Business Today

"Companies must respect cultures"

Aubrey C. Daniels, renowned authority on human behaviour and author of several best-selling books on the subject, spoke to BT’s Rahul Sachitanand on a variety of issues when he visited India for the first time recently. Excerpts:

     Print Edition: June 29, 2008

Aubrey C. Daniels
Aubrey C. Daniels
Aubrey C. Daniels, renowned authority on human behaviour and author of several best-selling books on the subject, spoke to BT’s Rahul Sachitanand on a variety of issues when he visited India for the first time recently. Excerpts:

Q. Are companies paying enough attention to human behaviour?
Human behaviour is not understood well by the corporate world. It continues to persist with foolhardy initiatives such as “employee of the month”, which only positively reinforces one person’s achievement and does little to address issues that dog the team.

Q. What role does culture play in determining behavioural traits at work?
Companies must understand that cultures can be radically different across geographies. The laws of behaviour are the same in Bangalore and Atlanta, but businesses need to be sensitive to cultural nuances in different locations.

Q. How can Indian companies, like the Tatas, manage and overcome cultural differences in the new geographies they are entering?
The Tatas need to establish themselves as a positive reinforcer to a foreign company like Jaguar-Land Rover. They must learn from it and must desist from forcing the British company to follow a Tata style of management. Then, any acquisition where the acquired firm doesn’t want to deal will not work out, as we’ve seen with the (failed) MS-Yahoo! deal.

 

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