miércoles, 21 de abril de 2010


In this occasion we are going to study the social system of values and thoughts that is practiced in South Africa and it is known Ubuntu.  The reference article is: Building Competitive Advantage from Ubuntu: Management lessons from South Africa by Mzamo P. Mangaliso.

According with the author’s definition Ubuntu is “humaneness-a pervasive spirit of caring and community, harmony and hospitality, respect and responsiveness- that individuals and groups display for one another”. The social attitude of most African population is oriented towards the Ubuntu values that mainly state “a person becomes a person only through his relationship with and recognition by others”, this conception gives us an idea of how important is the unity and the kinship lies for the Ubuntu followers in the development of their lives.

The society uses the Ubuntu notions to interpret problems that need to be solved and as a reference point to take positions or make judgments about the fair actions and the unfair ones. This article also states that practice of Ubuntu values in the corporate field could reach a sustainable competitive advantage for those companies, who consider their employees as valuable elements. This analysis makes a brief description of how interact the Ubuntu statements with key variables of the corporate environment.

Relation with Others: the Ubuntu driving norms are reciprocity, suppression of self-interest and the virtue of symbiosis. People like to be treated as members of one single family because this means that they are going to be treated with respect, dignity, humility and compassion, and these attitudes encourage workers to have a higher commitment with the organization’s performance. Under Ubuntu statements, it is well seen that relatives work together in the same workplace, because it provides an emotional and mental support for the employees. If the kinship ties at the workplace generate harmony and commitment among employees, the managers should take them into account in the elaboration of recruitment policies. The African employees are eager to contribute in the results of their work team, that’s why is commonly shared among them the promotion of cooperation and competitiveness.

Languages and communication: from Ubuntu perspective the communication has a social purpose to establish and reinforce the relationship. Unity and common understanding are more important than the accuracy and efficiency of the language, so in order to encourage a participative environment where employees can fully develop their potential, companies are proving spaces for participation and self- expression, all these efforts are oriented to increase the productivity of the workers.

Decision making: this process has a circular and inclusive dynamic; this means that different perspectives are considered interesting and valuable for the solution of problems. Diversity of ideas is encouraged in the corporate field. Consensus is a very important issue, to such extent that is preferable to make a decision that is supported by everyone than a right decision which nobody recognizes it.

Time: the vision of time for Ubuntu followers states that time is a reference element for communities. It is seen as “an unified structure that emphasizes interdependence, share heritage, regularity and congruity”.
Productivity and Efficiency: from Ubuntu perspective it is appropriate to work for optimization rather than maximization, this means that an optimized solution leads most favored outcomes in the long term and covers a wider percentage of stakeholders.

Age: the age, the wisdom and the experience are highly valued in the South African companies, that’s why maturity is an important criteria for selecting workers into leadership positions.

Beliefs: companies should adopt a position of flexibility and willingness to learn local cultures in order to create among employees an environment of mutual respect a sense of identity with the company.

The proposed question is: What is Ubuntu? How was it applied to support the merging process of the companies? (3 examples)

Ubuntu is a philosophy which states “that a man just can find his own humanity when he helps others to find theirs”. The others give us the recognition we need to feel us part of the community and this is a reciprocal dynamic. This philosophy fosters the unity and the harmony among people. The Ubuntu statements were used as a reference point to guide the changes that the merger entails, so the management team uses the drums as symbolic elements that emphasize the importance of communication and loyalty, as the National Marketing Manager of the African Miners Bank, Tom Miles said “the community moved to the sound of the drum, they were unified by moving to the same rhythm”.
Another action was that management team told stories to the employees in order they get a better understanding of the changes that need to be done in key business areas such as growth, security, equality, etc. These simple stories were oriented according to the Ubuntu values. Also the employees received a booklet that explained the Ubuntu culture campaign and gave ideas of how employees could contribute with the development and success of the campaign.

