50 Years of Management in Gujarat: Some Experiences

T. V. Rao

Gujarat is the Management Capital of India. This is attributable to early starters who laid the foundation for Management thought through textile revolution. There used to be at one time over a fifty   textile mills in Gujarat. All the famous brands like Arvind, Vimal, Mafatlal, Calico had their mills here. There used to be a textile museum. The way these mills were managed and the kind of welfare activities they carried out set examples for Management of employees. Unions themselves imbibed Gandhian thought and managed themselves in a very exemplary way. It is the textile mill owners association that gave birth to the Ahmedabad Textile Industries Research Association (ATIRA) which had famous visitors like A K Rice and others who conducted various management exercises. ATIRA’s contributions to Behavioural Sciences research are well known in the sixties. It is in those days the Ahmedabad management Association was set up even before the birth of the Indian Institute of Management.

Gujarat is celebrating 50 years of its birth. In a few months from now the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad will be celebrating 50 years of its birth. The Ahmedabad Management Association was born in 1956. After the Gujarat state was formed, representation has gone from AMA to central government for setting up of IIMA. When the government of India almost decided to set up the two IIMs at Calcutta and Mumbai to cover the east and the west it is the Chief Minister of Gujarat Jivaraj Mehta and Dr. Vikram Sarabhai who convinced the government of India to set up the Institute. The Industrials from Ahmedabad pledged their support and IIMA was registered a under the 1860 Societies act in Ahmedabad. Government of Gujarat gave land and local Industrials financial support in whatever way they could. Today with the work done by the two Institutions IIMA and AMA and many other Institutions who joined the stream latter, Ahmedabad can be called as Management Capital of Gujarat. IIMA caters to National International groups and many sectors of development. AMA caters to the rest of the society. If IIMA takes management to large organizations, in Public sectors private sectors, government, World Bank, Commonwealth secretariat and to the shores of other countries, AMA has taken Management to each and every house hold in Ahmedabad, spreading management to families and all sections of the society.

Education and Management in Gujarat

My first visit to Gujarat was to M. S. University Baroda in 1970 about ten years after Gujarat was born. I was working as Assistant Professor of Education and Training with the National Institute of Health Administration and Education at New Delhi. The Centre for Advanced Studies in Education (CASE) of MSU was doing a lot of work in programmed Instruction and I was invited to participate in developing programmed instruction material for primary school children in 1970. Since that visit I kept coming to CASE. Subsequently had a director Dr. M. B. Buch who returned back from NSERT and initiated many experiments in education management. In fact most of the well know educationists today from NIEPA (now known as National University of Educational Planning and Administration) were products of CASE. Some of them worked with the Asian Development Bank. The currently Vice Chancellor of NUPA and the previous Director NIEPA were from CASE. CASE had students from all over the country and had made itself a know as a great institution Education Management in seventies.   It was Dr. Buch who introduced to NIHAE the Vice Chancellor of Sardar Patel University who readily granted to NIHAE, a status of Advanced Centre to   do research on Psychology and that is how I was registered as a Ph. D. Student of SPU. My thesis was on Medical Education and how exposure to medical colleges socialise students in some right and other not so right ways. This was a topic on education management. Vice Chancellors like Ishwarbhai Patel (who was also on the Board of IIMA for some time later and vice chancellor of Gujarat University and Gujarat Agricultural University) were very inclusive and always strived to get scholars from the rest of the country to work with them.  In fact while on the faculty of IIMA I have guided over a dozen students for their Ph. D. Including one candidate from Thailand.

Physical Research Laboratory:

My next exposure to Gujarat was when I was analysing my data for completing my thesis work. Data of several hundreds of students on a medical college environment questionnaire had to be handled. I was told that the only computer in the country that can handle the data was in PRL Ahmedabad. PRLs and its IBM 360 were famous for researchers all over the country and research scholars used to come here to get their data analysed.  That is how I landed up in Ahmedabad.

Gujarat: A Center for Entrepreneurship – Action and Research:

I was subsequently invited by three  professors from IIMA (Professors Udai Pareek, B. G. Shah, Vijay Gaikwad) to help them evaluate the Entrepreneurship Development program being undertaken by the four corporations in Gujarat (GIDC, GIIC, GDFC and GSIC) through their entrepreneurship centre called “Parishram”. Dr. V. G. Patel was the Chief Economic Advisor and the guiding force behind this experiment to develop unemployed graduates, technicians, and educated employed etc. to become entrepreneurs. They had a few batches that were trained in project planning, marketing and financial aspects of setting up business but without any exposures to understand their own motivations. A few other batches were given behavioural Sciences training  (Achievement Motivation Training or AMT) along with the above inputs.  They wanted to know the extent to which the Behavioural Training enhanced entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial development.

