Norms and Stereotypes in Corporate India

India is fast emerging as an innovation base and presents a large market opportunity to companies that are creating economical products and solutions for the country. At the same time, India also has its share of challenges in terms of lack of adequate infrastructure, bureaucratic bottlenecks, complex labor and taxation regulations etc. But besides these major policy or investment constraints, there are these few other norms & stereotypes typical of the Indian corporate culture, which though are commonplace for most of us living in India, but if changed will work towards projecting a much better image of Indian businesses.

As Indians we are mostly casual about managing time and often tend to take others time for granted. It is not unusual to keep people waiting endlessly for hours together, after fixing up an appointment for a business meeting or for an interview. A person in the top rung of hierarchy will not feel the need to offer the hint of an apology for turning up late, while a person lower in the hierarchy will have a barrage of excuses for running late.

A common practice for businesses is to keep prolonging the payment to vendors, service providers, consultants & and finally not pay up, well knowing that people will refrain from going to courts due to the hassles and delays in the judicial process.

Lack of delegation of responsibilities or passing credit down to the team and lack of proper succession planning are handicaps in most Indian companies. Gender disparity does persist in our society and permeates the corporate sector as well. In spite of having some highly successful Indian women CEOs, India Inc has had an abysmally low representation of women in senior management positions. Cases of sexual harassment go unreported or are mostly hushed up, particularly when the person in question holds a senior position. Recent sacking of iGate CEO has raised questions about the policies adopted by companies while hiring CEOs with a tarnished behavioral track record.

The need to be perceived as responsible companies with high standards of ethics & corporate governance calls for a change in such practices and norms. Adopting policies and practices to induce a culture of professionalism is a must for Indian companies with aspirations of becoming truly global companies.

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