VALUE BASED MANAGEMENT
(Hindu Dharma and Management: Article 3)
Dr Satish Modh
It is often said that hard work will lead to success. Indeed this theory of reward being commensurate with effort has been an enduring belief and a moral imperative in our society. This thought is central to our self - image as a people, where a chance is available to anyone with ability who has the gumption and persistence.
This notion now a days carry less conviction because business people, and our society as a whole have little patience with those, even though they work hard, are not successful. In the end it is success that matters. Men and women in the organisations no longer see success as necessarily connected to hard work. What becomes of the morality of the organisation - everyday rules that people play by - when there is no fixed or plausible explanation or objective standards of excellence.
What rules do people adhere to interact with one another when they feel that, instead of ability, talent and dedicated service to an organisation, politics, adroit talk, luck, connection, and self promotion are the real sorters of people into sheeps and goats?
THEORY OF VALUES
Indian thought system presents a comprehensive understanding of values. Indian Philosophy is essentially a philosophy of values. The Sanskrit word for value, 'Ishta', means the object of liking, and the term Value may therefore be defined as 'that which is desired'. The opposite of Value i.e. 'disvalue' be taken as 'that which is shunned or avoided'. It has reality only in its fulfilment, and needs therefore to be actualised before it can become truly a value. This is the reason why we characterise it as the 'satisfaction of desire' or 'the achievement of ends'.
If facts are apprehended, values are realised. It is only as realisable, or on the supposition that they are so, that we call them values. Thus facts and values are closely interconnected with each other.
The object known directly or indirectly is what is a fact. It need not signify a present existence, it may be what existed in the past or what may exist in the future. It is not even necessary that it should be a matter of certainty. It is enough if it appears, for the moment, to be so. All that is required is that it should not be known at the time to be unreal.
A knowledge of such facts may suffice by itself to satisfy our theoretic curiosity; but in every day life it leads as a rule to action whose aim is the positive one of securing something we like, or the negative one of avoiding something we dislike. Either way, knowledge lights up for us the path of action which we pursue in order that some desire of ours is satisfied. It is this satisfaction of desire, or the achievement of ends, as the result of knowing facts, that is to be understood by the term value.
An object of final interest does not usually exist already, but has to be brought into being by deliberate effort. It is a 'to be' which is 'not yet'. Since values are thus of the future, the question of their present existence does not arise. Unlike facts, they are not given, but we have another question about them whether they are feasible or possible of achievement.
Therefore, the cognition of a fact leads to the realisation of value, arousing a desire for it. That is, the cognition of fact suggests the idea of some value, through awakening a desire, leads in due course to its realisation (Kanada: Vaiseshika Sutras, 1923). It is always associated with a feeling of pleasure, happiness, and is appreciated by us and therefore we seek it. Thus, value is grounded in feeling.
There is an idea of value which, being tinged with a feeling of pleasure, arouses a desire for it; and that desire, by prompting an appropriate activity, culminates in the realisation of the value. Hence, all the three aspect of the mind - cognition, feeling and will - are involved in the process of value realisation, and they operate in succession.
It is not always the end (ishta) aimed at which is termed a value; the means to it also are described so. But, as subserving ends other than themselves, they can only be 'instrumental' and not 'intrinsic' values like them. Thus wealth is an instrumental value, while the fulfilment of any of our life's needs to which it leads, is an intrinsic one. But they are interchangeable and the distinction is fluid, depending on the attitude of the valuing subject.
OBJECTIVE AND SUBJECTIVE VALUE
As a part of the cultural system values are conception of what 'ought' to be. They are rules and guidelines for behaviour. They are the abstract goals which people seek to achieve. These values can be seen either as attributes of people or attributes of objects. People have values in the sense of standards or tendencies of choice. In this sense, values are a kind of attitude.
When they are seen as attribute of objects, these objects are valued by the person based on his expectations of the object. Seen in this light, career growth is an objective value, what is one's attitude towards this object is the individual's values.
Men have likes and dislikes and they project them upon outside objects which in themselves, are value less. One thing is therefore as good or as bad as another, and there is consequently no standard of value, other than individual tastes.
Values can also be considered as desires and obligations. It is the distinction between 'I want to' and 'I ought to'. In case of conflict between these two values there is a question of values as a preference or which is justified morally.
Therefore the first axiom of a philosophy of values is that something are preferable to or worthier than others. Values are subjective in the sense that they are entirely dependent upon the changing opinion of the valuing agent.
This view that there are no objective values has the direct consequence on the welfare and progress of humanity. Some values are subjective and are purely psychologically conditioned but not all of them. The appeal of some values, which are universal, is as much to others as it is to any particular individual. What is subjective about these values is merely the response by the individual to this sense of universal obligation, and not the value itself.
