about Indians that their business environment does not identify as the mal-practises of Business, over other Transparency International-rated honest nations. Geert-Hofstede Analysis on Cultures across the World provides the clues where it rates India high on the Power-Difference Index (PDI) . A high PDI measurement implies a feudalistic culture when the leader in the group maintains a VIP Status, special facilities, above and beyond those which are standards for other, for himself. Indian style Leadership can show to all us the causes of how corruption is so much systemic and cultural among Indians. The style  of leadership among the Indians, the Political Leadership, has those fine features in its decision-making which make the beliefs of one leader spread downward from the leader to his followers and later, on the scale of time, through the generation of people born in Indian milieu.
       In summary, the link is something like :
Leadership style (in India , Political-style leadership) -->> Decision-making (un challenge-able, un reasonable, personally convenient decisions) -->> Corruption -->> business and governance failures.

The connection of Decision-making to the Culture-genetic corruption in India are not ill-reasoned. Here, I publish and provide web-link of the Ombudsman office of Western Australia Government ( http://www.ombudsman.wa.gov.au/Agencies/Agencies.htm) which has bothered to illustrate what is a Good Record Keeping (http://www.ombudsman.wa.gov.au/Publications/Documents/guidelines/Good-record-keeping-Guidelines.pdf) and Good Practises on Decision-making (http://www.ombudsman.wa.gov.au/Agencies/Good_admin.htm)  about.
        The website provides public information on how to exercise discretion in Decision-Making (http://www.ombudsman.wa.gov.au/Publications/Documents/guidelines/Exercise-of-discretion-in-admin-decision-making.pdf)Procedural Fairness (Natural Justice) (http://www.ombudsman.wa.gov.au/Publications/Documents/guidelines/Procedural-fairness-guidelines.pdf) .

         There is lot of perceivable connection between a Good Decision-making, and the Corruption and mal-practises becoming habitual in the people from a given culture. Good decision-making, in turn, has connection with the leadership style , which , in turn, becomes a function of cultural disposition of people towards there leader.
        In India, the leader is routinely expected to be a lead in both, the ideological leading as well as the administrative leading works. He makes his decisions "independently"so much that often times the leader's decision can surprise everyone within the group as what caused such a decision, who had advised him on the given course of decision-making. Notably, the language used to describe the abrupt decisions remain polite and humble out of a culturally-expected awe for the leader, therefore , being termed merely as "independent". The cross-examination of a decision is not accepted by the people in general. Neither does the leader deem it necessary to provide reasons for arriving at a given decision. This is something contrary to the guidelines given on the Ombudsman website of WA Government, Giving Reasons for your decisions.
           This problem of leadership style as practised by the Indian people is that we have subsidized knowledge of the difference between Decision-making and the exercising of Discretion.  In our culture, it is expected of a leader to be courageous and brave, which unwittingly involves, exercising Discretion as well. "Discretion is the better part of valour" , we believe in, to the ill-logical ends of it.
             Feudalism is ingrained in our culture in a very secretive deep-seated way. What makes this secretive is that our religious leanings has inculcated feudalism in us. Feudalism has roots in the by-birth Caste system of Hindus, and the Islam's and Moghul's religio-political leadership ways. It may not be mere co-incidence that the Geert Hofstede measure the Middle East's Muslim nations and India, high on the PDI.  Japan is another traditionally Feudalistic nation, although it is not rated high on the PDI by the Geert Hoftsede Analysis. Here is the website link to know and to compare the Geert Hofstede of different countries in the world.(http://geert-hofstede.com/japan.html). 
       One might question why the Middle-East countries, particularly the KSA , UAE, are not so much corrupt as us ? To this, the answer can be found in the GH Analysis itself, wherein the difference between culture of India and the Middle East can be seen largely vaired in the UAI , the Uncertainty Avoidance Index. How the uncertainty-avoidance makes the difference between the two cultures is that the Middle East are a tightly regulated countries, which have too many strict and even draconian and biased law system to prevent an accident , or a mal-practise. India, in comparison, is a "Polytheist"- confused nation which attempts to "respect too many views", in facts, the mutually exclusive views as well. Thus India is comparatively a less-regulated , "parliamentary democracy" nation which have confused up itself inside the mutually-exclusive choices too. Our laws are less inclined to prevent the accidents and mal-practises due to heavy confusion and "parliamentary-ness" (a decision-making paralysis due to simultaneous weighment of too many opinions, right versus wrong,versus, rights versus less rights,versus, wrongs versus less wrongs) in our system. The "parliamentary-ness" has brought to us immense "Democracy-ness ", where there are no laws, no system to manage properly the fatal-accidents of the road by having proper safety-regulations implemented, or even to handle unforseeable uncertainties such as a Tsunami or an Earthquake. The politicians have regularly taken advantage of the "Democracy-ness" to conduct the acts of corruption. Our regulatory control to keep check on the identifiable uncertainties  is very very poor. Many social-scientist have described this behaviour as the Fatalism in Indians.
      (that reminds me, when visiting any country the Uncertainty Avoidance Index of a country can sometimes be judged by the kind of roads, the road signs, name boards, driving skill of the people. India, clearly has very poor standards. The count of road-accidents casualties might just confirm the claim.)
    (the decision-making paralysis due to simultaneous weighment of too many opinions, right versus wrong,versus, rights versus less rights,versus, wrongs versus less wrongs, -- is something like a round-robin match, to quarter finals, to semi-finals, to the finals. India mostly does not reach the final, or loses it away if it does.)
       The feudalism , the fatalism, these all problems connect up with another commonly know problem in India, found in its Education System, - that the pupil are not encouraged to question. In the school days, we are trained not to question our teachers; in our job training the boss wants us to "find out and let me know" every question that we ask him; the Gods , the parents, the police, the government, no body wants to be questioned. For many of these groups, the reason for why these groups do not appreciate being questioned is from the religious learning of the people, for many other-- they do not have the answers. The Research and Development work in India is , not astonishingly, poor. The decision-makers get some advantage from the poor R&D investments in our country. The most rigorous of the opinion-making happens when a country has a good R&D infrastructure. And the real challenge of decision-making happens when the experts collide in a decision-making debate. Our public-administration, decision-making is truly of the Political kind, where the leader makes the decision to his own conveniences, by virtue of being a ideological and the administrative leader; this leadership achieved by him through the vote-bank politics, where in the social-justice has been fouled up by run of the numbers. If someone attempts to question his decision, the straight and most 'irrefutable' answer which stands is that, "you can do your kind when you come to power, when you turn comes".  This reply is irrefuatble because the Indian culture accepts such replies as the appropriate ones, unaware of the labyrinth route of how our social-justice is contributed to fouling-up by these.
             However wayward it might have sounded, but as the design of the nature is complex neural-networked inextricable, inter-twined circuit, the proposition of 'No Questioning Allowed' is the at present the node between our highly corrupt culture, and the poor public disposition towards R&D works. And that might explain better why a corrupt nation can never become a world leader. You can live up in you dreams 'India 2020', Mr Politicans.