IFIM Business School, Bangalore’s No.1 private Business School*, hosted its 6th International Conference – CONVERGENCE 2014 at the IFIM campus on Thursday and Friday. The two-day conference, on “Ethical Leadership: The Indian Way”, saw a host of prominent academicians, industry leaders, young professionals and media personalities, on a common platform sharing and exchanging different ideas and perspectives on the subject matter.
This year, the conference was in collaboration with European SPES Forum, Leuven, Belgium and Business Ethics Centre of Corvinus University, Budapest, Hungary. The conference themed Ethical Leadership- The Indian Way was organized under the aegis of our V. B. Padode Centre for Sustainability an IFIM and INFOSYS initiative. Mr. C.K Venkatraman – CEO Jewellery division, Titan Companies graced the occasion as the esteemed Chief Guest.
IFIM has always brought varied topics to the discussion table in their international conferences, and this year the conference focused on the theme of Ethical Leadership – The Indian way. Focusing on the variety of spiritual orientations on business ethics and its effects on people, the conference provided opportunity for research aspirants and young professionals to explore new avenues in ethical business and articulate their vision for a sustainable future.
The conference started with speeches by Key Note Speakers & Distinguished guests. The guest of honour Mr. Venkataraman, CEO Tanishq – Jewellery Division and Chief Ethics Counselor gave examples of the initiatives taken up by Titan Group for the empowerment of women in the village, contribution to bring about a positive change in the artisan Jewellery industry- an initiative called “bring smile to the Karigar’s face” and the Titan Kanya initiative, supporting 10,000 girls in a year. He highlighted that ethical leadership should always be win-win for both as well as an act of Philanthropy.
Dr. Luk Bockaert, President European SPES-Forum Belgium, Author of the book The Palgrave Handbook of Spirituality and Business spoke about the shift to business spirituality and the rising interest in spirituality seeping into the workplace to address issues. “Spirituality in the context of a corporate environment needs to solve three paradoxes – the paradox of happiness which gives an illusion of material wealth leading to happiness, the paradox of ethical management and green capitalism paradox as a move towards a more sustainable and enduring growth path. The transformation has to happen from the current transaction leadership-reward and punishment to transformational leadership- sharing values and visions to finally spirited leadership- focused and passion on the product”
He added “For me India is a challenging case, Indian economy is fast moving with the fast movers and the other side the diversity in spiritualism. Will India be able to combine business goals with spirited belief”
The first panel discussion, witnessed the likes Prof. Peter Pruzan, Professor Emeritus, Dr. Polit. & Ph.D. Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, Dr. Sanjoy Mukherjee, Associate Professor, IIM Shillong, Dr. Subhash Sharma, Director, Indus Business Academy and Dr. Kataline Illes, Principal Lecturer in Leadership and Development presenting their opinions on the topic- “Spirituality & Leadership”
Prof. Peter Pruzan, Professor Emeritus, Dr.Polit. & Ph.D. Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, Author of eleven books and over 100 articles in international scientific journals emphasized on the need to integrate rationality and spirituality in leadership and the need to focus on spiritual-based leadership. He said, “In the organisational context spirituality adopts a plural character and the individual works towards the greater good of the organisation and in turn society at large. There is also a need to differentiate between traditional leadership and spiritual-based leadership and ensure that leaders make a gradual shift to the later.”
He explained the difference between Traditional and Spiritual Leadership:
|Integrating inner & outer world- sirituality & rationality
|Knowledge, Power, Hierarchy and rules
|Integrity, Wisdom, values, Identity and purpose
|Highly personal, humane
Dr. Sanjoy Mukherjee, Associate Professor, IIM Shillong with his stimulating speech brought out the fact that India scores the lowest in ethics and highest in corruption. He said, “What we are missing is to make the journey interesting, are we ready to challenge ourselves everday. Modern education is limited by linear thinking and binary logic. Ethical leadership is giving without anticipation of return,” he concluded his speech by Rabindra Nath Tagore’s only poem in English “The child”. He asked everyone is the room to take a deep breath in and hold and concluded by saying that now what if we dont give? Which drove the point precisely and deeply.
The second panel discussion on – “Sustainability”, brought about a fresh discussion on the ethical and sustainable business models in India and how they differ from other parts of the world. Ms. Desirée Giler Mann, Trust & Compliance Officer for India / South Asia IBM, Ms. Pushkina Nautiyal, Co-Founder, People n Purpose, Dr. Nel Hofstra, Erasmus School of Economics, the Netherlands and Mr. Maharaja Gokulavasan, Head- Service Delivery at Rural Shores Business Services presented their thoughts during the discourse.
Speaking about Convergence, Mr. Sanjay Padode, Secretary, IFIM B-School, said, “IFIM has been conducting Convergence for the last 6 years, and each year we provide a forum for discussion and collaboration at an international level. This year we have themed the conference ‘Ethnic Leadership: The Indian Way’. Today, ethics and governance seems to be the greatest casualty of our fast paced development. Therefore at IFIM, we decided to offer a platform to leaders, intellectuals, experts, and others to debate this urgent and ubiquitous concern through this conference.”
The second day of the international conference began with another set of Key Note Speakers addressing the delegates, faculty and students. Mr. Radha Krishna Pillai, Author of ‘Corporate Chanakya’, spoke about concepts of an ideal leader. He believes that although people have the right idea of leadership, it is most critical to have systems and processes in leadership. Mr. Pillai states that, “There are two parts of leadership. One is called the principals of leadership and the other is called trends of leadership. Leadership keeps changing and evolving in the knowledge fraternity but there are a few qualities and principals of leadership that do not change”. He defines Ethical leadership as the ability to maintain equilibrium in times of crisis. In conclusion, his advice to the leaders, “Do research, study and get inspired from the past but modify it in the present and work towards a great future.”
Professor Ashish Chandra, Professor of Healthcare Administration School of Business University of Houston-clear Lake Texas Medical Center, Houston, USA spoke about the evolution of the healthcare administration profession in India, the ethical dilemmas that a healthcare professional faces and the challenges confronted by the Indian Healthcare Industry. He says, “The patient must be treated as the most important person at the hospital and keeping them happy is what runs the hospital. The Healthcare Ethical Principal has 4 elements: Treating the patient as an autonomous body, telling the patient the truth, confidentiality and fidelity.” He defined the characteristics of a successful company and suggests moral reasoning to analyze ethical problems.
Speaking about the ethical challenges of leadership in the east and west, Dr. Joanne B. Ciulla, Professor & Coston Family Chair in Leadership & Ethics Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Virginia, USA addresses the question of why is it difficult for a leader to be ethical and that if one understands this then we can help prevent the temptations that leaders across the world face. She says, “A leader is held responsible for everything and is hence put in a peculiar position from an ethical point of view. The reason why many parts of the world are corrupt is because there are many ethical challenges and difficulties that are specific to the job of a leader.” Citing examples from ancient Egyptian scriptures, she also mentions Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela as ideal leaders across the globe as they all shared a high standard of morals.
The conference also saw presentation of research papers by scholars and academicians, on subjects like
- Spiritual orientations to business in different Hindu/Buddhist traditions
- Contribution of spirituality to renew contemporary management theory and praxis
- Influence of spirituality and ethics on the commitment of people and organizations to sustainability and justice
- Promising ethical and sustainable business models in India to that of other parts of the world
- New leadership roles emerging in Indian business
- Meaningful way of inspiration of spirituality on entrepreneurship
- Similarities and differences between Indian and European philosophies of leadership