Management Studies With Indian Tadka – Mohammed Afzal, SPJIMR Mumbai

We intend to make the management theory learning process entertaining and easy to remember, therefore we have made up a story assuming that all management gurus are available at the same point in time.

(Please Note: This piece of art contains some words/phrases/sentences which may not be suitable for certain section of people. Please refrain from reading ‘Strikeouts’. All characters and story are fictitious (even learning), any similarity to any person living or dead is purely non coincidental)

Once upon a time (cliché), there lived a Landlord, Kanjoosmal Sadu in the Panauti village of Uttar Pradesh (Yes, this village exists). He had over 150 slaves who would cook food, clean his house, wash clothes, herd cattle and do farming for him. One of these slaves often hymned (of course he could not write).

“When Sun rises in the east, from human, we turn into a beast.
We work from dawn to dusk, we get no reward but only husk.
Be it hot sun or rainy day, we have to work at meagre pay,
I don’t live with my family, there are plenty of restraints,
After all I am a slave, Inflicted with perpetual pains”

Though these slaves toiled day and night, Sadu was never happy with their performance. He often felt that he could get more out of them (just like our corporate bosses). One day while he was chewing pan in the nearby beetle shop, he met Frederick Taylor. He narrated his story to him. Taylor being the only mechanical engineer and consultant in the entire village, wanted to show off so he threw some jargons from his book “The Principal of Scientific Management” at Sadu. For the first time, Sadu heard about training & development of slaves based on competency. Before parting, Taylor gave him a copy of the book for better understanding. Being totally flummoxed, he spat beetle on the road and left for his home. Though Sadu was rich, he was illiterate (He had hired CA’s to manage his account, intelligent dude huh!).


On his way back he came across 3 people Henry Gantt, Frank Gilbert and Lillian Gilbert, who were smoking Bidi (Not weed, they were decent fellas) under peepal tree. Remember – peepal tree is important, Gautama Buddha got enlightenment under a peepal tree. He shared his problem with them; they advised him to increase wage, improve working conditions and give performance linked incentives in order to improve their efficiency and productivity. Sadu being a sadist & kanjoos could never fathom doing these.


Near his house he saw a Mercedes Benz parked. Max Weber had come to explore India, fortunately he was crossing his village at that time. He chatted with Weber who advised him to set up a system, place his 24 sons (Kauravas were 100, so stop judging Sadu) at key positions to establish hierarchy of authority, have rules and regulations and also select slaves from outside and promote them based on output. Suddenly they heard honking of a car, and there came Henry Fayol in a Bugatti. He also explained on similar lines- division of work, authority and responsibility, discipline, unity of command, centralization, order, equity etc. By now Sadu was getting mad because he was hearing a lot and understanding nothing (just like the poor students in Management Theory class). So he invited Douglas McGregor, Elton Mayo and Mary Parker Follet for ‘Daru Chai pe Charcha’. He spiked their tea so that they get high and answer his question with full honesty. McGregor explained Theory X and Theory Y. He was very happy with Theory X but totally disapproved Theory Y. They provided human dimension to work culture and employee performance. Soon he started to develop empathy for his slaves, and there was also a feeling of remorse. After a lengthy session with them, he went high on emotion. He met Maslow after the party and he realized that he has everything that Maslow said about human needs- food, shelter, security, family, status in society and then came the aha moment.

“Jindagi mein kya khoya, kya paya, Yeh sab hai ek moh-maya,
Khali haath aaye the, khaali haath jaayenge, sara dhan daulat yahin chhod jaayenge,
Guroor kis baat ka Ae Ghalib, mitti se bane hain aur phir mitti mein mil jayenge”

Next day he was a different man, he increased their salary, gave them good food, provided better place to stay, improved working condition and allowed them to spend more time with family. Things changed dramatically, Sadu was earning more than ever before due to increased output of his slaves. Now everything was perfect and they lived happily thereafter (another Cliché).


About the Author:

Mohammad Wasim Afzal is a PGP1 student of SPJIMR, Mumbai.