Just as many Indians, especially Non-Resident Indians, get upset when they see an American or European claiming to be an expert in Yoga or Vedanta or Tantra, the West finds it hard to accept an Indian, or a Chinese, or a Nigerian as a management guru, unless they reside in the USA and are affiliated to a college in Europe or America. Even we in India tolerate a professor from Singapore or Japan, but we prefer those from Europe and North America as the real ‘source’. We can find logical and scientific answers to defend or challenge this, but for most of us, MBA is the Global way of doing business, even though it is steeped in western mythologies.
There is a not-so-subtle assumption that modern management is the correct way of doing business, and being secular and rational is not universal, not western. So any model of business that emerges from other parts of the world is deemed cultural, irrational, and outdated: exotic but not pragmatic. Thus, family-owned businesses of India which run on traditional models, where loyalty is valued, are seen as ‘wrong’ and professional based business based on western principles are seen as ‘right’. Who made these rules?
A multinational company based in Europe will not allow lectures on management if the talk refers to Shiva and Vishnu and Devi, even if the talk is meant for its Indian employees or Indian customers. The speaker does not see these words as ‘religious’ as he knows how Hindu mythology functions—very differently from Abrahamic mythology. However, to the company, which refuses to listen to any reason other than its own, these are ‘Gods’ hence religious, therefore need to be excluded to establish the organisation’s secular. Thus, non-western ideas are excluded based on western templates. And these western templates determine what good management is and what is bad.
Where did these frameworks come from? The answer is given in ‘case studies’. They have been proven scientifically. Yet, they are remarkably aligned to the religious frameworks we find in Abrahamic mythology. Thus, they speak of Objective (Promised Land), and the importance of rules and compliance and alignment (Commandments) and belief in the management or the product (Jesus). The language is not religious but the principles are. But these go unnoticed. Most modern management gurus such as Peter Drucker and Stephen Covey do come from Protestant and even Mormon backgrounds and their principles not surprisingly are deeply rooted in the Christian faith. When this is pointed out, the observations are rejected as prejudiced. The rules of what constitutes management studies and how these frameworks emerge are determined only in the west.