Great Lakes Center for Management Research, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai
The Great Lakes Herald vol:4 issue:1 pages:44-52
Yale-Great Lakes Research Conference edition:4 location:Great Lakes campus (Chennai), Tamil Nadu India date:20 December 2009
This contribution explores the relevance of Indian philosophical and religious traditions for modern socio-economic leadership wisdom from a European perspective. Traditions like Sikhism, Sufi Islam, Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism (Vedic traditions and Vedanta) contain concepts and rituals which can be relevant not only for medicine or psychology, but also for contemporary business and leadership wisdom. All these traditions refer to a basic oneness of existence whereby the inner and outer worlds merge into one reality. The success of new religious movements (NRMs) and the New Age Movement (NAM), both frequently inspired by Indian traditions, in Europe and elsewhere since the 1960s reflects the need for the ‘unchurched but spiritual’. However, the ‘integration of the whole person’ has been interpreted either as ‘intensified concentration’ and eventually as ‘greater job efficiency’, or as a way for extreme alienation from society. My methodology is to go to the origins of concepts, principles, and rituals, and thereby uncovering their spiritual meanings and their relevance for mainstream socio-economic ethics, and observe if there is any difference with mainstream West-European Christian inspired humanism. The observations indicated that a return to the genuine socio-economic basics of religious traditions with an open mind may be a starting point for genuinely integrating free market principles into a sustainable and integrated answer to development problems. If may be a collective loss of memory that has caused mankind to continue from one socio-economic crisis to another and recurring levels of poverty and scarcity. Leadership and management should be aware of the original paradigms, also contained in their own traditions, and be open for other traditions in order to identify them. The Indian traditions offer a unique way since their terminology is very direct and there has been a unique psychological human feature to refer to India as a way of offering socio-economic alternatives and initiating transformational leadership.