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Organisational Personality


                                                                                                                December  24, 1999

   We have defined a business corporation as one consisting of five components. Our main strategy to develop a corporation is to restore the balance between those components. That works wonders. There is a greater source of energy or even power in the corporation. It is the personality of the corporation.

   The five components are parts. The personality of the corporation is the whole. All along capital was synonymous with the corporation. Lately it is partly replaced by technology or market. Very rarely has the component ORGANISATION enjoyed precedence over capital or technology. Nowhere has the component People emerged into preeminence, though greater than usual attention is now paid to it. In the history of corporations there was no single instance when its Personality was given its due.  It is rarely seen that the Personality is a storehouse of ever-increasing power which permits no comparison to any other similar phenomenon. Hence the difficulty of illustration.

   Corporate Personality is on a par with knowledge in education and Man in the society. The universities are centres of learning. At least they were conceived so. The students are taught the subjects that cover a department of knowledge. History gives us social facts over time, geography over space. Physics and chemistry offer technical facts while mathematics is a field of symbolic knowledge precisely formulated. Obviously none of these constitutes knowledge. What then is knowledge? The universities are supposed to train young minds in the wisdom of the ages so that when they go out they will not be hindered by the deficiencies of the past and will be able to make a success in the society or make the society a success at a greater level. The field in which he works and seeks success is in Life or social life. A graduate who enters the government or the army or the business or the field of infinite complexity, the marriage, is certainly helped by the knowledge he acquired in college. But that knowledge is not of the several subjects he has learned. It is a life knowledge.  It is the psychological endowment he has been originally and consciously given by the family, shaped powerfully by the life in the hostel and the classrooms. We call it character or even personality. It is knowledge of himself that handles the outer social forces as well as the inner psychological forces. Rather, it is the knowledge of his own psychological endowments in the context of the outer social forces. This is essential knowledge which is the determinant of his success. All others belong to the category of technical inputs.

   No university of eminence anywhere offers a course in this essential knowledge. Today it is unconsciously and indirectly acquired. I would go further and declare universities have become centres of laboratory research instead of serving the cause of knowledge. The result is men learn these ideas at a late age bit by bit whereas ALL this knowledge can be systematically given to him before he leaves school or at least the college. This view of knowledge is unknown today. Imagine schools equipping pupils with this knowledge and what man would be when he grows up. Universities teach subjects. As the personality of the student is forgotten here, in management the personality of the corporation is not yet a live topic in that science.

   A basket full of machine parts is NOT the machine. However much one improves the parts, the meaning is NIL till the parts are put together as a machine. Life demands the machine is always assembled at some rickety elementary level. As that assemblage - Personality - is in place, the improvements in the parts are able to increase results. All the strides in corporate development today are because of the improvement of only the parts.  No one has the whole machine in view. A person drawing water from a well in a bucket through a rope run over the rotating wheel can increase the size of the bucket, the drawing force, the quality of the rope or the smooth turning of the wheel. Great improvements can be there, but the ‘machine' that draws water remains the same, while the parts become better.

   When the pump arrives, the machine and its structure changes, not the parts anymore. The pump sucks the water run by oil or electricity. The output increases not by ten percent or eighty percent but several fold, 5 times or 50 times. I liken the ‘machine' here to the corporate personality. It is time we think of it and try to improve or change it when the results will be ten fold or 100 fold. Historically we have witnessed such changes, but they all occurred unconsciously.

   Any company that recognizes this fact, however small it is today, will win over the biggest company that has not yet recognized this fact in the race, not in the long run, but at once. Bows and arrows cannot hold good against guns. No dictatorship, however benevolent it may be, stands any chance against a democracy however weak it is. The character of the context changes radically. Gone will be the days of capital and technology or market against the company that acts from its centre of personality.

   The field of Management has this wonderful vision as an opportunity knocking at its door. Would they open the door?

story | by Dr. Radut