The Indian management style is quite unique. India is a country where most businesses are family owned. It is one of the largest economies in the world and there are many corporations in India that have a global presence and are thus listed on multiple stock exchanges. Even then some of these corporations are largely family owned and operated. The scene is changing but the Indian management style is typically dynastic and hierarchical.
Contemporary Indian businesses are being lead by people who practice western styles of management, alas participative, consultative, laissez faire and transformational among others. But the large section of small to medium businesses and some behemoths have the head of the family as the chairperson cum managing director. The senior executive or management comprises of the elder sons and possibly the daughters. The wives of the elder sons or the wife of the head of the family may be directors on paper but don’t have any functional role.
The Indian management style is typically patriarchal. The owner is like a father figure, not just to his sons or daughters who work in the company but also the workers. There is little room for discussions and there is absolutely no scope of rejecting the decisions taken by the owner or the patriarch. The decisions are taken at the very top, often without consulting the senior executive or the sons who have directorial positions. The decisions are then thrust down through the hierarchy.
In some businesses, this archetypal and rather rigid Indian management style has seen some leniency and has undergone some transformation to inculcate the values of discussions, participation and collective decision making. However, the scenario is largely patriarchal.
For centuries, Indian companies have been family owned and such organizations have thrived from one generation to another. Dynastic progression of businesses have ensured that every subsequent generation would get involved in the family business at a tender age, then grow through the ranks and files while learning the tradecraft and will eventually become one of the senior managers or directors working under the patriarch. Eventually, the eldest heir would take over the role of the patriarch.
The Indian management style has worked wonders for millions of businesses in the subcontinent but it has also failed to evolve and has thus been questioned and challenged continuously. Today, younger and more educated Indians are rejecting this management style. They are endorsing more flexible and dynamic leadership styles.