JAINISM – THE CREED FOR ALL TIMES
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THROUGH ANEKĀNTA APPROACH
Management and Anekāntavāda –
Management means the art of optimal application of resources to achieve the organisational goals. Here, the key word is optimal application of resources. If the resources were unlimited or there was no compulsion to achieve the organisational goals, there would be no need for management of any kind. However, the resources being limited and there being a need to realise the organisational goals, the managerial skills are needed. All organisations need management. The organisations can be broadly classified into two categories – service providing organisations, which only provide human services and do not manufacture or sell any material products and industrial organisations, which produce and sell material products. The first kind of organisations are basically man–power organisations and they mainly depend on man–management for their best output. The second kind is more comprehensive as it manages finance, material, as well as man–power resources for ensuring best output. The time resource is common to both these types. In managing any kind of resource a manager has to consider many factors that affect his decision and profitability of the organisation. It is where the multidimensional approach or Anekantavāda comes into play.Anekāntavāda or multidimensional approach means that we consider an issue from all possible angles and do not get swayed by one of its more prominent aspects. Considering only one of the aspects is called one–sided approach and may not produce the best results. As any organisation would demand from its managers the best results that can be produced through the given resources of enterprise, land, man–power, money, material and machine, it becomes incumbent on them to resort to multidimensional approach. Anekāntavāda is, thus, essential for the success of the management systems. Its application is as relevant in the field of man–power management as it is in the fields of enterprise, land, money, material and machine management. In the following paragraphs we shall consider as to how the application of Anekānta or multidimensional approach helps in optimising profits.
Applied Anekānta in Various Fields of Management
As the aim of any organisation is to apply limited resources in order to maximise profits, it employs management techniques through its managers. Here we must be very clear about the term ‘profit’. Profit always does not mean monetary gain only. It can be tangible as well as intangible. For example when a company produces and sells some product, its sales revenue minus its production and marketing costs means its profit and it can be measured in terms of monetary gain. However, when a religious organisation such as an order of the priests preaches the gospel the profit is in terms of moral ethics and spiritual upliftment of the parish, which cannot be measured in tangible terms. However, both the organisations try to get the best output from their resources and, therefore, take into account a host of considerations for ensuring it. This consideration of more than one aspect of things and reconciling seemingly conflicting inputs is where the theory of Anekānta is best applied.
Organisational Essentials and Anekānta –
Any organisation needs certain essential inputs for it to function effectively. One or more of the following ingredients are essential for an organisation: –
A. Enterprise – It is the individual or a group of individuals that shoulder the entire responsibility for the organisation. They employ the capital, which in turn hires or purchases the other ingredients, and enjoy the profits or suffer the losses. In the ultimate analysis it is the entrepreneur that has the final say on any matter in the organisation. However, he delegates powers and responsibilities to the managers for day to day functioning of the organisation. In smaller organisations, however, the entrepreneur is also the manager. The entrepreneur decides the location (land) of his enterprise, the capital to be employed (money), the personnel to be hired (man–power), raw material to be purchased (material) and the machines to be installed (machine). For taking all these decisions he has to consider many inputs some of which may be mutually conflicting and has to reconcile them. He employs the multiple approach in all these fields. He can hardly dispense with Anekānta.
B. Money – Once the entrepreneur decides to raise an organisation he has to arrange capital for translating his ideas into action. He can do so from own resources, by taking loans from the banks and other financial institutions, from private moneylenders, etc. Each of these sources has its own pros and cons. While the loan from the banks may be at lower interest rates, it may have some conditions attached to it, which may be difficult to fulfil. Also it may not be available at the nick of time. At such times the private loan at higher rates of interest may be the only answer. One has to weigh the pros and cons and decide as to which type of money source to mobilise when. A strict adherence to only one norm – say bank loan – only may cause some very critical operations to be stalled at times and may result in heavy losses. One has to consider all the aspects and adopt the multiple approach in accordance with Anekānta.
C. Land – Land includes the factory, offices or the business premises of the organisation. Again a number of variables have to be considered before a decision can be taken about a suitable site. Considerations like cost, distance from the habitation or market–place, distance from the area where the raw material is available, etc are mutually conflicting. The inexpensive land may be very far from the main business district of the town and may not prove profitable in the long run. The transportation of raw materials and final products to far off places may prove quite expensive. So saving on the cost of land may mean a direct saving but may result in indirect expenses, which may be very heavy and adversely affect the profitability of the organisation. The Management has to reconcile these conflicting issues and take a decision in accordance with the rules of multiple approach – Anekānta.
D. Manpower – Again, the hiring of manpower resource is riddled with many conflicting elements like quality versus wages. One has to consider as to which positions are to be filled with well–qualified personnel, of proven ability, at much higher wages and which ones to be filled with those of minimum qualifications at lower wages. One has also to consider as to which staff can be trained on the job and which have to be hired fully trained. All these decisions depend on the multiple approach and are best decided in the light of Anekānta.
E. Machine – Considerations of cost always militate against those of quality. Again, shutting down for regular maintenance and replacement of worn out parts requires careful consideration. Too early and too late may both be counterproductive. Too early means higher costs and too late means frequent breakdowns. Both spell doom for the organisation. The manager has to be resilient enough to take decisions on the merits of each situation, taking into account different conflicting considerations. Here, too, Anekānta comes to his aid.
