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Bhagavad Gita Relating To Contemporary Business Practices

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Question:

Discuss about the Bhagavad Gita Relating to Contemporary Business Practices.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

The Holy Gita is significant in the Indian context as Arjuna in the Kurukshetra battlefield preaches it. These teaching counsels from this Holy Gita have formed the foundation of the management tactics that helps the Indians to overcome crisis and achieve mental equilibrium (Ura and de Ordo?n?ez 42). The Bhagavadi Gita is a catalyst for transformation. Without a doubt, management is part of human life because it ensures a person assembles management principles and common purpose through different facets, such as finance, management of time, planning, practices, policies, priorities, personnel, resources, and machineries (Bhattathiri 1). Aggrarwal defines management as a systematic approach of putting human efforts in doing activities (1). The Bhagavadi Gita is a revelation from God that provides a complete guide. It raises the consciousness of man top achieve the possible highest level. The Bhagavadi Gita discovers various management principles that are applicable in modern world, as evident in chapter eighteen.

The motive Arjuna defines the general management principles that are applicable in different fields. It is evident that effective management can be applied in all organizations thus achieve the set objectives. For instance, an effective manager should focus on human resources development, vision, strategy, and planning formation, establish institutional excellent, and take corrective measures (Ura and de Ordo?n?ez 314). The managers are also expected to motivate the workforce. The Bhagavadi Gita is a grand Indian epic that focus on the moral and spiritual teachings. The Gita’s ethical teachings seem to mould the Hindus’ moral consciousness. Interestingly, the Gita unifies different spiritual developments thus create ethical vision. Based on the significance of the Bhagavadi Gita, this article explores and incorporates the ethical practices that are manifested in an Indian business environment (Ranganthananda 436).

The Bhagavadi Gita has highlighted the ethical principles and philosophies required in any business environment. According to Malik and Pereira, ethics focus on the moral principles that have defined the standard of behaviour acceptable in an environment (12). The ethics or moral behaviours provide logical justifications and reasoning of anything wrong or good. It thus focuses on principles and values regarding the human conduct. similarly, Mahadevan defines values as moral practices and principles that a group should display thus guide their personal conduct (559). Shankar (1) affirms that ethical behaviour is acceptable principles in governing the moral codes. Based on these ethical principles, there are various approaches that have helped to define them including individualism approach, utilitarian approach, justice approach, and moral rights approach?

This approach focuses on how the moral behaviours can produce the best outcome or the greatest good numbers. In this approach, the manager must consider the consequences of any decision on various stakeholders. To this effect, the manager or leader must select the best decision that optimizes the people’s satisfaction. under the utilitarianism approach, the right action would enhance the maximization of social utility (Information Resources Management Association 1217). Ordinarily, people view beneficial results as an ethical consideration. to this effect, utilitarianism defines the ethical phenomena by appealing to the consequences. Therefore, this makes the theory of utilitarianism superior.

 

Under this principle, any action perceived to be moral or ethical should promote an individual’s interest in the long-term. Ranganthananda indicates that individuals value the best long-term advantage (432). The individuals thus believe that their advantage is based on the decision goodness. For instance, when an individual pursues self-direction, it becomes possible to accommodate others in similar pursuit of long-term interests (Rao and Paranjpe 9).

This theory stipulates that everyone has fundamental liberties and rights that nobody can deny or takeaway. In fact, even individual decisions can never deny them these rights. Based on the Bhawuk’s findings, the ethical decisions should maintain these rights at all costs (3). The moral rights, therefore, are critical in defining the level of ethical decisions.

The approach is unique and critical in defining the human behaviours and actions. According to Mahadevan, the moral decisions should be founded on the standards of fairness, equity, and impartiality. This approach focuses on different types of justice, such as compensatory justice, procedural justice, and distributive justice (Bhawuk 26). The procedural justice calls for fair administration of rule while the distributive justice calls for different treatment of individuals rather than consider the arbitrary characteristics in the administering justice. Under the compensatory justice, individuals are guaranteed compensation for any damage or injuries in the course of administration of justice. To this effect, nobody needs to be held liable for things beyond human control (Ura and de Ordo?n?ez 241).

