Leaders at ‘IASCC-XLRI Leadership Conclave’ see the need for research-led, higher education in Social Sciences

Mumbai: The first edition of ‘Leadership Conclave’ hosted by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Complex Choices in collaboration with XLRI- Xavier School of Management was held in Mumbai on August 10-11, 2018.

The two-day Conclave brought together industry leaders, economists, academicians and technologists to discuss the impact of continuously evolving environment on organisational, personal and public policy chocies. While recognizing that there are significant changes in technology and we are in slow-growth environment, there was a consensus that we must not see the changes in technology as a disruption.

Among the speakers at the conclave were – Mr. Bhavesh Shah (Senior Vice President of Finance at Johnson & Johnson), Mr. Yogi Sriram (Senior Vice President (Human Resources) & Member of the Executive Committee L&T), Dr. P Venugopal (Professor of Marketing and Chairperson, Center for Global Management and Responsible Leadership at XLRI- Xavier School of Management), Prof. Anil K Sood (Professor and Founder, IASCC) and other dignitaries.

In his address, Mr. Bhavesh Shah, Senior Vice President of Finance at Johnson & Johnson and IASCC Board Member, stressed the need to bridge the digital divide by leveraging technology in education and healthcare and, thereby, providing an equity of opportunity for rural as well as urban India.

A highlight of the discussion was that the present constraints on growth, globally as well as in India, are arising from lack of demand rather than the constraints on supply. Business leaders as well as economists agreed that there is a need to invest for creating demand and find ways to improve people’s earnings, as growth in the past has been inequitable. Growth that is not equitable and is without investment in building capability for future is not sustainable.

The changes in technology are an opportunity to renew product and services portfolios so that ‘consumer value’ becomes the focus of strategic choices, not just the gains in productivity.

While discussing the role of leadership in the present environment, the participants agreed that the traditional hierarchy based organisation structure may not be the most appropriate choice. They discussed the need to build a culture of continuous learning coupled with reflective practice – learning from one’s own experience.

Mr. Yogi Sriram, Senior Vice President (Human Resources) & Member of the Executive Committee L&T and IASCC Board Member said in his address, “A leader in the digital age must be an invisible leader, who is able to inspire a multi-generational workforce. We need to learn to work with a flattened command and control hierarchy, where culture plays a greater role than structure. Some of the most creative organizations such as W L Gore have an organization structure that looks like a lattice, quite the opposite of a command and control structure. Managing by financial numbers is not sufficient, we need to invest in building capability for the future.”

The industry leaders also discussed the need to integrate theory with practice and specifically highlighted the need for developing context specific frameworks that help make more effective economic, strategic and financial decisions.

Prof. P Venugopal, Professor of Marketing and Chairperson, Center for Global Management and Responsible Leadership at XLRI- Xavier School of Management commented, “The purpose of the Conclave has been to build a shared perspective on choice of strategy in a Growth-Constrained Information-Age Economy and outline the agenda for future research on choice of growth strategy.” He further added, “XLRI has always continued working on India specific research which will enable research-based teaching.” He also extended XLRI’s continued support to IASCC for its future conclave and research work.

Anil K Sood, Professor and Founder, IASCC said “We aim to build a strong social sciences’ research programme in collaboration with like-minded organizations and professionals”. He stressed the need to build a repository of personal experiences and learning so that the knowledge is not lost. He also mentioned that IASCC will help individual leaders and professionals document the evolution of their thinking in form of perspective papers and reflective practice case studies.