Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOUR – A South Asian Perspective, by Nelson, Quick and Khandelwal (2011) Cengage Learning, Delhi (p 392 + xii)

ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOUR – A South Asian Perspective, by Nelson, Quick and Khandelwal (2011) Cengage Learning, Delhi (p 392 + xii)

Management of people in organizations has always been a great challenge for management.  As the organizational structures are getting flatter, this challenge is becoming more acute.  The study of organizational behavior in this context has also become very common especially for the students of business and commerce.  Before twenty odd years, there was a lack of availability of good text on organizational behavior in India which focused on Indian conditions.  Last ten years have seen publication of good relevant literature in India in this area.  As business education has spread across length and breadth of the country, the emergence of good business books which include relevant literature developed in Indian settings has been witnessed.  In this backdrop I would like to introduce the readers to this recently published book authored by Debra L Nelson, James Campbell Quick and Preetam Khandelwal, and published by Cengage Learning, India.

The book is divided in four parts (Introduction, Individual Processes and Behaviour, Interpersonal Processes and Behaviour, and Organizational Processes and Structure) consisting of 17 chapters.  These chapters cover all the constituents of organizational behavior like individual behavior, group behavior and organizational structure.   Nelson and Quick’s OB book was there present in the Indian market even before but it lacked the content on Indian firms, individuals and conditions.  The present book has Khandelwal as one of the other author as well whose contribution looks quite visible in the book where lot of Indian snippets are placed at their respective places.  The earlier book was more exhaustive and had global appeal which did not just targeted the text students but even the researchers.  This present book is designed and published under 4LTR series which is a Cengage Learning product, and is a widely acclaimed concept of learning with a simple approach – creating an innovative teaching and learning solution build around today’s learners and teachers.  The idea behind brining out this series of books is to introduce students and teachers in South Asia to an innovative concept in management studies which is based on the inputs from discipline-specific focus groups, conversations, and surveys. 

Every chapter outlines the learning outcomes before one proceeds through the chapter and the contents of each chapter are explained through these learning outcomes, which is quite impressive, thoughtful and focused.  Small side boxes with important keywords used in the text and their brief description leaves the reader with clear understanding of the terms used.  The book is full of colorful pictures, relevant figures, tables, statements, did you know?, hot trends, and to the point notes.  The fast facts and by the numbers boxes engages the reader and provides appropriate defense for the text it supports. All chapters end with their respective In Review and What about You?, which very succinctly summarizes the whole chapter and helps the reader to practically evaluate oneself.  It is a good reminder of all that one reads in the chapter.  The pictures used in the chapter are put on one page at the end of the chapter which visually reminds, engages and involves the reader with all the contents that one has read.  This format of the book is excellent. 

The book is fully updated, sourced and referenced, (with web addresses) for the benefit of its readers. However it is felt that as the book has South-Asian Perspective, it should have included some cases or notes on other countries in the region apart from India.   The small stories on Indian firms like Bajaj Auto Limited, The Dabbawalas, Biocon, ICICI Bank, Wipro (for its values), NTPC (for its People before PLF – plant load factor), Indian Bank (for turnaround) etc are well placed.  In fact there are not many books which illustrate Indian cases in such a way and many a times while a teacher is teaching a course on OB, with a book having global perspective, the students find it difficult to correlate.  But this book through its Indian content makes it easier for the Indian students to relate the theory with the practices and tries bridging that gap quite convincingly.  The examples of individuals with Indian origin are very well put in the text wherever applicable.  On commitment it is Mahatma Gandhi, father of the nation, who has been put and captioned as a karma yogi par excellence, on communication, the contribution of one of the most popular presidents of India in the Indian history of independent India, APJ Abdul Kalam, who has been communicating with the children all across the country, is quoted.  We have witnessed a great transformation in the telecom sector in the last 20 years which was conceived and initially led by Sam Pitroda.  His example on the chapter on Leadership is very apt.  In the chapter on Personality, former Indian police officer, Kiran Bedi, who has been quite active in raising the issues of social concern, winner of many prizes for social service including Ramon Magsaysay Award, has been put.  These people have made a great impact on the lives of common people in India and their examples are well placed which helps indian readers to understand various concepts and models better.  Small stories related to the business leaders such as Indra Nooyi, captioned as Iron woman of PepsiCo, on motivation, Azim Premji, captioned as a strategic leader, on Leadership, Dr Vijay Mallaya, on Personality, and E Sreedharan, the managing director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on job satisfaction, commitment and Power and Political behaviour, make good sense. 

Conflict is one of the important parts of management and organizational behavior literature.  The chapter on conflict and negotiation (p 254-275) discusses different aspects of conflicts and explains the existing conflicts in Indian family businesses.  The conflict in Ambani family is explained through a box borrowed from the times of india news, which is quite relevant.  In my view there would not have been a better model to resolve conflict other than Gandhian approach which is very aptly put in the chapter. 

After going through all 17 chapters, I firmly appreciate and commend the work of the authors for 4 chapters (Motivation at work – p 94-110, Power and Political Behaviour – p 211 - 228, Leadership and Followership – p 229 – 252, and Conflict and Negotiation – p 253 – 274) and would like to specially recommend these chapters.  The models are explained nicely and briefly with excellent colorful graphical presentation.  The notes at the end of the book help the reader to dig out further on the sources and references if one wants to get to the original paper. 

Though the format of book is excellent but at times and places it become very loud in colors, pictures and different types of boxes.  The book could have been further better if the amount of text was put little more.  It is a concise book on OB. Having gone through the book and looking at all its aspects, I feel the presentation of book is very engrossing and whoever goes through it shall not regret having chosen it.  I strongly recommend it to the students and teachers involved in the teaching of text on OB.

[published in Invertis Journal of Management, Vol 3 No 2, 2011, Pp 99-101]

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