These ethics are the standards, norms, and principles that are essential in managing an individual or group. With the growth and globalization experienced in the world economy, companies are stretching their resources to dominate the market. In fact, the government controls over the economy is diminishing thus call for exemplary ethical practices (Rao and Paranjpe 26). The organizational leadership are experiencing ethical problems on how they can manage their organizations by making the best decisions. Kanniappan defines an ethical leader to be an individual whose actions are in tandem with the ethical qualities (14). Without a doubt, ethical practices and principles produce leaders who are ethically upright as they practice acceptable behaviours in the society (Mahadevan 1).

In the political and business contexts, ethical practices ensure the managers apply ethical principles in governance on the organizations. This has made the ethical principles to be critical in organizations. these practices ascertain good societal welfare and governance. Similarly, business organizations have expressed concerns regarding the ethical conducts. For instance, recently, businesses are suffering from various scandals thus exposes the level of unethical behaviours among the managers. The ethical practices ensure that the leaders of organizations provide value to stakeholders and shareholders. According to Aristotle, business ethics focus on moral and ethical principles relevant to business environment (62). these set of principles guide the managers in making ethical decisions. The business ethics thus covers various management functions like purchasing, accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, and operations.

Today, business ethics have become an increasingly necessary factor. This is because, whenever the management slips, the business would go unethical. Indisputably, unethical business practices have befallen many companies (Aristotle 16). to this effect, it is critical for businesses to establish business ethics programs thus address various aspects of business activities, such as environmental, social responsibility, and ethical, and legal issues (Bhattacharjee 16). by systematically addressing these concerns, companies can easily expand opportunities, growth, and performance thus realizes their objectives. The ethical practices are beneficial to businesses because they help an organization to increase profits, gain competitive position, and enhance image and goodwill. With ethical practices, a firm can also minimize risks and costs, protect its stakeholders, and expand access to foreign investments, credits, and capital.

 


Ethical business practices have become essential in the modern world. This is because; the ethical practices focus on the overall well-being of the society. A leader should be ethical by emphasizing on the benefits of the business. Bhatnagar (1) argues that unethical behaviour have always exposed companies to embarrassing scandals and losses. Faustino, Kaizeler, and Marques maintained that business managers experience numerous ethical issues (14). some of the issues are easy to handle while others have proved complex. For instance, the issues such as fraud and deceit, bribery, stealing, nepotism, information falsification, abuse of public find, quality control, and conflict of interests are among the issues the modern business managers must tackle. The environmental pollution and discrimination has also become a centre of concern. In many Asian countries, including India, have faced the issues on transparency, democracy, and ethical principles thus causing organizational failures.

The situation goes beyond the Asian countries because ethical issues are evident even in the American contexts. Based on the findings of Bhattacharjee (25), many Americans view their business executives as fair or poor ethical standards because they have identified various aspects of crimes perpetuated. For instance, the white-collar crime has become a common problem in the United States thus exposes the level of unethical behaviour. in fact, the Americans believe that business leaders are amoral because they hold the ethical practices as inappropriate. For instance, businesses can rarely handle this question of value. Unfortunately, the businesses or managers have not acquired relevant skills that prepare them to address the issues of ethics (Ura and de Ordo?n?ez 236). Therefore, the business schools have failed to train ethical managers.

Globally, the organizations are struggling to overcome the corporate scandals. For instance, in the United States, the corporate scandals are eminent as they entail WorldCom and Enron where public lost significant investments. In Europe, this situation was never distinct as scandals hit Vivendi and Parmalat companies. In India, the stories of Satyam scandal triggered the public outcry. Based on these unethical practices, the public have thus become responsive, as they demand more answers from the managers. This has ensured that the culture of accountability is instilled, as leaders are held accountable for their actions. In fact, fraud and corruption are unethical practices that confirm the level of evil in the societies. These practices have exposed millions of employees to suffering.

Despite the existence of various scandals, the society has emphasized on the ethical principles (Zeyar and Ordo?n?ez 368). Indisputably, different forms of corruption and bribery have proved costly for businesses. managers have to work with other officials to maintain secrete accounts, blackmail, and extortion to survive. Nevertheless, business managers must work with relevant authorities to develop regulatory practices to overcome the unethical practices and promote efficiency and transparency. Nasr has affirmed that business ethics is the only field that can eliminate the unethical behaviours (16). with the business ethics, it is possible for the society to promote transparency, honesty, integrity, fairness, and self-regulation. Each country or region has distinct ethical practices. In fact, even in India, each community exhibit distinct beliefs and culture. The ethical belief diversity calls for customization of ethical practices. For instance, in China, the society believes in Taoism and Confucianism philosophies (Mahadevan 559). These beliefs have influenced the business practices in the Chinese context.