F. Material – Material management is a rather complex subject. Judicious inventory of raw materials and finished products are important. Inventories mean costs but lack of inventories means starving plants and dissatisfying shortages and consumer alienation. Multiple approach is essential to handle this subject as well. Anekānta is the answer, again.
Anekānta Applied to Different Areas of Management–
Anekānta approach also comes to the fore in different areas of management such as Financial, Personnel, Production and Marketing management. This is being discussed in the paragraphs that follow: –
A. Financial Management – Capital investments, borrowing of capital and its application in various areas of operation such as rent, wages, installations, maintenance, procurement, production, inventory holdings, marketing, advertisement as well as profits taking and ploughing back requires consideration of a host of conflicting issues. Only Anekāntic multiple approach can help the managers to arrive at judicious and balanced decisions that can maximise profits.
B. Personnel Management – Besides the considerations of hiring and firing discussed earlier, one has to consider the motivation of the workers to put in their best and to interdepartmental and intradepartmental co–ordination. The manger has to know that he is dealing with people, who have different motives and propensities. Some may be moved by pecuniary benefits while for some recognition may be more important. Again, rewards – promotions and punishments – demotions may persuade some others. Trade unions are also ever–ready to throw the spanner in the wheel. Manager who cannot reconcile these conflicting considerations cannot ensure the desired profitability of the organisation and may soon be shown the door.
C. Production Management – Production management involves procurement of raw materials of right qualities in right quantities, to have their adequate stock in order to meet the plant’s demand for a considerable period, to ensure proper running of the plant with lowest mean time between failures (MTBF), to ensure proper quality assurance, to produce in accordance with projected market demand so as to avoid shortages as well as inflated inventories. Some of these requirements are in direct conflict with some of the others. The reconciling of such conflicting requirements is the hallmark of Anekānta.
D. Marketing Management – No organisation can survive unless it can sell what it produces. The Marketing pundits aver that in a market steeped in competition, it is not only the best product that sells but also the best–advertised one that does. Marketing involves market–research, advertisement, demand and supply analysis, customer satisfaction, and competitive price–structure and a host of other considerations. The marketing manager has to consider as to how much to spend on the marketing research, advertisements, incentives to the marketing network and the customers, so as to attract enough attention and yet to keep the prices competitive. The 5 P’s of ‘Marketing Mix’ that includes the considerations of Product, Price, Place, Promotion and Packaging beautifully sum up all these considerations. No need to mention that Anekāntic multiple approach is the only one that can save the day for the marketing manger when the chips are down.
Anekānta and Management Functions –
Finally, we come to the important area of management functions and examine as to how the time–tested principle of Anekānta aids the managers to discharge these functions effectively. The management functions are four – 1. Planning, 2. Organising, 3. Co–ordinating and 4. Controlling.
A. Planning – No endeavour can be expected to succeed unless it is backed by sound planning. Planning requires taking into account, and reconciliation of as diverse and conflicting considerations as costs of various material as well as service inputs, market–research, competition, etc. Planning can be effective only if various factors are not only considered and reconciled but different view–points are also taken into account and rationality is always maintained. Any bias based on absolutism makes the planning flawed and renders the organisational goals susceptible to failure. An Anekāntic manager will not be swayed by such biases and ensure maximising the profitability of his organisation.
B. Organising – A manager is as effective as his organising ability. To a large extent it depends on his leadership qualities like ability to enthuse and motivate the workers and management cadres to draw the best out of them, to ensure proper financial, material, production and marketing management. To do all this he has to constantly juggle with a large number of conflicting considerations. His success or failure depends on his ability or inability to consider all these and to draw logical conclusions. It is obvious that only a multiple approach or Anekāntic approach can accomplish this seemingly impossible miracle.
C. Co–ordinating – Modern industrial, service–sector, social, political or religious organisations are agglomerations of large number of departments and subordinate organisations. Unless all these function as organic wholes, the success of the organisation remains questionable. The top manager who has to achieve this organic integrity of the organisation has to co–ordinate their functioning. As all the departments and sub–organs have their own motives, such co–ordination is by no means a simple task. It is not difficult to see that such co–ordination can only be achieved through the reconciliation of the motives of various sub–organs by following the Anekāntic approach.
D. Controlling – Having co–ordinated, the top manager has also to ensure that all the sub–organs of the organisation function in accordance with the arrived at decisions. This is the function of management control. Again, for effective control the top manager has to depend on various means such as Management Information System, Systemic checks, giving timely corrections, subordinate accountability, etc. It goes without saying that an effective control can only be achieved by dealing with all these means by adopting the multiple approach or Anekāntavāda.
In this essay we have seen that the effectiveness of any organisation depends on its ability to function as an organic whole. This involves planning, organising, co–ordination and controlling by the manager in as diverse areas as finance, personnel, production and marketing by judicious balancing the six essential ingredients of organisation like enterprise, land, money, manpower, machine and material to ensure maximum profitability of the organisation.
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