My first visit to observe the Motivation training in action was to Kappadvanj where I saw one Anil Trivedi in action doing the AMT exactly the way we have learnt in text books. We invented a new way of measuring the impact of training by conceptualising what we called as “Entrepreneurial Movements”.  The study resulted in a report from IIMA that favoured Behavioural training and then Parishram and its activities started expanding on the basis of our report. It is in this expansion spree that I had an opportunity to try out the first Assessment Centre methodology in recruiting project leaders.  What I leant from my involvement in this project was that in Gujarat government and its institutions mean business.

The EDP activities got expanded and started getting International attention. These activities subsequently lead to the setting up of the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI) which now internationally known for its work on entrepreneurship. It was known subsequently as Gujarat Model for Entrepreneurship Development. What David McClelland, the Harvard psychologist demonstrated successfully in Hyderabad at the SIET Institute in mid-sixties, Gujarat picked up with the help of some of the close associates of McClelland like Manohar Nadkarni, Prayag Mehta and Udai Pareek and made it a success.  On the basis of this experience we even introduced a course called Laboratory in Entrepreneurial Motivation (LEM) at IIMA. McClelland himself visited IIMA and addressed one of the batches in 1974. In fact it was after this visit he invited me to work on a project with him at Harvard. We did a joint project with McClelland studying the thought processes of Gujarati students and Andhra students. This work was done by Mallika Sarabhai for her Ph. D. thesis which was also supported by David McClelland.   Mallika found that the Guajarati children think substantially differently than the school children from comparable classes of Andhra Pradesh.

Inclusive Management IIMA and AMA:

Many of us think management is something that is meant for big industries and corporate sector. That used to be the impression in fact in seventies and eighties. Dr Vikram Sarabahi and those associated with IIMA should have changed the same.  The press reports of employment and salaries of IIMA graduates further reinforces this thinking that management is an elite concept and is meant for those who are big multinationals, and large private industry. Very few perhaps know the role played by people like Dr Sarabhai in ensuring that IIM is called as Management Institute rather than Business Management Institute. Their concept of management is getting things done, setting new goals and priorities and ensuring that the goals and priorities are set through mobilising, organising, optimising, putting to work various resources. Anything that can help you to do better than before is management.  By this definition management is required everywhere. It starts with yourself, then your family, your neighbourhood like the society in which you live (including the housing society to the larger community), the government, schools, colleges, hospitals, roads, transport, various public services, courts and the legal community, police stations and the police, government, various ministries, political parties, food generated and consumed in a state, region or country etc. etc. Realising this Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and others who were associated with both the Ahmedabad Management Association and the IIMA visualised the mission of IIMA as professionalising Management in every sector of the Society. That is how IIMA focussed in the initial years on managing the corporate sector and in early years of its existence started a Centre for Management of Agriculture which is a crucial sector of our economy (food). Latter set up group to work on cooperatives and banking studies which lead to IIMA helping in the setting up of the National Institute of bank management. After that IIMA went on to establish a Computer and Information group (to work on IT) and this group has done a lot of work on e-governance and helped various states in e-governance. The IIMA also had various other groups and centres to work on Health and Population management, Education management, Infrastructure Management, Public Systems Management,  Urban Management, Rural Development, etc. besides International Management  and such other areas.

The Ahmedabad Management Association again started by visionary Dr Sarabhai and other Industrials has made a remarkable progress in the last two decades. Starting from one room operations in seventies from the Lal Darwaza it has now its own buildings, auditoria. Its campus at ATIRA on the Vikram Sarabhai road is an inspiring facility and filled with life on all days of the year. Evening times you see life coming through various classrooms it ahs where a large number of classes go on catering to various sections of the Ahmedabad society. Remarkable amongst its program are its summer campus for school children and college youth covering various sections of the society. During the year round a large number of programs go on.