 

Business Ethics and Indian Culture

India is a country that boasts of the best business schools. However, the country has failed to produce the best companies in the world. This is because; the schools have failed to develop students who understand the indigenous management principles like the Gita. Indeed, the Indians are brought up in an environment where family ties are given priority. To this effect, it becomes difficult for such people to adjust and fit in the new environment. For instance, the Indian managers have failed to fit in the American individualistic environment where contractual management style and low-power distance are inevitable (Ura and de Ordo?n?ez 239). The ethical principles are cultural-bound but universal. Muniapan (14) holds that an effective management system is rooted in cultural aspects. each country in Asia has defined its management system based on their individual ethical principles. For instance, the culture of Confucianism has defined the success of management systems in various countries include Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan.

the Indian context of unethical behaviour was evident in the second world war. This is because of the most of the business practices are based on the western ethical principles. indeed, many Indian businesses have underestimated the aspects of eternal ethical values. It is important for the Indian businesses to forego the external ethical practices and embrace their unique characteristics. Many studies on the Indian ethics have provided relevant information on business leadership. For instance, the Vidic literature has highlighted the ancient wisdoms regarding ethical practices (Cornelissen, Misra, and Varma 338).

the Bhagavad-Gita is an Indian philosophy that has defined ethical practices in the society. The Indians believe that the Bhagavad-Gita is beyond the Indian context but covers the whole humankind. the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita are critical in the modern management of businesses. the concepts advocated in this principle include motivation, leadership, vision, and attitude towards work (Cornelinssen et al. 354). Bhagavad-Gita also focuses on excellence in work, nature of individuals, achieving goals, decision-making, meaning of work, and planning. According to Bhagavad-Gita, it is critical to manage oneself thus allow the individual to reach the best level. This principle is thus enlightens the Indians to apply all managerial techniques leading to a balanced state. therefore, the manager overcomes conflicts and contradictions that can cause inefficiency in an organization.

The Bhagavad Gita has further described various management concepts including excellence in work, motivation, leadership, work ethics, and vision. with these concepts, the organizational managers can make critical decisions that would benefit the business. Through the Bhagavad-Gita, it is possible for the leader to motivate and create a work culture required for the success of an organization. the Bhagavad-Gita principle seems to address the issues befalling the human minds. It exposes the Indian manager to the conflict resolution strategy thus avoids preventable conflicts associated with the western thoughts. the Bhagavad-Gita is an effective managerial practice. It can thus be evident in various management concepts:

The work of a manager revolves around proper utilization of resources. in most cases, resources are never enough, thus a wise decision on the management is critical. For example, before the Mahabharata War, it was critical to choose the large army to achieve victory. Arjuna opted for the wisdom of Sri Krishna for support. Based on the Bhagavad-Gita, it was evident that an effective manager must utilize the available resources.

in erecting the temple, the three stonecutters were essential. The response of workers was illuminating. For example, the workers acknowledge that they were poor and needed the job to maintain their families. The workers showed that they had positive attitudes towards work because each wanted to justify their ability to produce results. Although their tasks were identical, the workers had different perspectives. Therefore, Bhagavad-Gita emphasizes on the development of a visionary perspective. the workers should establish a sense of vision to achieve the common goal.

The Bhagavad-Gita emphasizes on detachment from results of actions or fruits during work. According to Riches, the managers should be dedicated to their work so that they can generate excellent work (8). Conversely, the aspects of detachment experienced at work are because the companies are never designed to respond to the positive calculations. the Bhagavad-Gita affirms the significance of mortgaging the present commitment. people should measure up to uncertain future by being unattached to their actions. The Bhagavad-Gita has given relevance to the cause and effect theory that ensures the doers become responsible for their actions (Kanniappan 26). The Gita maintains that individuals who focus on selfish gains must be ready for the arising consequences. The Gita also describes the aspects of stress management. it indicates that managers can overcome burnouts through psychological energy conservation in any work situation. Therefore, the right attitude to work is comparable to nishkama karma that has ensured individuals avoids ego.

