Monday, December 26, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Henry Mintzberg, my favourite management guru wrote in his book 'Managers: Not MBAs'that in a democratic society, we do not exist for our social and economic institutions; they exist for us. He went on to say that in recent years, we have been experiencing a glorification of self-interest perhaps unequaled since the 1920s. Greed has been raised to some sort of high-calling; corporations are urged to ignore broader social responsibility in favour of narrow shareholder value; chief executives are regarded as if they alone create economic performance. A society devoid of selfishness may be difficult to imagine, but a society that glorifies selfishness can be imagined only as cynical and corrupt, he goes on complaining. He went on further to say that our societies have been tilting increasingly out of balance, in favour of the economic against social, correspondingly in favour of markets at the expense of other social institutions. We need both, he says, but are finding ourselves increasingly dominated by one. This is interesting...he says that MBA education plays a significant role in all this...hmmmm...
He then taks about the degradation of human values, and then quoted Jensen & Meckling who said that 'there is no such thing as a need, everything is a trade-off (except of course, the need for more...' and illustrated it with a rather startling example: George Bernard Shaw, the famous playwright and social thinker, reported once claimed that while on an ocean voyage he met a celebrated actress on deck and asked her whether she would be willing to sleep with him for a million dollars. She was agreeable. He followed with a counter proposal: "What about ten dollars?" "What do you think I am?" she responded indignantly. he repiled, "We've already established that-now we're just haggling over price."
He also talks about analytical and economic immorality, legal corruption and a society of meanness.... In the real world of decision making, he says the economic and social decisions get all tangled up. Put it in another way, there's always discretion in business decision making, to thwart social needs or to take them into consideration. Business may not exist to serve social needs, but it cannot exist if it ignores them.
This was written in 2003...almost 10 years ago. You were right then and may still, to a certain extent, be right but alot of things have changed professor! The world now has the likes of Yunus looking at microfinance in a different light. We now have social entrerpreneurship. New technologies especially internet technologies have transformed the world much more than the invention of telephone did to mankind.
The Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzenitsyn (1978) made his point with lucidity when he wrote while living in America: I have spent all my life under a communist regime, and I will tell you that a society without an objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale but the legal one is not quite worthy of man either. A society which is based on the letter of the law and never reaches any higher is taking a very scarce advantage of the high level of human possibilities. The letter of the law is too cold and formal to have beneficial effect on society. Whenever the tissue of life is woven of legalistic relations, there is an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulse.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Hi, I wrote this as notes on my facebook and I thought I might as well put it on my blog. In my earlier blogs there has been some mention somewhere this pot of coffee story but I am writing it again in a different context to relate it to its rightful intent..hehehe..please read on...
I just got back from Dhaka, Bangladesh or what was formerly East Pakistan, this morning. Interesting country of more than 160mil people. Dhaka alone has about 30mil inhabitants. My first trip of many more to come InsayAllah. We were there as part of the Malaysian AIM (Asian Institute of Management) alumni Association delegation led by Hj Zul, its (AIM Malaysia Alumni president), Zeb Mazumbar from SIngapore and MP Singh, chairman of the Federation of Asian AIM Alumni Association (FAIM) and president of the India Chapter of AIM alumni. It was a wonderful trip, excellently organised by Anwar Chowdry, our Dhaka colleague. Thank you Anwar, for the numerous meetings and dinners. It was a really great networking experience for everyone. I made alot of new friends. I must thank the AIM Alumni Bangladesh Chapter for graciously including me into your roll of honorary life membership, among others, at its meeting last night. I am humbled and greatly honoured indeed. Thank you.
Being an immediate past president of the University of Hull (England) alumni Association in Malaysia and for years now deeply involved in the activities of a few other university alumni assocation (the university of aberystwyth, Wales as an example), I concur with the views of many, that alumni work is, apart from nostalgia and passionate ties with our alma mater and networking opportunities for business or other purposes, are but only for those few who are cut for this thankless job ( of leading an alumni body). To quote my good friend Richard, who was also with me in Dhaka, an alumni effectively only need 3 chaps to run it with the two others being absent for most of the meetings..hahaha. He (Richard) could not have put it any better.
Which reminds me of the story 'A Cup of Coffee' ...
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain-looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee. When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other's cups.“ "Now, if Life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change.“ "Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it."
Anwar Chowdry, you did a great job. I wish everyone nothing else, but great success. I believe you will have the support of all your colleagues/alumnus from every corner of Bangladesh from as far north as Rajshahi to Chittagong in the south. Thank you very much again for the warm welcome and kind hospitality...
Monday, March 28, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
No no no..it's too long. I have stayed away long enough. I need to get back to blogging. Update and carry on from the last one which was about 3 months ago? sheeeshh lest I get trapped in Newton's 3rd law; 'Inertia: the tendency of a body to stay at REST or continue its state of motion' haha. Even if it means my readers (wink) have given up on me or gone away or if my relatives are having a grand feast or barbecue celebrating my departure from blogosphere..har har har...ya rite..