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Inclusivity And Management

A timely book and a range of topics for the manager of today to reflect upon and learn from, the book is equally relevant for professionals in the human resource function as it is for the decision-making management


The impact of behavioural and neurosciences on management has undoubtably received a huge fillip with the Nobel nod to Richard Thaler.  Avik Chanda and Suman Ghose develop on the idea to introduce the transitioning of the manager from ‘STEM’ to ‘esteem’.  The authors offer a new perspective into emotional enablement through the key states of being mindful, being realistic, being reflective, being empathetic. They have drawn largely on heuristics and their professional experiences. Appreciably, the authors have also taken pains to explore, as yet virgin areas of bridging the gap between management styles and neuroscience.

A timely book and a range of topics for the manager of today to reflect upon and learn from, the book is equally relevant for professionals in the human resource function as it is for the decision-making management.

The millennial generation already makes up a sufficient proportion of the workforce to warrant a serious study on how to synergise their professional competence with the organisational objectives.  The managers are keen to understand what makes them tick and are willing to discard their pre-millennial management baggage to learn and extract the maximum from this steadily increasing workforce. Chanda and Ghose have tackled this new-age problem and devoted an entire chapter to this topic.  ‘How Do You Manage The Millennials’ is an interesting study on how to understand the mind of the millennials and carve an organizational relationship with them. This chapter offers insights into the behavioural aspects of this generation, how to understand them and build a working relation around them. The authors offer a gratifying departure from the norm by coming out in support of the millennial generation and offer valuable insights on understanding them.  It is critical for managers and team-leads supervising a team of millennials to understand how to work with millennials in accomplishing the organisational objectives, and, more importantly, for the managers to better comprehend their responsibility of creating the next generation of organisational leaders.

Within the broad framework of emotional and empathetic enablement and management, the books, to me, offers two important premises.

The first premise is that we are now at the stage of transition as to delink the manufacturing shop-floor from the study of management. The authors have predominantly focused on the air-conditioned modern-day office environs. When you encounter sentence constructs such as: “Now step back and review the items that have featured this past week in your list, or variant thereof, such as calendar appointments, alerts and reminders on your phone”, you cannot help but discern that the focus of the authors is largely the new-age service sector and the management gaps sought to be addressed also typically relate to such sectors. The authors have provided sufficient room for thought and it is relevant to acknowledge that the distinctions in style of management between the manufacturing and the service sectors could be seen to converge as we progress further towards the age of digital and other technological disruptions.

The shop-floor style of management in most of the Indian entities is still not mature enough to adopt the principles enunciated in the book, though the criticality of the principles cannot be denied.

This brings us to the second premise. The authors have given us a glimpse into what is likely to develop into a more detailed and dedicated study. According to a 2016 study, six of the ten least empathetic companies in terms of the Global Empathy Index are from India. In her quest to be a leading economy, India can ill-afford such dubious distinctions. The premise could have been further elaborated upon in sufficient detail.

On an aside, the authors offer case studies and assessments at the end of the chapters. The cases are drawn from the authors’ experiences and are understandably subjective.
The book starts with a section on ‘Praise for From Command to Empathy’.  Out of 20  endorsement blurbs, a 19 to one, in favour of the men, is a very obvious gender skew. This trend is consistent with the theme of the book. Though it is impractical to hope for most perspectives to be addressed, the theme of emotional enablement of the female workforce could have been dealt with in more detail.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Karthik Krishnan

The author is a finance professional with eclectic interests that range from finance to farming

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