Images taken from:

domingo, 11 de abril de 2010

South Asia

In this chapter we are going to analyze some of the main components of the leadership behavior of the sales managers from the Indian industrial companies. Based on the text: Leadership behavior and organizational commitment: a comparative study of American and Indian salespersons by Sanjeev Agarwal, Thomas E DeCarlo and Shyam B.Vyas, we can observe the similarities and differences of leadership behavior between Indian sales managers and American sales managers.

Due to the great importance of the role played by the sales force in the company's performance, it is appropriate to know how those leadership behavioral factors can affect the employees commitment with the company. The two cultural variables that were studied in this research were power distance and individualism. This research shows how these variables interact with the "chief-subordinate" relationship.

To get a better understanding of the findings of this research is necessary to explain two important elements of leadership behavior: consideration and initiation of structure."Consideration is the degree to which managers develop a work climate that promotes subordinates' trust and respect for subordinates' ideas and feelings". Initiation of structure refers to the degree in which managers define the roles of their subordinates in job- related activities, specify procedures and assign tasks.
Another important factor related with the analysis of this research is the role stress, which is composed by two elements: the role ambiguity and the role conflict, the first one is defined as the lack of role clarity that an employee must face when there is no authority who can lead him at the moment to perform certain task. The second one represents the degree of conflict that an employee can find from different conflicting demands that come from internal actors (managers) and external actors (customers).

According to the study, the Indian managerial culture shows a high power distance and low individualism (HPD/LI), just the opposite case shows the American managerial culture (LPD/HI). Based on the previous statements, the researchers made some hypothesis about how do these elements interact between each other according with their respective cultural background. The main outcomes of this research show the following conclusions. In the relationship between initiation of structure, role ambiguity and role conflict, exist a negative correlation in both countries with more strength in the American case, the Indian sales persons don't perceive a decrease of role ambiguity as their managers develop an initiation of structure because the Indian sales persons are strongly dependent of their manager and are conform with this/her leadership behavior , so they take for granted the paternalistic and authoritarian management style. They are prone to accept the manager behavior, meanwhile the Americans value any type of help that their supervisors could offer them, because the American sales persons are used to fix daily work problems by themselves.
Regarding the other relations between consideration and role stress (negative correlation), between consideration and organizational commitment (positive correlation) and between role ambiguity and organizational commitment (negative correlation), both countries have shown similar perspectives and managerial tendencies, the reason could attribute to the fact that sales persons from both countries have received similar sales training programs, have received high level of education and all of them have been exposed to the standardization process that the globalization brings, so this entails to a convergence in the leadership behavior of the sales managers. 

Proposed Question:
1. What are the key challenges for the future development of the outsourcing industry in India. Please provide examples from the case and recommendation to address such challenges.

The workers in the outsourcing sector face a lot of stress due to their demanding activities, most of them characterized by high levels of time efficiency and monotonous tasks. Most Indian employees in the outsourcing industry are college educated, so they have a motivation of being promoted in the company, unfortunately the employees perceive the jobs in this industry as short length activities, this means this sector doesn't  provide a long term career for the employees. In spite of the high wages that employees earn in this industry, the lack of opportunities of professional development is one of the main reasons of the high turnover rate presented  in this sector. Another challenge is the lack of qualified and talented workers to fulfill the strategic charges that this sector requires.
The CAMS human resource area tries to reduce the unconformity and stress levels among employees through certain activities focused on  "bonding and sharing" experiences and knowledge. Also the company complies with statutory requirements in oder that its employees can feel that they have steady jobs.The most advisable action to face all the previous challenges is to develop strategies to increase retention rates such as the implementation of policies that foster the professional promotion among employees.

Images taken from:
- www.altergroup.com
- www.webketu.com

Text: Agarwal, Sanjeev, Thomas E DeCarlo, Shyam B. Vyas, & Source:. 1999. Leadership Behavior and Organizational Commitment: A Comparative Study of American and Indian Salespersons. Journal of International Business Studies, 30(4): 727-43.