Of Ethics, Sustainability and Spirituality

Article excerpt

New Delhi, Oct. 22 -- Arjuna's arguments against a battle and Lord Krishna's response to him not just highlight the essence of the Bhagvad Gita but are now part of the curricula at some of the country's leading B-schools, which are introducing novel and innovative modules and courses to make management lessons more interesting.

Lessons in Spirituality

IIM Bangalore, for instance, has recently started a two-month elective course called 'management paradigms from the Bhagvad Gita' that aims at identifying some of the common problems that individuals and organisations face and illustrates the usefulness of the Gita in addressing some of these problems.

"It is a 30-hour course spread across ten weeks with a focus on the contemporary relevance of the Bhagvad Gita. It has modules such as meditation as a tool for self-management, role of yoga in addressing stress and burnout of managers and spirituality in business. Most MBA programmes are skewed towards organisational issues with little focus on the individual. We aim to change that through this programme," says B Mahadevan, professor of operations management, IIM-B. The notion of inspirational leadership as evident in the Gita will be introduced in the course.

Other B-schools like IIM Kozhikode and Mumbai-based SP Jain Institute of Management Research (SPJIMR) have new plans, too. IIM-K is starting a course called Self Incorporated, which has elements and insights from spiritual texts like the Bhagvad Gita and gives them a management context. It is being offered in a modular format to first-year MBA students and is spaced over six months. "It includes teaching through corporate theatre, outdoor challenges, and autobiography and self-disclosure projects," says Debashis Chatterjee, director, IIMK.

SPJIIMR, on the other hand, has a compulsory credit course titled the Science of Spirituality as part of its e-MBA programme. It is likely to be made part of the PGDM programme too.

Karma Yoga to CSR

Another interesting one is the Karma Yoga Leadership Experiential Programme for the students of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai. The programme is designed for students to connect with ground realities and experientially learn transformational leadership, besides introducing them to social responsibility.

Karma Yoga acts as a real-life practical laboratory for the students to learn and experience the power of transformational leadership.

Going green

MBA institutes are also focusing on environmental issues. IIM Lucknow is offering a course on sustainability management which is designed to equip managers with skills to handle various sustainability challenges. It also helps them come up with policy-relevant results.

"After the launch of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 1999, which has been evaluating the sustainability performance of the largest 2,500 companies listed on the erstwhile Dow Jones Global Total Stock Market Index, there has been increasing awareness of environment issues in general. …