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The Education and Business Lesson from India

Posted by Bert Maes on May 4, 2010

With the Indian economy predicted to grow by 7.5 percent this year, CNN reports that it could be time for Western CEOs to learn some lessons from their Indian counterparts.

Based on interviews with leaders and HR departments from 98 of India’s 150 biggest companies, Peter Cappelli identified some of the key differences between Indian and Western bosses.

One of the most important things is that Indian leaders lead with a sense of social purpose,” Cappelli told CNN.

Our Western companies usually add social accents in their missions. But, few US consumers can immediately mention a socially responsible US corporation.

In India, however, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is an integral part of the business strategies, the companies really have a social mission and it is often a source of cash.

Cappelli said every Indian leader interviewed gave a specific social purpose as being the goal of their business. Those purposes ranged from improving health care in India, to getting cell phones to people who don’t have access to communication tools, and proving to the international community that Indian companies can lead in IT.

The reason is simple: companies can only flourish if the people in the country enjoy a good quality of life and if there is permanent investment in education.

CSR may not only be vital to get government licenses, but it proves to be essential for the reputation of every company, be it Indian or American or European. 75% of all people “are willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies.”

>> So isn’t it time for all manufacturing companies in the Western continents to invest in their local technical schools? To at least address the critical shortage of young people entering the industry? To save money in the long run by having a source of highly (re)trained employees, without having to hunt/steal skilled employees from other companies, at a huge inefficient wage cost?

Having and communicating a trustworthy consistent citizenship message seems to be of greater importance among consumers than product quality or value…

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One Response to “The Education and Business Lesson from India”

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