 


Presumably, people work to accomplish their daily needs. these are the motivational factors as defined in the motivational theory as through work, a person can satisfy the needs, such as adequate food, shelter, clothing, status, appreciation, recognition, and personality development (Easwaran 34). Without a doubt, the need to satisfy the expectations of the society is critical for the success of the manager. besides, the low paid workers demonstrate exemplary skills in self-realization no matter the low satisfaction level. The theory of self-realization or self-transcendence forms the basis of the Gita. The theory shows the significance of overcoming obstacles by renouncing egoism (Head 16). Indisputably, people should detach from egos to avoid spoiling their work. The Gita advices people or manager to seek for the divine intervention thus avoids egocentric desires, needs, and passions. Therefore, individuals should establish a work culture to achieve organization goals.

Conclusion

The Gita provides an important message to managers in handling the human situation. Sri Krishna has opted for inspiration actions to motivate and justify the aspects of self-confidence. This marked the victory of ethical action because the words used were encouraged strength and self-confidence. For instance, when Arjuna stood to fight, Sri Krishna offered the best advice that encouraged an intense action for the benefit of the society not individual gain. This was a victory of dharma as Arjuna’s action was for the good of the society. Based on this article, it is evident that the Indian society values the Gita. Therefore, the managers should use Sri Krishna’s advice to avoid the temporary failures and actions.

 

Works Cited

Aggrarwal, Ashok. The Teachings and Lessons of Gita and its Relevance to the Modern. Speakingtree.In, 21 May 2014. https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/the-teachings-and-lessons-of-gita-and-its-relevance-to-the-modern-management-and-corporate-world. Accessed 10 May 2017.

Aristotle. Nicomachean ethic. London, England: Penguin Classics, 2004.

Bhatnagar, Ankur. Management and Business Ethics through Indian Scriptures and Traditions. Management Paradise, 13 February 2012.

Bhattacharjee, Anondo. Modern Management Through Ancient Indian Wisdom: Towards a More Sustainable Paradigm. Business Ethics, vol. 6, no. 1, Mar-Aug 2011, pp. 15-37.

Bhattathiri, M. P. Management and the Bhagavad Gita. Quality Insider, 26 September 2006. https://www.qualitydigest.com/inside/quality-insider-article/management-and-embhagavad-gitaem#. Accessed 12 May 2017.

Bhawuk, Dharm P.S. Spirituality and Indian Psychology: Lessons from the Bhagava-Gita, Springer, 2011.

Cornelissen, Matthijs, Girishwar Misra, and Suneet Varma. Foundations of Indian Psychology. Delhi: Pearson, 2011.

Easwaran, Eknath. The Bhagavad Gita. Nilgiri Press, 2007.

Faustino, Horacio C., Ana C. Kaizeler, and Rafael J. Marques. The Ethics of a Globalized World: A Universal Ethics? Working Papers, WP 20/2009/DE/SOCIUS.

Head, Tom. The Absolute Beginner's Guide to the Bible. Indianapolis, IN: Que Publishing, 2005.

Information Resources Management Association. Business Law and Ethics: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications.  IGI Global, 2015. 1217

Kanniappan, Ravi Varmman. Business Ethics. HELP University, 2015.

Mahadevan, B. Bhagavad Gita: Ideas for Modern Management. https://www.samskritbookfair.org/archives/882. Accessed 12 May 2017.

Mahadevan. Management Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita. The Vedanta Kesari, December 2008, pp. 558-561. https://iimb.ac.in/sites/default/files/GitaManagement.pdf. Accessed 13 May 2017.

Malik, Ashish and Vijay Pereira. Indian Culture and Work Organizations in Transition. Routledge, 2016.

Muniapan, Balakrishnan. Bhagavad-Gita and Business Ethics; A Leadership Perspective.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Islam: Religion, History, and Civilization. HarperSanFrancisco, 2003.

Ranganthananda, Swami. “The Universal Message of Gita”, Advaita Ashrama, Kolkatta, vol. 1, 2000, pp. 430-437.

Rao, K Ramakrishna and A C. Paranjpe. Psychology in the Indian Tradition. Springer, 2015. 12, 14, 121, 225.

Riches, John. The Bible: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2000.

Shankar, Arthi. Bhagavad Gita and Management. SlideShare, 30 September 2012. https://www.slideshare.net/arthi_shankar/bhavad-gita-mgmt. Accessed 11 May 2017.

Ura, Dasho K, and de Patricia Pablos Ordo?n?ez. Asian Business and Management Practices: Trends and Global Considerations. IGI Global, 2015.

Zeyar, Myo A, and de P. P. Ordo?n?ez. Managerial Strategies and Practice in the Asian Business Sector. Hershey, PA, USA: Business Science Reference, 2016.

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