Vineeth Subramanian, IIM, Trichy
'Indians are more comfortable with unequal power distribution'
If your office has a strict "no smoking within premises" policy, would you smoke in your cubicle? Would you calmly take an afternoon nap at work? Whenever your manager allocates you tasks that you don't necessarily like, do you slap your manager to communicate your feelings? If your answer is "No" to all three, then you are only demonstrating typical workplace discipline.
In order to draw some broad conclusions about workplace discipline in India, particularly in comparison to the west, I would use Geert Hofstede's cultural dimensions study about the behaviour of people across cultures. Drawn from Hofstede's study of IBM employees of different nationalities, the study reveals, among other things, that Indians endorse high 'power distance' in their workplace as compared to the world average. Power distance is the extent to which less powerful members of an organisation accept unequal distribution of power. In other words, as per the widely accepted study, Indians are more comfortable with unequal power distribution.
It is no wonder that Indians display high workplace discipline. It's the acceptance of power gap and the subsequent tendency to stay within organisational guidelines, which manifest in the form of workplace discipline. So what would be the secret to ensure good workplace discipline? Simple, just make jobs "worth the discipline" for the employees.