doing business in india – knowing the rules and learning the ropes
Business environment of today has roots in historical evolution. Present ecosystem is a function of reluctantly embraced oriental collectivism and underlying desire for individualism of the accomplished driven by contextual convenience. While collectivism / socialism are pretexts, masked individualism is the latent reality. This perennial conflict is the root cause for the perceived poor enabling environment while one refers to India.
Response to situations are not necessarily guided by what the rule book says, but by what people have engineered and learnt over time, on, how situations are handled to realise goals. These in turn are determined by people’s belief as to how informal (real) systems work. Informal systems are innovative to interpret rules to circumvent, go beyond the rule book / system. Innovative systems that evolved are not documented but learnt from observation, practice, experience, word of mouth; and over time, become the defacto way even when formal rules exist.
This paper that goes into the what, why and how of Indian ways, what to expect and how to traverse his/her path while dealing with / in India.
doing business in india
Business environment of today has roots in historical evolution. Present ecosystem is a function of reluctantly embraced oriental collectivism and underlying desire for individualism of the accomplished driven by contextual convenience. Collectivism has roots in conflicting ideology of democracy and socialism, eulogised as socialistic pattern of democracy and ending up as hypocrisy. While collectivism / socialism are pretexts, masked individualism is the reality. This perennial internal conflict is the root cause for poor enabling environment, dragging productivity and realisation of potential. Conflict of espoused collectivism and practised individualism is fuelled by the need to meet conflicting demands of diverse society in a democratic set up. Exploitation of diversity to gain power by playing socialism for masses (illiterate, uninitiated, resource starved, sentiment driven, backward) and practising masked individualism to exploit the resourceful, using the power acquired, have become unspoken norm.
To understand this conundrum one has to spend time in India, experience diversity on ground, immerse one-self into it, be open to learn (the creativities), expose one’s inner self and then realise its hidden value.
While integrity is the most powerful trait to win over, corruption is the most potent weapon to conquer.
Corruption is more powerful than any weapon invented ever to destroy your enemy. Corruption is a slow poison that kills a community, using its own people and resources with minimum bloodshed and cost. Corruption is a creeping guerrilla warfare damaging the target slowly, steadily and unobtrusively. Corruption is an invisible weapon; once triggered it goes into auto pilot with no fuel to keep it running. It generates its own fuel and spreads wherever it can reach unobtrusively. Our enemies use ‘corruption’ effectively to slowly destroy our unity. ‘Corruption’ is used surreptitiously as a powerful bait on the lower rungs of security establishment. Corruption is used to gain information, access, plant destructive devices and walk away with no foot prints left, making it difficult to trace the origin, to be used as an evidence.
Corruption, if used ingeniously and patiently enables even a Lilliput to conquer an Oliver. Such is the power of destruction of this unobtrusive weapon. ‘Corruption’ is part of a larger design of intrigue, where the fence eats the crop. Corruption has been used in ancient times (Puranas) to corrupt the mind of enemy’s men to make them wage war (non-cooperation) against their own master and in turn achieving the objective. The same weapon is now destroying our society though without an identifiable hand behind it. Should we allow this self- destruction to work towards our own end?