The Ahmedabad Management Association currently caters to develop the managerial skills and talent of various groups of people ranging from children and youth to management themselves t their mothers and fathers to manage themselves and their families, to the teachers and principals on managing their roles and their institutions better, to entrepreneurs, aspiring students in various fields of management, local government officers and various other service providers in health, education and other public services and managers, supervisors and all other categories of employees and upcoming employees.  The AMA caters annually to over 20,000 persons through various programs. It conducts about eight Post Graduate diploma programs in various fields like Health care, Marketing, Finance, HR, International Business, Project management, Corporate Communications and Tourism and Hospitality in the evening so that a  large number of employed candidates can upgrade their professional management competencies and a regular full time program in International Business. It also conducts a number of certificate programs in Sales, Financial Product marketing, Banking, Quality Management, Logistics Management etc. The AMA also ahs several other ways of promoting Management inv various sectors through its annual awards, a annual lectures, weekly lectures, celebration of various weeks like the week on Ancient Wisdom applied to modern management etc. It also facilitates international visits and other field learning experiences.  Management and the AMA has become a household name in Ahmedabad. There is no other local management Association in the country which has been doing such outstanding work as the AMA. It is recognising this the All India Management Association ahs warded the outstanding Management Association Award consecutively for the last 14 times.

While the AMA made great contributions to Gujarat and focussed largely Ahmedabad and its neighbourhood, the IIMA has made an International Impact.  Dr. C. K. Prahalad worlds. Top Management guru is a product of the IIMA.  IIMA has produced a large number of change agents in various sections of the society. Many of its alumni are renowned management professors, deans and Directors in management schools. At one time more than a dozen Doctoral candidates were heading other management schools across the country.  Directors and Deans of most of the other IIMS and management schools like    the ISB at some time or the other were alumni from IIMA.  Almost a dozen of those receiving National hour as  Pdmashri and Padmabhushan are associated with IIMA as students or faculty (Example Dr. C Rangarajan, Dr V S Vyas, Dr. Samuel Paul, Dr. I G Patel, Dr. Bakul Dholakia, Dr Anil Gupta, Dr. Mallika Sarabhai, Dr C K Prahalad, Vindi Bhanga, etc. ). IIMA has through its Doctoral program produced over 250  fellows who are disseminating Management thought and practice in various from through various forums.  Today IIMA ahs distinguished itself as a world renowned management school that leads in management education, and training through its various two year, one year and short term programs. It is estimated that  IIMA has over 40,000 alumni.  IIMA also has about 18 chapters across the world including the USA, UK, UAE, Singapore, etc. IIMA has led to some part breaking research in various sectors.

Gujarat and the HRD Movement:

IIMA’s contributions have been many. The most significant contribution of IIMA is through its faculty and Alumni. I would like to take a couple of illustrations and point out here the significant work that has been done through IIMA on the soil of Gujarat. The two of us from IMA  (Udai  Pareek  and T V Rao) were invited by L&T to do a consultancy on reviewing the Personnel departments work especially in relation to performance appraisals. It was in this consultancy we recommended the need for setting up a new department to create a learning culture in the company and called it the HRD Department. In 1974 nowhere in the other parts of the world there was a department called HRD department with the kind of structure, and objectives and framework we provided. We did not realise it then and we never took credit for formulating the term called HRD as those were not the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) days. We were proud. L&T took our report very seriously and implemented the same. We continued to be associated with it and the person who implemented it Dr D. F. Pereira latter even registered himself as a Ph. D. Student of Gujarat University and got his Ph. D.  Serious work with this department lea d to our promoting from IIMA the HRD concepts. It was here that State bank of India decided to start also the HRD department and Bharat Earth Movers recruited me for an year as general Manger with highest salary on the GM scale to help them implement the HRD. These series of events lead to L&T giving a HRD Chair at XLRI and then based the work we did their starting of the National HRD Network using IIMA platform. The academy of HRD is another offshoot of this work. While IIMA provided the platform in the initial years it was AMA who supported the registration of the two bodies under the 1860 Societies Registration Act and Bombay trust Act. Both these national Bodes were born here and the National HRD Network is an international recognised body and was even instruments in supporting the research carried out by the Wharton School (see the recent book “The India Way” published by Harvard Business School, 2010). THE NHRDN and AHRD are just two examples to illustrate. IIMA and the AMA were instrumental is setting up of many such institutions.

Contributions various Institutions and Bodies to management Thought and Practice:

The following can be considered  as a quick list of contributions made  by Gujarat to management filed through various institutions and bodies:

  1. Ahmedabad Management Association started in 1956 made a case for the Government of India to start IIM in Ahmedabad rather than in Bombay. The AMA mainly took management to every household. Its programs covered various fields and the various centres it ahs is an indication of its accomplishments. It was the first to start even before the formation of the State of Gujarat.
  2. IIMA started fifty years ago along with the formation of the state. Harvard collaboration and IIMAs accomplishments include among the other things its faculty development program through which it has trained over a thousand faculty of other management schools in the country and supplied management faculty to over a twenty to thirty National Institutions of eminence. In addition IIMA encouraged its faculty to be social entrepreneurs and consequently some of them have set up other institutions that are serving a large section of the society. The Srishti and Honey Bee network promoted by Prof. Anil Gupta  has been supported by IIMA. The National HRD Network and it s Academy of HRD were born in the premises of IIMA with support from AMA in their initial stages of registration s Trusts and Registered societies on the pattern of AMA . IIMA also promoted directly various other institutions like the IIFM, NIBM etc.
  3. Ahmedabad Education Society and its foundations in management. The Ahmedabad education Society has done a lot to promote Management in the State. Its contributions were from early years in the field of education through Undergraduate colleges in commerce and allied disciplines. It has also started in recent times Post Graduate Degree in management and has now become a University. It is planning a big way to promote and train people who manage family business and other aspects. The AEC’s contributions to Management are noteworthy.
  4. BK School of management started in early eighties to cater to large part of Gujarat graduates to do their management education has become well established institutional s a part of Gujarat university.
  5. NIRMA Institute of Management in a short time established tradition fog getting International Scholars to Ahmedabad through its Annual Conferences besides turning our Post Graduates in managed that are drawn from all over the country and go to all over the country.
  6. There are several other Management Institutions started in the recent past that have also served the employment and education needs of local candidates. Other management schools in the city include:…
  7. Women Entrepreneurship was promoted in big way by the  ICICED stated by Dr. Hina Shah and team
  8. Deenadayal Institute of Petroleum Management started recently to cater to the oil and energy sector management is the first of its kind in India for Petroleum Management.
  9. SEWA’s contributions to Management are noteworthy. Like the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh that has provided a great model for micro financing SEWA has provided models for women’s cooperatives and self financing and economic up-liftment of women through cooperatives and other forms.
  10. EDI has made great contributions to entrepreneurship development in g Gujarat, all India and other countries through their programs and research work. David Mc Cleland chose EDI as the institute to promote  anew technique he invented called Behavioural Even Interviewing.
  11. The Consumer Education Research Centre (CERC) became another great institution that worked on promoting consumer movement in the country and put many organizations on alert. This is in my view another great contribution of Gujarat.
  12. National Institute of Design Worked very closely with the IIMA in linking education with rural development which subsequently came to be known as Jawaja Project. In this project n attempt was made to develop people from one of the Blocks in Ajmer District called as jawaja to organise themselves into groups and acquire new skills and upgrade their skills to enhance their economic status. This role was to be ultimately passed on to the education department which never happened . To that extent though the experiment was not complete the project offered a lot of learning for large number of people some whom even became world Bank consultants. NID ahs made many other forms of contributions to management thought and Institution Building.
  13. The setting up of Mudra Institute of Communications and Advertising by A G Krishnamurthy and team is another milestone in the development of management education, research and thought in Gujarat. MICA has made many contributions and came to be known s and premier Institute in Advertisement and Communications.
  14. The Shristhi Foundation, Honey Bee Network and others promoted by Anil Gupta at IIMA is another path breaking Institution. This has resulted in promoting innovations inv arioso fields and particularly at grassroots levels and brining them to prominence.
  15. Amul’s success has given rise to influencing the management thought and NDDB promoted Cooperative Movement and Amul Model across the country. The white revolution that came from Gujarat through the work of Dr Kurien has become another subject of study for management. This again influenced world over International bodies like the FAO, World Bank, UNDP etc.  The Institute of Rural management set up with support from NDDB can be considered as another contributions of Gujarat soil.
  16. Deenadayal Petroleum University in the recent past  is another great contribution. There is no other Petroleum University of comparable nature to promote technical and managerial envelopment in petroleum industry.
  17. Gujarat based industries like the pharmaceutical organizations in Ahmedabad, Baroda, the Public Enterprises in Gujarat like the GSFC, GIIC, GIDC, GNFC, GEB, AEC  have set and offered themselves as models for studies by various management institutions and also provided employment opportunities for various professionally trained managers.

In my view Gujarat is the Management, Entrepreneurship and Institution Building capital of India. Here growth takes place silently. The contribution of Gujarat extends  to other parts of the world in a silent way. The Gujarat people mean business. They talk little but they do more. The spend a lot of their time silently doing then talking and publicizing.

Prof. T. V. Rao came to Ahmedabad in 1973 to join as Faculty at IIMA. Since then he stayed on in Ahmedabad. He left IIMA after completing twenty years on its rolls. Prof. Rao was instrumental in starting the  National HRD Network as professional body and it’s Academy of HRD as an Education and Research centre. Subsequently he set up TVRLS a research based consulting from. Dr Rao ahs authored  over fifty books on various areas of management.

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