Competition, Progress, Ambition and Achievement Motivation

Modern values like competition, progress, ambition, achievement motivation and so on have pushed the iceberg out of view. Judged in this light the forest dwelling, wise men of India were realists of the highest order. They untiringly brought home to us the central importance of acquiring a ‘pure mind’ Why? Because their psychological insight clearly revealed that for objective, beneficial, long term in other words wise decisions only a mind in touch or yoga with Supreme Intelligence is the sure guarantee. And this, in turn, is possible only when a mind is pure hence calm, and concentrated. These are indeed operational, pragmatic goals for all of us all the more valid and essential in the present tempestuous times when, technological development is outpacing ethical development. The following two a bridged case notes will illustrate what harm ‘impurity of mind’ can cause to organizational effectiveness:

In a public sector mining-cum-manufacturing enterprise to the non ferrous metal industry, two major engineering operations were involved: mining and metallurgical. The enterprise had three geographically disparate sites, while the Head Office was located in a fourth site. We were asked to look into H.O site organizational relationships. Our site visits and discussions had led to the major insight that instead of vesting the responsibility for two highly divergent engineering disciplines with a single Director (Operations) at H.O, they ought to be split between a Director (Mining) and a Director (Metallurgical). The most experienced and senior most expert in the enterprise in the metallurgical engineering branch (other than the Managing Director) who seemed to have been shunted to a merely decorative job in the H.O was recommended by us for the post of Director (Metallurgical) while the current Director (Operations) who was a mining engineer, was to hold charge as a Director (Mining) only. Among other things, we had also recommended the creation of the post of a Director (Personnel). Several months after our report had been submitted, we happened to meet a senior executive of the enterprise at an airport. We were told by him that while our suggestion to assign the post of Director (Metallurgical) to the senior most expert had been rejected on the ground that the incumbent in question was incompetent a relatively junior executive, about whom we had gathered no positive evidence during our study, had been elevated as Director (Personnel). The post of Director (operations) continued as before, and remained with the earlier person. Thus, it seemed that certain deeper prejudices were at work, and the elusive criterion of ‘competence’ was used to by pass or elevate specific individuals. Recommendations which suited certain powerful interests were accepted. Those which did not were rejected. As a result, immense demoralization had spread across the organization. The quality of work life had naturally received a massive jolt.

The second case note, unlike the first one, relates to a large profitable private enterprise with more than 50 operating units spread over the eastern, north eastern and southern parts of the country. We give below the gist of the case:

The Managing Director of the firm invited us to undertake a comprehensive study of the organization structure, manpower planning aspects and do a performance appraisal. On the first day he ended by saying. Please give us a view from the Mars, as it were. We need it. We were greatly inspired by his attitude and got down to the task in right earnest. Amongst other discoveries, a major one was that one Shri X was the number two in the organization, and a Board member related to the MD in a one upon-one sequence, but he had no professional or technical qualifications. The rest of the structure was spread beneath him. One of the General Managers, Shri Y, reporting to Shri X, was the head of all the 50 odd operating units. Shri X was found to have very little work, besides which, he knew very little about the basic product of the firm, and the managers in the operating units knew practically nothing about him. Shri Y was, on the other hand, held in high esteem everywhere. Amongst our proposals, therefore, we included one which sought to make Shri Y also a Board level Director and to make him report to the MD. In order to give tangible work to Shri X, several hitherto aspects of management like personnel, industrial relations, information systems, exports were to be assigned to him. Other lower level managers were also suggested to be shuffled around on the basis of the re-organized profit center structure.

Not following the recommendations of the study has proved detrimental to the organization later on for competing in the market and further growth.