INDIAN CONCEPTION OF VALUES
Indian philosophy is essentially a philosophy of Values (Indian Conception of Values, M Hiriyanna, 1975). It describes values of four types:
· Logical Values (True Value)
· Ethical Values (Good Value)
· Absolute Value (Ultimate Value), and
· Aesthetic Value
Logical values deal with preliminaries relating to knowledge in general. These preliminaries are either psychological or logical, according to their concern with the nature of knowledge as a fact of mental life or with its validity as pointing to an object beyond itself.
Logic is both a science of proof and a science of discovery. All knowledge prompts the knower to act in accordance with it. In the absence of a motive, knowledge will not have any practical outcome, but its logical quality is not therefore questioned. The cognitive value of knowledge is determined by the given objective situation and by the laws of logic or, in other words by the nature of reality and the nature of cognitive mind. Knowledge does not derive its validity from its success as an instrument of action. Practical activity is not constitutive of truth, but is only a consequence of it.
Ethical values deal with moral truth and dwell upon the importance of virtuous conduct. For example, benevolence to neighbour and friend is considered a virtue and niggardliness is condemned. Ethical values are based on the concept of obligation. This concept comes from the idea of one's indebtedness to those that have conferred him his existence. The motive shifts from gratification of desire to fulfilment of duty. No specific good as such is sought through it. It is only good in 'general' that motivates action here.
No person can live for oneself, and that the individuals should adjust their conduct to the nature of the world, having particularly in view its moral character. We are born with certain obligations:
· obligation to the nature
· obligation to continue the race
· obligation to conserve its culture
Ethical values signify the basis of all order - whether social or moral. Ethical virtues are intelligent ways of reviving man's exhausted energies and fatigued spirit to live. By living these healthy values of a righteous life, the individual frees himself from his self made entanglements.
Logical values and Ethical Values are not considered to be ultimate value in the Indian thought system. What is Ultimate Value?
An Absolute or Ultimate Value must be an intrinsic value or value in itself. But an intrinsic value may conceivably serve as an instrumental value also. A second feature is that it must be all comprehensive. The pleasure of the palate, for example, is ultimate in that it does not admit of the question why we seek it. It is an end value. But it is by no means comprehensive.
An ultimate value should be all-satisfying. Borrowing the words of Aristotle, we may describe it as that 'end which we wish for its own sake and for the sake of which we wish everything else'. A corollary of this view of ultimate value is that it is one and eternal or enduring and final. There are three spiritual values - truth, goodness and perfection, and they may be designated as Absolute or Ultimate Values.
The practice of goodness as well as the pursuit of truth is oriented towards the ultimate end of life. A knowledge of truth presupposes the practice of goodness, and the practice of goodness presupposes a knowledge of truth. To attain either completely, both are necessary. Truth and goodness, which are both finally instrumental values, are also, at the same time, interdependent; and the ultimate value is represented by the result to which their combined pursuit leads.
Aesthetic Value deals with appreciation to the full the intrinsic perfection of nature. If someone does not enjoy the same pleasure from contemplating nature, that is due to his or her limited outlook or lack of right knowledge, and not to any imperfection in nature. In realistic views, the ugliness is real, so that beauty by itself can never be experienced. It is possible for us to mentally abstract the aspect of beauty from any object or situation and contemplate it by itself. But that would not be beauty of nature but a selection with the eye of imagination. If someone is not able to discern this intrinsic beauty, it is because of distraction by personal and practical concerns and narrow desires. One has to transcend the personal attitude and reach a point of detachment, though temporarily, before one can apprehend beauty in nature and enjoy it.
There is a direct relation of aesthetic experience to the ultimate value. It is the next best to absolute experience. The two are qualitatively the same but are not identical. Nor is there any passage from the one to the other, since aesthetic experience, unlike the other, is compatible with ignorance of the nature of ultimate reality. But it can serve as an incentive to the pursuit of the ultimate value.
VALUE BASED MANAGEMENT
Mary Parker Follet defined management as the art of getting things done through people. This definition categorise two sets of people, i.e. a manager and other personnel in an organisation. The implicit assumption is that there is a dominant group of people who use technology and other resources to meet the needs of customers. A more elaborative definition of management by George B terry describes maangement as a process "consisting of planning, organising, actuating and controlling, performed to determine and accomplish the objectives by the use of people and resources.
Value based management thought, based on Indian Conception of Valurs, looks at the concept of management differently. I would define management as "A series of ethical action done by people using logical value, which also includes technology and other resources, to achieve a state of joy and happiness." There is no dominant group and dominated group of people as in traditional definition of management. The result of all action is joy.