3. Human values in business management
Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 23 (1990)
Human values in business management
THERE are many ways in which the basic human values - Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-violence - can be practised in the day-to-day conduct of business. There are different aspects of management such as marketing, finance, industrial relations, etc., but the most important aspect is "man-management." Each country has its own historical and cultural background and Indian managers should not mechanically copy practices imported from abroad but should keep in mind the Indian milieu and our national ethos. There is specific need for MBA students of the Sathya Sai Institute to infuse management practices in India with the cardinal values of Sathya, Dharma, Santhi, Prema and Ahimsa. All the values are interrelated. For example, a burning electric lamp, can be compared to Prema. For the lamp of love to burn, there should be a bulb. That bulb is Santhi. The bulb had to be connected to an electric wire. That wire is Dharma. And then the current has to flow in the wire. The current is Sathya. With the current of Sathya (Truth) flowing in the wire of Dharma (Righteous conduct), connected to the bulb of Santhi (Peace), the lamp of Prema (love) burns and sheds its light. Sathya, Dharma, Santhi and Prema constitute a single whole and not separate values. All the four values have to be adhered to equally.
Honesty in business is a form of social service
With regards to Truth, it is often said that to be truthful in business will result in loss. This is not so. Though initially there may be some difficulty, in course of time integrity and honesty will bring their own reward. The MBA students must convince their chiefs in their respective firms how truth in accounts and audit helps to raise the image of the firm. They should be content with reasonable profit margins. Even if this policy does not pay in the beginning, in the long run it will be most rewarding. This is the way to inspire confidence. Running a business honestly must be regarded as a form of social service and spiritual sadhana. In the practice of Dharma, marketing practices should be fair to the consumers and there should be justice in the dealings with the workers. In the observance of peace, the MBA students should realise that they should not get ruffled by any kind of difficult situation. They have to maintain their calmness and try to pour oil on troubled waters. They should use the weapon of love in such situations.
Fraternal relations bring industrial harmony
Prema must express itself in the business world by the executives developing the feeling that all engaged in the business - managers, workers and others - are members of one family. They must develop fraternal feelings towards all. With mutual love and regard, industrial harmony can be achieved.
As regards Ahimsa, in the context of industrial management, it has a wider social meaning than merely avoiding causing harm to others. The avoidance of pollution of the atmosphere or of natural resources like rivers is one of the ways in which an enterprise practises Ahimsa. In these different ways, a great deal of good can be done to our people and nation by business managers who adhere to basic human values and who adopt a spiritual approach to the tasks of the business world.
MBA students should develop firm faith in God and carry out their duties in the businesses in which they may be employed with a sense of dedication to the business and a spirit of service to the community.
Discourse at a seminar in Madras for students of the Faculty of Business Management, Sri